Sexual Health

What Your Semen Says About Your Health

February 8, 2018

Semen is the muddy white physiological fluid that is emitted in the urethra and from the penis during orgasm. It consists of cellular sperm cells (called spermatozoa) and a nutrient-rich fluid called seminal fluid. The objective of the seminal fluid is to both transport the sperm cells and enhance their fertilization skills.

What’s Semen Produced?

Sperm cells are made in the testes, stored in the epididymis, and comprise less than 10% of semen–a tidbit that may surprise you.

During ejaculation, a thick-walled duct called the vas deferens carries the sperm cells from the epididymis to the urethra and then out of the body or to the vagina by way of the manhood.

Since the sperm cells travel through the vas deferens, three different glands release mucous secretions (called the semen ) that combine with the sperm cells to create semen. These 3 glands, often referred to as accessory sex glands are the bulbourethral glands (also called Cowper’s glands), the prostate gland, along with the seminal vesicles.

Cowper’s Glands

The first portion of seminal fluid (about 5 per cent ) includes secretions from the Cowper’s glands. These pea-sized glands create what is called the pre-ejaculate fluid–the little amount of fluid that is released before ejaculation. This fluid lubricates the urethra and neutralizes any acidity, allowing the sperm to travel readily.

Prostate Gland

Approximately 15 percent to 30 percent of semen is created by the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland situated in the bottom of the bladder surrounding a person’s urethra.

The prostate gland is the principal source of acid phosphatase, uric acid, inositol, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Every one these special components play a role. By way of instance, zinc is thought to be an antibacterial factor. Interestingly, some experts think that this may add to the reason why urinary tract infections aren’t as prevalent in men compared to women.

The prostate gland also releases enzymes which function to liquefy semen about 15 to 30 minutes after ejaculation. This liquefying procedure enables the sperm to be slowly released. The sperm cells can then input the cervix and traveling upstream from the female reproductive system in an orderly fashion, with the ultimate objective of finding a egg to fertilize.

Seminal Vesicles (Seminal Glands)

Approximately 65 percent to 75 percent of semen is made by the seminal vesicles, which are located above the prostate gland at the base of the bladder. They contribute components like fructose (a sugar) and prostaglandins. Fructose nourishes the sperm cells, supplying them with energy. Prostaglandins help trigger contraction of vaginal muscles so as to propel the sperm up the vaginal tract and through the cervix.

Clotting factors are also present in the fluid secreted by the seminal vesicles. This produces the semen clump together, forming a jelly-like consistency right after ejaculation. The objective of the clotting process is to hold the sperm in place until they may be slowly released during the liquefying procedure (controlled by enzymes secreted by the prostate gland).

Below are some answers to frequent questions regarding semen.

What Does Semen Smell and Taste Like?

Semen frequently includes a chlorine-like odor and tastes slightly sweet due to the high quality content of fructose. That having been said, the flavor of semen will alter slightly from person to person and might be affected by diet.

What is the Normal Volume of Semen Released During Ejaculation?

The volume of semen that is released during ejaculation varies among research studies, although a review research in the Journal of Andrology suggests that the typical volume is around 3.4 ml.  Additionally, two variables that may influence semen volume during ejaculation comprise the last time you ejaculated and hydration status.

What May Red or Brown Semen Indicate?

If your semen has a red or brownish appearance, it can be a sign of blood. Though this might seem alarming to you, in most instances, blood in your semen (called hematospermia) is generally benign. The most common reason behind it is by a prostate biopsy, but it can also be due to a variety other ailments that influence the organs of the male reproductive system, like a disease. Paradoxically, blood in the semen is a sign of cancer.

The fantastic news is that hematospermia generally resolves on its own. However, it’s important to have it checked out by your doctor. He will probably ask you questions, perform an examination (particularly of the scrotum and prostate gland), also do a urine test to be certain an illness isn’t the cause.

What May Yellow or Green Semen Indicate?

Traditional semen might have an off-white or yellow tint. However, semen using a pronounced yellow or green colour may signal a disease such as the sexually transmitted infection (STI) gonorrhea. If a semen is stained because of a gonorrhea infection, treatment with antibiotics prescribed by a physician will be necessary. Likewise, if your semen is foul-smelling, go and visit your doctor as this is also often a sign of infection.

A Word From Verywell

Your semen isn’t as straightforward as you might have thought. It has lots of components for this, all which play a part in enhancing reproduction–your sperm reaching an egg. But it’s important to note that the fluid component is not absolutely necessary for fertilization, as evidenced by intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm is injected into an egg.

Of course, if you have any questions or worries about your semen, please contact your doctor — and do not be embarrassed, this is what they are trained to perform.