I am a married 54 year old man, 165 lbs, exercise regulary and have a healthy lifestyle. 2 months ago I had the symptoms of prostatitis (slow urine stream, discomfort, and about 10 days of a mild fever). I saw my doctor who confirmed prostatitis with a blood test that showed a sudden PSA elevation and diagnosed an antibiotic. Just before seeing the doctor I my semen suddenly became clear and watery. After the antibiotic treatment, all the symptoms of prostatitis disappeared except that the semen is still completely clear. The quantity is the same as before, it is oily with the viscosity of water, contains some geletanous parts, but there is absolutely no whitish color to it at all. Abstaining from sex does not change it whatsoever. I wonder if the vas deferens are blocked from scaring due to the infection. It is hard to find reliable information online about what component(s) of semen causes the whitish color. My doctor considers this change trival but I'm worried that there is damage somewhere from the infection and that the change is permanent. Thank you in advance for your advice.
Your doctor is correct, the matter is trivial. While you may not have experienced it before, the consistency, texture, color, odor, volume, etcetera of semen can vary from week to week to a dramatic degree. It's not an indication of anything sinister, and is considered very normal. There are over a dozen factors that contribute to the mix of fluids and constituents that make up semen, and there is no direct control over any factor. Texture and color have absolutely no bearing.
Over a thee month period following my post, the problem slowly clear up and my semen is back to normal. While counterso and my doctor both considered the condition to be normal, it clearly was not. In 40 years, I have never experienced anything like this. For it suddenly to appear after prostatitis and to go away months after the prostatitis was treated indicates a connection.
Since it took three months to gradually clear up, it seems highly likely to me that my sperm production was compromised since it takes about that long for sperm to be produced so as it recovered, the constistancy changed.
Doctors will often give text book answers because in most cases that is correct. But cause and effect were pretty obvious in this case - after 40 years the semen becomes watery after an acute case of prostatitis. Anyway, I'm always grateful for medical professionals who do so much for us and mean no disrespect, but for those of you out there who experience this, yes, prostatitis can cause this and it can clear up after the prostatitis is treated. Don't treat it, or don't use the strong antibiotics required to kill the bacteria, and the problem will not go away.
By the way, the antiobiotic I was given was very strong and I'm sorry but I don' t remember which one it was. However, I want to warn you - I got gout for the first and last time in my life after that antibiotic and when I googled it I found that I wasn't the only one. Better drink tons of water whenever you get an antibiotic, expecially a strong one, and stay away from foods that trigger high uric acid (red wines, red meat, etc.). That gout is gone now but the deposits are still there and it still hurts!
You are still wrong. Sperm has NO COLOR. What makes your semen white has nothing to do with the presence or absence of sperm. You may have no previous experience with the changes of color, texture, odor, and other characteristics of semen, but be assured that your urologist most certainly does.
While the antibiotic treatment may have affected MANY body fluids (not just semen), the most likely effect on your semen is that the sperm were dead. They are after all germ cells. That would however not change the color.
Just because your experience is easy to observe does not mean the explanation is also obvious. And it is no indication of what other individuals will experience.
Antibiotics are useful, but horrible things to put in the human body. It's expected that there will be changes to your biochemical systems when you introduce such a strong toxin that it affects both beneficial and harmful organisms.
And you're still not right either, since you offer zero technical explanation as to why ejaculate should suddenly turn from to oily water. Sorry, but while changes in semen are normal, the degree and suddeness of this change is not normal. Forty years is a very long time and the statisical chances of the prostatitis and this change starting AND ending together like that by coincidence is, well lets see, 40 years x 12 months = 480 to 1.
In other words, the prostatitis is clearly connected to this dramatic change and the question remains, exactly what happened and was it permanent.
My physician can't answer what happened either, but I can offer to those out there who experience this problem that in my case:
1. It was triggered by the prostatitis 2. It took 3 month to clear up.
I checked back to this thread to give an update that all remains normal - no prostatitis, no watery semen.
