When you ejaculate, your semen color should be whitish-gray. If you notice any changes in the color of your semen, your body could be giving you a signal that something is wrong.
Changes in semen color do not happen often. But if you’re seeing the same color over a period of several days, you should think about getting a check-up. It’s even more urgent if you’re experiencing other symptoms like pain or fever.
Normal Semen Characteristics
When you ejaculate, your semen doesn’t just contain your sperm cells. It also contains seminal fluid coming from the secretions of your reproductive organs. The seminal vesicles, the prostate gland, and the urethral glands all contribute to the seminal fluid.
Your semen also contains various compounds that your sperm cells need. These include citric acid, fructose, zinc, prostaglandin, and potassium. The seminal fluid also contains free amino acids and various enzymes.
Normal semen looks grayish or creamy white and has an opalescent appearance. About 2 to 3 ml of semen comes out per ejaculate and only around 10% of this volume is composed of sperm. It’s normal for semen to smell like chlorine.
Pink Or Reddish-brown Semen
Pinkish semen could mean that there’s blood mixed in your seminal fluid. This condition is referred to as hematospermia. Several factors can cause hematospermia such as urethritis which means your urethra is inflamed. Inflammation of the epididymis, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens may also cause blood to get mixed with your seminal fluid.
For men over 40 years old, blood in the semen may be a cause for concern, especially if it is accompanied by urinary or ejaculatory problems, and if it happens frequently. If you’ve recently had a medical procedure such as a prostate biopsy, you may see small amounts of blood mixed with your semen. This is considered normal and shouldn’t be a cause for worries.
Other medical procedures that may cause your semen to turn pinkish or reddish include vasectomy and radiation therapy. Injuries to the reproductive organs caused by physical trauma, pelvic fracture, or injury to the testicles may also cause blood to get mixed with your semen. Excessive masturbation or excessively intense sexual activities may also have the same effects.
When there’s something wrong with your prostate, such as when it is enlarged or inflamed, it can also cause blood to get mixed with your semen. It could also be an early sign of prostate cancer or testicular cancer. In many cases, blood in the semen is a sign of a benign condition, but it’s still best to get yourself checked right away.
If your semen looks distinctly yellowish, it could mean you have an infection. Sexually transmitted infections usually cause the semen to appear yellowish. You may also notice a peculiar smell.
Chlamydia or gonorrhea infections can cause your semen to look yellowish. If you feel any itching, pain, or burning sensation when you ejaculate or if you need to urinate frequently, these are also signs of an STD infection.
Jaundice is another cause of yellowish semen. When you have jaundice, your eyes and skin usually appear yellowish and it can also cause your semen to appear yellowish. The yellow color is caused by bilirubin, a product of the breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin is supposed to be excreted along with your stool but if there’s something wrong with your liver, it can cause bilirubin to accumulate in the blood and even get mixed with your semen.
Since both sperm and urine use the urethra to exit your body, urine may get mixed with your seminal fluid, causing your semen to appear yellowish. This could happen to men who have not ejaculated for quite some time. Semen may have accumulated in your seminal vesicles so when you ejaculate, your discharge could be lumpy and have a thicker consistency than usual. It could also appear yellowish.
Prostate infections and enlargement of the prostate may also cause your semen to turn yellowish. If your urine appears cloudy and you feel pain when urinating or ejaculating, these could be symptoms of a prostate problem.
Green is definitely not a natural color for semen, so if you notice your ejaculate is looking greenish, you should be on the alert. Inflammation of the prostate and sexually transmitted infections often cause semen to appear greenish.
When bacteria from your urine sneaks into your prostate, it can cause an infection. This can cause the prostate to secrete a greenish fluid which gets mixed with your semen when you ejaculate. If you ever see your semen looking greenish, you should see a doctor right away as it is almost always a sign of an infection.
If you experience frequent and painful urination and painful ejaculation, these symptoms usually signal something unhealthy, either an STD or prostate infection. Moreover, if your groin area also gives you pain even when you’re not having sex, it’s another symptom of prostate infection.
Factors That Can Cause Semen To Change Colors
Not all causes of seminal color change are bad. The food you eat can also cause your semen to turn yellowish. For instance, garlic and onions can cause semen to appear yellow. The same goes for cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli. Sulfur-rich diets, in general, can cause semen to change color to yellow.
Certain medications also cause semen to appear yellowish. Some examples are vitamin B supplements, pyridium which is a pain reliever for infections of the urinary tract. Other factors that cause semen to change color are not as healthy. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use are all associated with color changes in the semen.
Consult Your Doctor
There are many instances when changes in the appearance of your semen do not really mean anything serious. However, when you are at risk of other medical conditions such as prostate or testicular cancer, it’s best to see your specialist right away.
In general, the color of your semen is a good indicator of internal health. Thus, if your semen changes color, consistency, smell, and volume, be on the alert for other symptoms. As soon as you feel pain, fever, or itching, see your healthcare provider immediately.