Should men worry about retrograde ejaculation?

This condition occurs when semen travels into the bladder instead of exiting out the penis

Retrograde ejaculation can lead to male infertility.
Retrograde ejaculation can lead to male infertility.GETTY

We all know what typically happens when a man ejaculates. But what if a man doesn’t have the expected explosion of semen? Often referred to as a “dry orgasm,” this condition has a name – retrograde ejaculation.

Men who have retrograde ejaculation do not have a problem reaching sexual climax but they ejaculate very little to no semen. It is not a harmful condition but it can result in male infertility.

What is retrograde ejaculation?

Retrograde ejaculation is when semen, which normally exits out of the penis, instead travels into the bladder. To understand what is going on, it is necessary to have a brief anatomy lesson.

Retrograde ejaculation is not a harmful condition but it can result in male infertility

When a man has an orgasm, a tube called the vas deferens transports sperm to the prostate, where it mixes with other fluids to produce liquid semen which is what is ejaculated during climax. The prostate sits between the bladder and the penis. When a man is ready to ejaculate, semen travels out of the seminal vesicle into the prostate. At this point, the semen can go either of two ways – into the bladder or out through the penis. In normal circumstances, the smooth muscle in the bladder tightens to prevent semen from entering the bladder as it passes from the prostate into the urethra inside the penis. This same smooth muscle is what holds in urine in the bladder until it is ready to be released.

In men with retrograde ejaculation, this smooth muscle does not contract and the semen that is ejaculated travels up into the bladder instead of out of the penis.

Symptoms of retrograde ejaculation

The good news for men with this condition is that retrograde ejaculation does not affect their ability to get an erection or to have an orgasm. What a man may notice though are the following symptoms:

Is retrograde ejaculation a cause for concern?

Usually retrograde ejaculation is not harmful or painful. A man’s body will simply flush out the semen the next time he urinates. This is why he may notice his urine is cloudy. However, any man who is experiencing dry orgasms should see a urologist to make sure the condition is not being caused by an underlying medical problem in need of attention. One possibility in an otherwise healthy man could be an obstruction or blockage in the urethra which would also cause a slow urine stream.

Any man who is experiencing dry orgasms should see a urologist

The main cause for concern is the difficulty in conceiving a baby. If a couple has had regular, unprotected sex for a year or longer without conceiving, they need to see their doctor. Both the man and woman should be evaluated as retrograde ejaculation might be the cause of the problem.

Causes or risk factors for retrograde ejaculation

There are several things that may cause or put a man at a greater risk of experiencing dry orgasms:

These include:

Risk factors that put a man at an increased risk of developing retrograde ejaculation include:

The important thing for any man who is experiencing a noticeable change in his ejaculate amount and suspects it might be retrograde ejaculation is to see a urologist who will ask questions about the symptoms, conduct a physical exam and assess urine for the presence of semen after an orgasm. If or any treatment is required will depend on what the cause is determined to be.

Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical contributor for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Pinterest, SamadiMD.com, davidsamadiwiki, davidsamadibio and Facebook.

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