Temporary changes in semen color may occur due to various factors, such as diet, hydration levels, and exercise.
Semen color

Did you know that the color of semen can indicate a man's health?

Semen in men is generated within the testicles and can be expelled from the body through the stimulating process known as ejaculation.

Depending on your diet, hydration levels, exercise and many other factors, you may notice temporary changes in semen color.

Before you panic, there are plenty of reasons why semen color can change, many of which don't require immediate medical attention!

Read on to find out what white, yellow, red, back, and other colors may mean and how to know when to see a doctor.

In this article:

Note: Read the whole article or scroll down to the KEY TAKEAWAYS section at the end of this article for a short summary.

What is Semen Made Of?

Sperm, produced in the testicles and mature in the epididymis, makes up roughly 2-5% of the total fluid volume. 

Semen is a viscous fluid that is expelled out of the penis during ejaculation. It consists of a mixture of sperm and seminal fluid.

The seminal vesicles, prostate gland, and other nearby organs produce the seminal fluid. This fluid contains sugars (fructose), proteins (amino acids), nutrients, and hormones to help nourish the sperm cells. Seminal fluid is typically an off-white color.

Sperm, produced in the testicles and mature in the epididymis, makes up roughly 2-5% of the total fluid volume. Sperm cells pass through the vas deferens and mix with the seminal fluid before ejaculation. This mixture is known as semen.

According to a 2016 study, healthy semen consists of water, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, sugars and mucus.

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What Color Should Semen Be?

Healthy semen is ordinarily white, cream, or light gray.

Sometimes, semen can take on a different hue. Generally speaking, slight changes in semen color can be temporary and harmless. However, on certain occasions, these changes may be a sign of underlying health conditions such as infections or tracings of blood in the semen.

Let's take a closer look at the different colors of semen and what they mean.

Why Is Semen White or Clear?

White semen is normal. The cause of white semen is secretions from the prostate glands that contain a mixture of lipids, enzymes, citric acid, and other compounds. It's usually thick and cloudy.

On the other hand, clear semen consists of pre-ejaculated fluid without seminal fluid. Clear semen can result from frequent ejaculation, making it slightly more watery. Clear semen may relate to having a low sperm count.

Why Is Semen Yellow or Green?

Yellow or green semen is an ordinary issue men experience.

Yellow semen is not particularly unhealthy and is rarely a cause for concern. Semen with a yellowish tint may be due to aging, abstinence, or the presence of urine in the semen (commonly experienced when you ejaculate shortly after you urinate).

However, suppose after a week of ejaculating regularly, the semen doesn't return to the healthy whitish-gray color. In that case, there may be a more significant underlying cause involved.

Other reasons why your semen may appear yellow or green:

  • Infections: bacteria build-up can lead to various infections, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Jaundice: caused by a build-up of bilirubin (natural yellowish pigment) in the body that's left behind when the liver breaks down red blood cells
  • Leukocytospermia: this occurs when too many white blood cells accumulate in the semen (commonly caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or viral infections)
  • Prostatitis (prostate infection): inflammation of the prostate gland, which is often accompanied by painful or frequent urination and pain in the penis, testicles, and groin area.

Why Is Semen Pink or Red?

Pink or red semen is often seen when fresh blood is trapped in the semen. Though unusual, finding blood in the semen when ejaculation may be temporary.

Doctors refer to this as hematospermia, which is relatively harmless. This condition is commonly seen in men after puberty, between the ages 30 and 40 years, and over 50 with an enlarged prostate gland.

Causes for hematospermia include:

  • Urogenital infections (i.e. urinary tract infection, Chlamydia, herpes, etc.)
  • Prostate biopsy or surgeries
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexual abstinence

Why Is Semen Brown or Black?

Brown or black semen can be very alarming.

This discoloration can sometimes be related to exposure to contaminated food, water, or other environmental factors.

A 2013 study found that males who had dark semen also had high heavy metal content in their blood, such as lead, nickel, and manganese, caused by industrial exposure, air or water pollution, improperly coated food containers, or ingestion of lead-based paints.

Another cause of brown or black semen is spinal cord injury. A 2015 study of male fertility found that men suffering from a spinal cord injury also had issues with their seminal vesicles. These glands are responsible for producing the whitish-gray fluid that makes up semen.

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When To See a Doctor

It's normal to experience slight changes in semen color throughout your lifetime – even for those in peak health. As mentioned earlier, age can cause the whitish-gray semen to change to a yellowish color. It often happens so gradually that most men don't necessarily notice it.

That being said, if you notice a noticeable change in the color of your semen, it's important to note when these symptoms first began.

In many cases, discoloration will resolve over the week as long as you maintain other healthy habits such as eating well, drinking plenty of water, and exercising daily.

However, suppose the changes in semen color are accompanied by other unusual symptoms such as painful urination, genital pain, or changes in semen texture.

In that case, you must visit your doctor or urologist to manage these symptoms.

ALSO READ: Home Remedies for Premature Ejaculation

FAQs

What color is healthy semen?

Normal and healthy semen is a whitish-gray color.

Why does semen color change?

Semen can change color for many reasons. Some of these may include inflammation of the prostate or other glands that support semen production, infections, dehydration, medications, and so on.

Should I be concerned if my semen color looks abnormal?

Changes in your semen color may be temporary and harmless or signs of underlying conditions requiring medical assistance. If your semen has been consistently discolored for over a week, it may be beneficial to check with your doctor.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Changes in your semen color may be either temporary and harmless or signs of underlying conditions that require medical assistance
  • From yellowish hues to bloody semen, these are all things that we need to take note of to ensure we are maintaining good health throughout the years
  • Have you looked at your semen lately? If not, we recommend regular ejaculation to stay on top of your health 
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Medical Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to give medical advice or substitute for the medical advice of a physician.

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