- Can Less Semen Mean Low Testosterone?
- Low T Linked to Low-Volume Male Ejaculate
- Other Factors That Affect Semen Volume
- Reduced Male Ejaculate and Sexual Satisfaction
- Low semen volume
- Is low semen volume definitely a problem?
- What causes low semen volume?
- What should you do if you think your semen volume has dropped?
- Treating the causes of low semen volume
- Faster than the Speed of Spooge
- Mystery of the missing semen
Can Less Semen Mean Low Testosterone?
Low T Linked to Low-Volume Male Ejaculate
Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone. It helps produce sperm cells, keeps muscles and bones strong, and helps men stay interested in sex.
“One of first markers of low T is loss of sexual desire,” said Dr. Farooq. “The body uses very little testosterone for libido, so it’s often the first sign.”
The normal range of testosterone for men is between 300 and 1100 nanograms (ng) per deciliter (dl) of blood. Along with loss of sex drive, if you have very low testosterone levels, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Irritability or symptoms of depression
- Decreased lean muscle mass
- Increased belly fat
- Smaller testicles
Low T can also result in the production of less seminal fluid. Because the seminal vesicles and the prostate need testosterone to do their job properly, low levels of this vital hormone can lead to decreased secretions from these organs. As a result, you may experience low-volume ejaculate.
Other Factors That Affect Semen Volume
Here are additional conditions that might lead to a decrease in semen volume:
Obstruction. “Some men may be born with an ejaculatory duct obstruction, but that would be found early on in life,” said Farooq. He added that scar tissue or surgery on the prostate, bladder, or urethra can also result in reduced volume of male ejaculate. If there is more than 2 cc of fluid, however, he says that low semen volume is probably not the result of an obstruction.
Retrograde ejaculation. This occurs when semen goes backwards into the bladder rather than forward out of the penis, resulting in less semen being released during ejaculation. Men who experience retrograde ejaculation are often taking medication, including alpha-blockers, to relax or shrink the prostate, noted Dr. Terlecki. He added that transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), a type of prostate surgery used to treat an enlarged prostate, can also lead to this condition.
Drugs. Certain antibiotics or antidepressants, such as lithium, can reduce semen volume. Farooq says that marijuana use has also been associated with a reduction in male ejaculate.
Age. As men get older, the amount of semen released during ejaculation often decreases. A study by researchers in Israel found an inverse relationship between semen volume, sperm quality, and men’s age. The research revealed that men older than 55 experienced the most significant reductions in both volume and quality.
Abstinence. Men who ejaculate often may release less semen. Conversely, semen volume can increase with abstinence. In fact, in the first four days after ejaculation, semen volume has been shown to increase by 11.9 percent daily.
Reduced Male Ejaculate and Sexual Satisfaction
Releasing less semen during ejaculation does not prevent an orgasm. “Men who have had their prostate removed due to prostate cancer do not produce any ejaculate, but they can still have the same sensations and satisfaction,” said Farooq.
However, having little or no ejaculate can affect some men’s overall experience. “The actual forward ejaculation is often times related to the enjoyment of the male orgasm,” said Terlecki. “So, men with dry ejaculate may notice a decrease in their level of enjoyment.”
Other Qs & As
Although I’ve been given the ‘all clear’, I am convinced I have contracted something from a prostitute
Can his vasectomy be reversed?
Coping with a termination
Could stress be causing my sexual problems?
During sexual intercourse, my right testicle moves up into my body
He is insecure about sex
I am a divorced man, and I’m angry at women
I am a guy who has a lot of pre-come
I am a totally straight guy, but feel good when I dress as a woman
I get really bad pains in my testicles and lower abdomen
I have a fetish for girls’ feet
I have blood in my sperm
I have lost all interest in women
I’m a gay male, and I had problems having anal sex
I’m a man who is feaful about becoming gay
I’m a man with sexuality problems
Is my addiction to fantasy about women a normal thing?
