What is retrograde ejaculation?

If you ejaculate little or no semen when you orgasm, you might be experiencing retrograde ejaculation.

Retrograde ejaculation is when the muscle at the opening of the bladder, which usually stops semen from entering the bladder when you orgasm, doesn’t close properly. This causes semen to flow back into the bladder.

Male anatomy_Diagram
What are the symptoms of retrograde ejaculation?

  • Little to no semen released from the penis during ejaculation

  • Cloudy urine that looks mixed with semen when you first urinate after orgasm.

What causes retrograde ejaculation?

Retrograde ejaculation can have a number of causes.

It can happen after surgery on the prostate or the bladder. It can be caused by diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and some medications — in particular, medicines for treating high blood pressure or benign prostate enlargement. Depending on the cause, retrograde ejaculation can last just a little while, or it can be a lifelong problem.

What treatments are there?

If you’re experiencing retrograde ejaculation, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor about possible causes and treatments.

Retrograde ejaculation doesn’t cause serious problems, and most of the time it doesn’t need treatment. However, it can make it difficult to have a baby naturally.

If you want to have a family, you and your partner might need to consider using an assisted reproduction method such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Although you might find ejaculation problems difficult to talk about, it’s important to visit your doctor to make sure it’s not a symptom of something more serious.

Your doctor’s appointment

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Do I need to be treated for retrograde ejaculation?

  • How does this condition affect my fertility?

Things to think about before your appointment

  • During an orgasm, do you feel like you are ejaculating but no semen comes out? If so, when did this start?

  • Does your urine look cloudy when first urinating after sex?

  • Have you recently had any other health problems or started any new medication?

  • Have you ever had surgery in the pelvic area?

Email these questions to yourself to take into your doctor's appointment.

Resources

Ejaculation Problems Fact Sheet Image Tile

Fact sheet

Ejaculation problems fact sheet

Ejaculatory disorders_CSG_Tile image

Clinical summary guide

Ejaculatory disorders clinical summary guide (#8)