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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 urethra (urethritis)
  • Injury to urethra

Often, the cause of the problem cannot be found.

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

  • Blood in urine
  • Fever or chills
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain with bowel movement
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Pain with urination
  • Swelling in scrotum
  • Swelling or tenderness in 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 doctor if you notice any blood in your semen.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care 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

Barry MJ, Collins MM. Benign prostate disease and prostatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 131.

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: History, physical examination, and the urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 3.

Small EJ. Prostate cancer. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 207.

Update Date: 9/25/2013

Updated by: Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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