Semen is the fluid released through the male urethra during ejaculation. It carries sperm and fluids from the prostate gland and other male reproductive organs. Normally, semen is a thick, whitish liquid. However, several conditions can change the color and consistency of semen.
Watery semen can be a sign of low sperm count, indicating possible fertility problems. Ejaculating thin, clear semen may also be a temporary condition with no serious health concerns.
Read on to learn more about watery semen.
There are several possible causes for watery semen. Most are treatable or preventable.
1. Low semen count
One of the most common causes of watery semen is low sperm count. This is also known as oligospermia. If you have low sperm count, it means your semen contains fewer sperm than normal. A sperm count of fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen is considered below normal.
Some causes of oligospermia include:
- Varicocele. A varicocele is a swelling of veins from the testicles in the scrotum. It’s a major, but treatable, cause of male infertility.
- Infection. Examples include a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea or another kind of infection that causes inflammation of a reproductive organ, such as epididymitis.
- Tumors. Malignant and benign tumors in the testicles may affect sperm production.
- Hormone imbalances. Hormones produced in the testicles, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus are all necessary to produce healthy sperm counts. Changes in any of these hormones could affect sperm production.
Other potential causes of a low sperm count include:
- ejaculation problems, such as retrograde ejaculation
- anti-sperm antibodies in your immune system
- injuries or other problems with the tubes that carry sperm
2. Frequent ejaculation
Frequent ejaculation may also lead to the production of watery semen. If you masturbate several times a day, the quality of semen after the first ejaculation is likely to become thin and watery. Your body may require at least a few hours to produce a normal, healthy amount of semen.
3. Zinc deficiency
Another possible cause of watery semen is a zinc deficiency. Research has shown that men who have adequate levels of zinc or men who are deficient in zinc and take zinc sulfate supplements can better fight off the effects of anti-sperm antibodies. These antibodies are produced by the immune system, which mistakenly responds to sperm as a foreign body.
If you have semen that appears watery, it’s important to note if some color is present or if it’s clear. Very clear semen may actually be pre-ejaculation fluid that’s released during foreplay. It typically contains few sperm.
If you notice that your semen is discolored, the color may indicate a health problem.
Pink or reddish brown could mean your prostate is inflamed or bleeding, or there could be bleeding or inflammation in the seminal vesicle(s). The seminal vesicles are a pair of glands that help produce a significant liquid part of semen. These are usually treatable conditions.
Yellow semen could indicate small amounts of urine or unusually high levels of white blood cells in your semen.
Yellowish-green semen could mean you have a prostate infection.