Again, thanks Counterso for taking the time for this discussion. I mean no disrespect when I say I don't agree.
I didn't say that the your experience was invalid, only that sperm has no color, and that radical changes in semen color and texture can happen for a wide variety of reasons, many of which are completely unrelated to illness or medication. That doesn't mean you shouldn't feel alerted to a change, but nothing about the change was threatening to your health.
Jokingly, it was the opposite of clearing up, you mean cloud up, right?
Anytime your body is ill or under stress, it may perceive your health state as a threat and unsafe for offspring. Your body will divert resources from the everyday production of reproductive components to self-protection, and this may change to some degree (minimal or dramatic) what you see in semen output.
It's an indirect relationship either way. And this is more of an explanation... So, the infection may have been a trigger for your body to say it felt threatened and to change its behavior related to reproductive functions. The infection itself did not alter your semen components. When your body felt it was no longer threatened, it was willing to restart normal reproductive functions.
You are lucky that the prostatitis was treated effectively the first time. Such infections can be persistent and difficult to treat.
Even heavy exercise can noticeably affect your semen characteristics for as long as your body feels "under threat" since heavy exercise is interpreted without your brain, and is considered something you would only do to avoid danger (fight/flight from danger). It's not unlike female runners (and other athletes) who stop having their menstrual cycle when they are training. The body considers the stress of heavy exercise (or in your case illness) to be a threat, and it shuts down the system that would enable an infant to be produced in an unsafe environment. Since these systems are not influenced by conscious thought, you can't rationalize with your reproductive system that you just have an infection and there's no need to stop producing the reproductive fluids normally.
I'm fine with agreeing to disagree about "normal." Hopefully this additional information may explain a bit more about how the reproductive system responds to your overall health.
I had similar situation. At 41 years old, I had never had an issue with volume or consistency of semen (unless too much sex - LOL). However, I had a one-time episode of prostititis that was ironically contracted after I visited the urologist for a routine checkup (vas reversal consult). When he did the digital rectal exam (DRE), it was painful - much more so than any I had ever had in the past. He had large hands too. (Should've checked him out first. He was not gentle in the probing at all.
Within 3 days, I was in the med clinic office from uncontrollable shaking/chills, fever, and after day two of this, I had great difficulty urinating- that is when I went in to doctor. They confirmed it via urine test, and gave me CiPro (strong antibiotic). My symptoms almost disappeared completely within 3 -4 hours. However, I took full course of antibiotics as instructed by the doctor despite the quick improvement. All symptoms went away, however my semen volume and consistency never really returned. Within a couple of weeks BEFORE showing the prostititis symptoms, I noticed a change in volume a little and a good bit in the consistency (watery with a little gel-like clumps, not consistent white thickness I usually had. Anyway, after the prostititis, it was very watery and not gel or thick consistency at all and volume was down dramatically.
I ended up having the vas reversal (only about 2 months ago). I consulted with a different urologist and had this new guy perform the vas reversal since all he did was specialize on male reproductive issues. He said he removed the area where there was a little scaring (probably from the prostititis) and that semen was free flowing when he connected me back. He said he also verified whole, motile sperm before re-connecting the vas deferens. I do get a high volume of pre-cum (like I was a teenager) but at ejaculation, it is very watery. It appears to be an acceptable amount of fluid (if I allow 3-5 days between ejaculation), but I am still worried about the consistency - for the same reason commented earlier in this thread.
Basic logic says, I did not have this issue before prostititis, and it was like the watery semen issue happened over night. It has been 2 years since I had the prostititis and it still has not gone back to normal. I have had two TRUS procedures performed to verify no blockage of the seminal vesicles.
I will be going back to my urologist who performed the vas reversal. Still worried about this.
I appreciate all the stories and thoughts folks with experience in this situation can offer.
