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Blood in the semen

Blood in the semen is called hematospermia. It may be in amounts too small to be seen except with a microscope, or it may be visible in the ejaculation fluid.

Causes

Most of the time, blood in the semen is caused by swelling or infection of the prostate or seminal vesicles. The problem may occur after a prostate biopsy.

Blood in the semen may also be caused by:

  • Blockage due to enlarged prostate (prostate problems)
  • Infection of the prostate
  • Irritation in the urethra (urethritis)
  • Injury to the urethra

Often, the cause of the problem cannot be found.

Sometimes, the visible blood will last several days to weeks, depending on the cause of the blood and if any clots formed in the seminal vesicles.

Depending on the cause, other symptoms that may occur include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever or chills
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain with bowel movement
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Pain with urination
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Swelling or tenderness in the groin area
  • Tenderness in the scrotum

Home Care

The following steps may help ease discomfort from a prostate infection or urinary infection:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat high-fiber foods to make bowel movements easier.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Always call your health care provider if you notice any blood in your semen.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The provider will perform a physical exam and look for signs of:

  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Enlarged or tender prostate
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swollen or tender scrotum

You may need the following tests:

Alternative Names

Semen - bloody; Blood in ejaculation

References

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: history, physical examination, and urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 3.

Kaplan SA. Benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 129.

Small EJ. Prostate cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 201.

Review Date 8/31/2015

Updated by: Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist at the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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