What is retrograde ejaculation?
In males, urine and ejaculate both pass through the urethra. There’s a muscle, or sphincter, near the neck of the bladder that helps to hold urine in until you’re ready to urinate.
During orgasm, that same muscle contracts to keep ejaculate from entering the bladder. That allows it to flow through the urethra and out the tip of your penis.
In retrograde ejaculation, this muscle fails to contract. Because it stays relaxed, the ejaculate ends up in your bladder. The result is what’s called a dry orgasm. Despite the lack of ejaculate, it feels like a normal orgasm and doesn’t usually affect sexual pleasure.
It’s not a disease or a serious threat to your health.
Continue reading to learn what causes it, when you should see a doctor, and why some men may want to seek retrograde ejaculation treatment.
The main symptom of retrograde ejaculation is that there’s very little or no semen when you have an orgasm. That’s because the semen found its way into your bladder instead of your urethra.
Because the semen becomes mixed with urine, you might also notice that your urine looks a little cloudy right after you’ve had sex.
Another sign of retrograde ejaculation is that you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child. This is known as male infertility.
How does it affect fertility?
Retrograde ejaculation impairs your fertility, but it’s not a common cause of infertility. It causes only about 0.3 to 2 percent of infertility problems.
Retrograde ejaculation doesn’t mean that your sperm aren’t viable. Instead, infertility occurs because your sperm isn’t making it to your partner.
While some other problems with ejaculation can have psychological causes, retrograde ejaculation is the result of a physical problem.
It can be caused by anything that affects the reflex of the muscle at the opening of the bladder.
It could also be due to nerve damage caused by certain conditions, such as:
Surgery for prostate cancer can damage nerves that affect the prostate, seminal vesicles, and bladder. A type of surgery called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) causes damage to the bladder valve.
The most common causes of retrograde ejaculation are prostate surgery and bladder surgery.HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERGet our weekly Men’s Health email
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