The color, volume, texture, smell, taste, and other characteristics of semen have no bearing on whether you are fertile or not. They also don't matter in terms of sexual satisfaction. With any infection, you can expect changes in body fluids. With a super-strong antibiotic, you can also expect a dramatic change in your "germ" cells found in semen. Keep in mind that sperm are invisible and have nothing to do with making the fluid color white. There are three components that compose semen, and the balance of these fluids depends on more than a dozen physiological factors, none of which you have much control over.
When you have gel globules in your semen, this is an indication that your body is dehydrated, perhaps even chronically. So long as these don't increase in size large enough to become painful, they're not considered problematic.
Yes, more frequent ejaculation, combined with the fact you're much older than you were at 20, will certainly change the appearance of your semen. It's also very normal over time that your semen will change in color, consistency, volume, as will the force of your ejaculations. There's nothing strange about it, even if you weren't anticipating any changes.
Add to all of this that you have had multiple surgeries in the area, and it's really no surprise at all that your ejaculate has changed significantly. In fact, it's quite expected that it will never be the same as before both of your surgeries. Again, the visual appearance of your semen has nothing to do with fertility.
I can concur with your experience. I've had two bouts of acute prostatitis and a more copious watery ejaculate appeared shortly after the onset of the condition. It took over 2 months for my ejaculate to return to normal last time after the prostatitis resolved.
I'm still recovering from the recent bout of prostatitis and my ejaculate has not returned to normal. None of this is a coincidence. I'm also still searching for a local specialist who really knows the condition.
My background is in surgery and I can tell you from the inside of health care that unless a particular urologist is more diagnostically oriented your complaints will most likely be brushed off simply because you are not a good revenue source when you go into the office.
It also probably means you may have to go to several specialists until you find someone who is REALLY a specialist at the full gamut of prostatitis issues.
Sadly the payment system is very much geared towards surgery which means THAT (surgery) is what most of this guys focus on in a typical urology practice versus taking good histories, listening, and even looking in a journal or two if a patient has a complaint that one hasn't personally seen or heard before.
FYI: Recently Esquire magazine did a write up on urology in general, PSA tests, etc. which every guy with any prostate issues should read.
Prostatitis is not a candidate for surgery, so that argument is bogus. Almost all specialists consider themselves surgeons and not physicians. There are no urologists specializing in prostatitis, although some may see different percentages of their patient population with this condition.
The reason you get the brush-off is that semen texture, color, volume, etc. are NOT A MEDICAL PROBLEM, unless you're trying to conceive and have been having difficulty (meaning six months without success). Just because you want it to be different doesn't mean that it should be or that it's a medical problem. Infections like prostatitis are a problem, and in fact that one can be quite difficult to treat effectively.
Since there are a collection of about a dozen factors that contribute to the characteristics, it's nearly impossible to change the fluid in a specific way intentionally, nor is it important. Since you should not be trying to conceive if you have any infection (and generally cannot if you're taking an antibiotic), the concern would only be in treating the infection, not in the semen consistency. I know that you didn't ask about conception, but that's the only factor the urologist is going to use when considering whether your semen characteristics are appropriate. Otherwise the issue is moot, non-medical.
It is always the patient's responsibility to get the answers they want from their doctor. The doctor is only responsible for health issues, not cosmetic issues or bedside manner.
Some of us should take note that not all medical cases, particularly that of prostatitis, are clear cut, direct & to the point... 62 yr old, healthy male; no heart disease, no diabetes, normal weight, exercise regularly, active sex life...diagnosed with prostatitis after experiencing painful abdomen, frequent urination and bouts of ED coupled with change in smell, consistency & volume of semen during normal erectile function. Treatment with antibiotic afforded relief of all symptoms; however; smell, consistency & volume of semen did not resume normalcy for almost 4 months post treatment... While no textbook explanation may exist for the symptoms related to the difference in semen pre & post treatment; none of us should assume these symptoms are unrelated. Assumption leads to malpractice for many of us in the medical field.
