semen It is a cloudy white fluid released from the penis during ejaculation.It consists of sperm cells (called sperm) and a nutrient-rich fluid called semen. The purpose of semen is to transport sperm cells and keep them alive for up to five days, making fertilization possible.
This article answers some frequently asked questions about semen. It also explores how the volume, color and smell of semen can affect your health.
What is semen?
Semen consists of semen filled with sperm cells. Every time you ejaculate, the penis releases about 100 million sperm cells.
Sperm cells are produced in the testes.From there, the cell enters a epididymis They are stored and mature under the influence of testicular and pituitary hormones.
Thereafter, sperm cells migrate into a long muscular tube called vas deferens They combine with semen secreted by the two ejaculatory ducts. The final product is semen.
Semen itself consists of fluid from three organs:
- Cowper’s glands; pea-sized organs that secrete fluid that act as lubricants to help neutralize acids to keep sperm cells alive
- Prostate: A walnut-sized gland that secretes fluid that keeps semen in a liquefied state, while providing nutrients and enzymes to nourish and protect sperm cells
- Seminal vesicles: two tubular glands that secrete high levels of fructose (a sugar that helps power sperm cells) and prostaglandin (a fat that triggers vaginal muscle contractions to push sperm into the vaginal canal)
During ejaculation, a strong contraction of the muscle (called Bulbous body and pubic coccyx muscle) to drain semen from the penis through a long tube called the urethra.
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What does semen volume indicate?
The amount of semen released during ejaculation can vary. Posted in 2012 Andrology Magazine Indicates an average volume of approximately 3.4 mL. This is equivalent to about two-thirds of a teaspoon.
Semen volume may affect male fertility.On the one hand, a 2011 study Journal of Reproduction and Contraception showed that higher semen volume corresponds to lower sperm count due to dilution of sperm cells.
On the other hand, a semen volume of less than 1.5 milliliters (about one-third of a teaspoon) corresponds to a lower likelihood of fertility. Persistently low semen volume may be due to conditions such as retrograde ejaculation, where semen flows back into the bladder rather than out of the body.
Low semen volume can also be a sign of other medical conditions. A 2014 study Fertility and Infertility 9,387 men with a mean age of 38 were assessed. They found that people with abnormal semen (including low semen volume) were almost twice as likely to develop high blood pressure (high blood pressure) or heart disease as those with normal semen.
This should not indicate that low semen volume is a sign of infertility or disease. In some cases, the volume may decrease if you are dehydrated or have recently ejaculated.
If the semen volume has been abnormal and you are unable to conceive, you may need to consult a fertility specialist.
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What does the taste and smell of semen indicate?
Semen usually smells like chlorine or ammonia and tastes slightly sweet due to its high fructose content. That being said, the taste and smell of semen can vary from person to person.
Certain foods can change the taste and smell of semen, making it more bitter, pungent, or musky. These may include the following foods:
- dairy products
Other foods are said to make semen smell or taste milder or sweeter, including celery, parsley, and pineapple.
Smoking can also change the taste or smell of semen. Additionally, cigarettes can reduce sperm quality, quantity, and motility, making it harder for you to conceive.
Another factor that can affect the smell or taste of semen is infection. These include urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis.
If your semen has a foul or “rotten” smell, it may be the first sign of a genital or urinary tract infection. Talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
What does the color of semen represent?
Normal semen is generally grayish-white or slightly yellowish. The consistency should be similar to egg whites or slightly jelly-like. Jelly-like balls sometimes appear in semen, which is normal if you’re dehydrated or haven’t ejaculated for a long time.
Changes in semen color are usually of little concern, but certain colors can indicate a health problem.
red or brown semen
If your semen is red or brown, it could be a sign of blood.While this may seem worrying, this situation (called hemospermia) is usually not serious.
Causes of hemospermia include:
- ruptured blood vessel during ejaculation
- enlarged prostate
- Epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis, most commonly due to infection)
- Orchitis (inflammation of the testicles, most commonly due to infection)
- Testicular trauma
- kidney or bladder stones
- Recent prostate biopsy
- Recent Vasectomy
The good news is that most cases of hemospermia resolve on their own without incident. Blood in semen is rarely a sign of cancer.
yellow or green semen
Semen with a distinct yellow or green color may be a sign of infection. There are other possible reasons.
Some common and uncommon causes of yellow or green semen include:
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis
- Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland, usually due to infection)
- Jaundice (a buildup called yellow pigment Bilirubin due to diseases such as hepatitis and gallstones)
- Spermia (a condition associated with male infertility where high concentrations of white blood cells in semen damage and weaken sperm cells)
Contact your healthcare provider if the semen is unusual in color and is accompanied by signs of infection (including pain, swelling, or fever), or if symptoms persist, worsen, or recur.
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Semen is mainly composed of semen and sperm cells (sperm) and is usually grayish-white or slightly yellow in consistency similar to egg whites. It usually has a slight ammonia odor, and the flavor ranges from sweet to salty to bitter.
The quality of semen varies from person to person. That being said, certain abnormalities may indicate medical conditions such as infertility or infection. These include foul-smelling semen, abnormally colored semen, or high or low semen volume after ejaculation. Such abnormalities should be investigated, especially if symptoms persist or worsen.
Talking to your healthcare provider about semen can be uncomfortable, but don’t let discomfort get in the way of your health. If needed, refer to a urologist specializing in genital and urinary tract disorders.
A urologist can guide you through what is needed to investigate an abnormality. If fertility is a concern, this may involve a procedure called a semen analysis. Depending on your symptoms and suspected cause, additional laboratory or imaging tests may be ordered.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does food intake affect semen?
Diet can actually affect sperm quality and fertility. Studies have shown that diets high in processed meats, trans fats, soy, and high-fat dairy products can affect sperm shape, number, and motility. On the other hand, a diet rich in fish, fruits, vegetables, and walnuts has been shown to improve sperm quality.
How long does it take to produce sperm?
The average lifespan of sperm is 74 days. After the testes produce sperm, it takes a while for them to fully mature. This process takes about two and a half to three months. After ejaculation, sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to five days.