While semen is usually greyish-white, there are some cases where semen can be of a different color, usually yellow.
Sometimes the production of abnormally colored semen happens only once. Other times, a man may notice a more consistent change in the color of his semen.
While this appearance isn’t always a cause for concern, there are some cases where a change in semen color can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
1. Why is semen color different?
Semen is a combination of secretions from the male reproductive glands as well as sperm. Changes and disruptions to these areas are what cause the color change.
The following factors are responsible for the production of semen:
Epididymis and testicles: The testicles are the organs responsible for the production of sperm. The epididymis is the tube that transports sperm from the testicles to the vas deferens.
Seminal vesicles: These sacs make up a significant portion of the volume of semen. These glands secrete a lot of sugar called fructose, which provides nutrients to the sperm.
Semen is usually gray and white in color.
Meaning of different colors of semen:
– Diet: yellow, green
– Influence of heavy metals: brown, orange, black
– High blood pressure: pink, red
– Jaundice: yellow
– Increased white blood cells: green
– Normal: clear white, white or gray
Prostate biopsy or surgery: pink, red, brown, orange
Prostate, testicular or urethral cancer: pink, red, brown, orange
– Prostatitis: yellow, green, pink, brown, orange
– Sexually transmitted diseases: pink, red, brown, orange
– Spinal cord injury: brown, black
– Use of narcotics: gold
– Urine in semen: yellow
– Strong sex or masturbation: pink, red
2. What does the color of clear, white or gray semen mean?
Clear, white, or gray semen is considered “normal” or healthy.
Semen is made up of a variety of minerals, proteins, hormones, and enzymes, all of which contribute to the color and texture of semen. The substance mainly responsible for this color is produced by your prostate gland. This includes: citric acid, acid phosphatase, calcium, sodium, zinc, potassium, proteolytic enzymes, fibrinolysin.
Other components are derived from the seminal vesicles, fallopian tubes and urethra.
3. When semen is yellow or green
Yellow or green semen is often associated with:
3.1 Urine in semen
Semen passing through the urethra can be mixed with residual urine, causing the semen to appear yellow
Urine that can get stuck in the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder) after urinating is called urinary retention. Semen passing through the urethra can be mixed with residual urine, giving the semen a yellow color. This most commonly occurs if a man ejaculates shortly after urinating and it is usually not a cause for concern.
Some possible causes that need to be examined and treated include: urinary tract infection, benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), prostate infection (prostatitis) or an organ other reproduction.
Jaundice occurs when too much bilirubin builds up in the body. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment left over when your liver breaks down red blood cells.
The most common symptom is yellowing or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, but it can also make semen yellow.
Other symptoms of jaundice include: chills, fever, and abdominal pain.
Leukocytosis occurs when there are too many white blood cells in the semen. This can cause yellow semen, possibly due to sexually transmitted diseases, prostate infections, autoimmune disorders
If leukocytosis in the blood is suspected, the condition is thought to be caused by the fungus chlamydia and can lead to infertility if left untreated.
When men have prostatitis, semen has many levels from mild to severe with colors such as yellow, green, pink, brown, orange.
Sperm that is yellow or greenish in color can be caused by a prostate infection. This happens when bacteria from the urinary tract enter the prostate gland. Other symptoms may include: difficulty urinating, pain when urinating, feeling the need to urinate often, lower abdominal pain, pain near your rectum, pain during ejaculation, feeling exhausted, fever, chills. Men should seek medical attention if they suspect prostatitis.
3.5 Diet and stimulant use
Eating foods that contain yellow dye can make a man’s semen yellow. Foods high in sulfur, such as onions and garlic, can also have an effect. Drinking alcohol or using marijuana can also lead to yellowing.
4. Pink, red, brown, orange semen is dangerous?
A slight pink or red color is usually a sign of fresh blood. A brownish or orange color is usually a sign of old blood, which can turn this color after being exposed to oxygen.
Blood in semen is known as hemophilia, which is usually associated with:
4.1 Prostate biopsy or surgery
A biopsy is done when a doctor takes a tissue sample from a man’s prostate gland. This involves cutting tissue, which can introduce blood into the urinary tract or ejaculatory duct. Surgery can also cause blood to leak into the area.
Blood can also mix with substances in the prostate gland that are made when a man ejaculates. These substances can cause semen to turn a reddish, pinkish, or brownish color.
High blood pressure can cause blood to appear in semen, especially if left untreated. In some cases, men may not experience any other symptoms. If you have symptoms, you may also experience shortness of breath, nosebleeds, and headaches.
4.3 Sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can cause blood in semen. Other symptoms of these STIs may include: pain or burning when urinating, pain or swelling in the testicles yellow or unusually colored discharge from the penis, an itchy rash, discomfort or painful.
If left untreated, prostatitis can also cause bloody semen. Other symptoms may include difficulty urinating, pain when urinating, feeling the need to urinate often, lower abdominal pain, pain near your rectum, pain with ejaculation, feeling exhausted, fever, chills cold.
4.5 Vigorous sex or masturbation
In some cases, frequent ejaculation can cause blood in the semen. Not reaching orgasm for a long time, or stopping before ejaculation, can also cause blood in your semen. This is usually not a cause for concern and should resolve within a day or two.
4.6 Prostate, testicular or urethral cancer
In rare cases, bloody semen can be a sign of prostate, testicular, or urethral cancer. These cancers are often treated successfully, even at a late stage.
Other symptoms may include pain or discomfort in the testicles, scrotum, lower abdomen, or genital area.
5. What does black semen mean?
Black semen is usually due to hemophilia. Black blood is usually old blood that has been present in the body for a long time. Black semen can also be related to:
5.1 Spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injury can lead to dark brown or black semen. Although the exact reason is unknown, it may be related to seminal vesicle malfunction. These glands produce some of the substances that make up semen. It is advisable to see a doctor about the injury so that the doctor can assess whether it is causing certain symptoms or is the result of another underlying problem.
5.2 Heavy metals
High levels of heavy metals such as lead, manganese, and nickel in the blood can cause dark semen. This can be caused by exposure to contaminated food, water, or other environmental factors. See a doctor if you suspect exposure.
6. When to see a doctor?
Men who experience symptoms such as discomfort or fatigue along with a drastic change in the texture of their semen should see a specialist for examination and treatment.
Your semen can change color throughout your life, even if you’re in good health. Healthy semen is usually viscous or jelly-like. Slight texture differences may be experienced depending on: diet, alcohol intake, level of physical activity. Unless other unusual symptoms are being experienced, a temporary change in texture is usually not cause for concern.
See your doctor if you experience pain, discomfort or fatigue along with a drastic change in semen texture, difficulty or complete inability to urinate, swelling around the genital area, rash or irritation on the penis or scrotum, clear or cloudy discharge, cold or flu-like symptoms, fever.
These symptoms, along with thick semen, could be a sign of severe dehydration, a hormonal imbalance, or an infection.
Watery semen can be a sign of vitamin deficiency or infertility.
It’s not entirely unusual for men to produce semen that has color, texture, and even smell. Manifestations can vary depending on a man’s diet, lifestyle, and how long since a man’s last ejaculation.
Yellow semen doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a cause for concern. However, semen that is dark yellow, has a foul odor, or is accompanied by symptoms of infection or disease should not be ignored.
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