I,am also a 60 year old man and have the same problems and a few more.Lets start with my PSA test, when up to 3.8 and recently came down to 2.8.. Sounds good I guess, but I also have watery sperm, odor changed and color was a pinkish color. After I pea at night and sometimes in the day I have pain above my hair line, I guess its my bladder...Also after sex or masturbation I have pain in my urethra. When I was younger the urologist would give me like they do today, a prostrate exam, and whatever liquid came out of my penis he would put it on a slide and look at it under microscope, and found infection. I ask him why no other Doctors found my infection, he said, because they don't do that test. Anyway, what do I have, and why can't urologist do the same test.. I have a young girlfriend, even my erections are not firm. By the way my testosterone was at 500 is that ood or low.. Thank you...
I'm sorry, only your urologist can answer these questions for you, as they are too individual and require examination.
There is no pain in your penis that is normal. If prostatitis is suspected, aside from a digital rectal exam, which is more likely administered because of your age, a urologist will more often prescribe an antibiotic, even without proof, because it's easy. I don't recommend this casual approach, and prostatitis can be very difficult to treat effectively. But I do agree it is essential to pursue care with your urologist until you are satisfied with the outcome.
Testosterone levels are only accurate when measured with a combination saliva and blood test. You need to be aware of all three factors, not just the one factor found in blood test alone. Erection firmness is not determined solely by hormone levels. The fact you have genital pain is more likely a contributor to weak erections, as your body considers pain in that area to be an inherent sign of unsafe conditions for reproduction, and it begins to shut down reproductive functions until your health improves.
You MUST see a urologist to address these pain issues, and do not allow them to be dismissive. Pursue with your urologist until fully resolved.
New news at the urologist , I went to see him, and he insisted again on a blood test etc. like some many other doctors did, and on the assumption that is was n infection without testing me, was going to give some anti bionics and he side it will go away... I insisted that he should do a prostrate massage exam , and whatever liquid came out of my penis, to look at it on glass under a microscope...After many years of having this, pain under my penis , the urethrae area , burning , and hurting after sex etc. I finally convinced him....He did the prostrate massage went out of the room and came back in about 10 minutes. And guess what, he said I have a infection, I was so happy that he finally listen to me, and I guess it was a big infection, because he gave me a prescription for a 30 day supply of Bactrim 1 tab twice a day for 1 month.. I never had in my life taken an anti biotic for a month...But I am so happy that they found the infection , where they never did before with just a blood and urine test....Now I hope my erections and my semen come back to normal.....Hey counterso, you are so rite, they procride without proof, I insisted and he found the infection... I am so happy that finally it will get cured and hopfully never come back... Thank you site & counterso......
Jerry, that's great news. Make sure you follow up and call your doctor if you have any side effects from taking the antibiotic such as uneasy stomach or cramping or constipation. Because antibiotics can be very hard on your body, you'll want to plan to take at least a month of probiotics once your antibiotic course is concluded. This will help restore the good things in your gut that manage 80% of your immune system.
With such a long course of antibiotics, your doctor is clearly concerned. You'll want to follow up after your course of antibiotics a week or two later to check for signs of continuing infection in case a second course is required to fully disperse the chronic infection. If it were a bacterial prostatitis infection, it may be difficult to clear, as there is limited blood flow to the prostate, and this makes it difficult for the antibiotic to fully clear infection in that area. It has been known to take 1-4 months to clear especially persistent infections.
I'm glad you're directiveness was useful. Keep it up and pursue attentive care.
If you have G-I issues while taking the antibiotic, don't stop, but you may be able to take a special probiotic called sacchromyces boullardi (sp?) at a specific interval after you take your antibiotic, and this can settle some of those G-I issues. It's one of the few probiotics you can take during the same period as an antibiotic, although the timing is important so you're not wasting the effort. A store that actually carries this will know how to guide you on the timing.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
The opinions expressed in WebMD Communities are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Communities are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.
Do not consider Communities as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.