It’s impossible for me to form any kind of relationship with women
My boyfriend does not want to have sex anymore
My condom burst while I was having anal sex
My female partner has found out that I am carrying the hepatitis C virus
My husband’s prostate operation has complicated our sex life
My partner cannot come inside me
My pubic hair colour worries me
My wife has left me after more than 30 years
Sex is very difficult after my circumcision op
Sex problems – who can help us?
The glans of my penis is very sensitive
What do the Cowper’s glands do?
Why do I feel the need to pass water during sex?
Why do I feel the urge to urinate after sex?
Why do I have such watery semen?
Why is my semen lumpy?
Low semen volume
Low semen volume is a condition in which men ejaculate less than 1.5 ml of ejaculate during orgasm. Normal ejaculate (Pic. 1) when a man is not drained from prior sex and is suitably aroused, is around 1.5-6 ml, although this varies greatly with mood, physical condition and sexual activity. WHO (World Health Organization) regards 1.5 ml as the lower reference limit. It is necessary to wait at least 48 hours after the last ejaculation to collect a sample to have significant result. It is normal for the amount of semen to diminish with age.
Around 1% of ejaculate by volume is sperm cells. It should not be confused with oligospermia, which means low sperm count. Ejaculate consist of several other components which are added to sperms during the process of ejaculation. Sperms pass through the ejaculatory ducts and mix with fluids from the seminal vesicles, the prostate, and the bulbourethral glands to form the semen. The accessory genital ducts, the seminal vesicle, prostate glands, and the bulbourethral glands, produce most of the seminal fluid. The seminal vesicles produce a yellowish viscous fluid rich in fructose and other substances.
Low semen volume is associated with several conditions of reproductive system such as obstructive azoospermia (refers to no sperm in a man’s semen), undescended testes and anejaculation.
Undescended testes, also known as cryptorchidism, is associated with low sperm production. Testicles, which are trapped in body are no capable of production of sperms because for that they need lower temperature which is ensured by scrotum. Bilateral (both sided) cryptorchidism causes a significant decrease in spermatogenesis (production of sperms), but unilateral (one sided) cryptorchidism usually has much less impact.
In clinical practice, a volume of less than 2 mL in the setting of infertility and absent sperm should prompt an evaluation for obstructive azoospermia. Low-volume azoospermic semen specimens may be caused by hypogonadism (low testosterone levels), ejaculatory duct obstruction, or seminal vesicle absence or hypofunction.
Patients with bilateral ejaculatory duct obstruction (a congenital or acquired pathological condition which is characterized by the obstruction of one or both ejaculatory ducts) and those with congenital bilateral absence (a condition in which the vasa deferentia reproductive organs, fail to form properly prior to birth) of the vas deferens produce low-volume, acidic (semen with lower pH), and azoospermic semen specimens.
Anejaculation is defined as the complete absence of antegrade (forward) or retrograde ejaculation (backward). It is caused by failure of emission of semen from the prostate and seminal ducts into the urethra. Without the component of sperms, the ejaculate has lower volume.
Other conditions associated with low semen volume include thyroid disorders and congenital Kallmann syndrome (a rare genetic condition that is characterized by a failure to start or a failure to complete puberty) and Klinefelter syndrome (the set of symptoms that result from two or more X chromosomes in males). Sometimes the cause is unknown than we talk about idiopathic male infertility caused by low semen volume.
- If you’re producing less than a third of a teaspoon of semen you may have underlying health problems.
- Low semen volume could be a sign of low testosterone or diabetes.
- Some of the causes of low semen volume are treatable, so don’t be afraid to bring up the topic with your doctor.
Of course you’ve measured your penis to see how your member matches up, but you’ve probably never taken the steps to actually quantify how your after-sex eruptions compare to those of other dudes.
But still, it might have crossed your mind: Is the amount you’re ejaculating normal?
Lots of guys worry about whether the volume of their ejaculate is cause for concern, says Daniel Williams, M.D., an associate professor in the department of urology and director of male reproductive medicine and microsurgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
According to parameters developed by the National Institute of Health, normal semen volume ranges from 1.5 ml to 5 ml. Semen volume is essentially the amount of semen you produce during ejaculation.
Even if your eruptions don’t quite hit that benchmark, you still might be perfectly normal. But if you’re only producing 1.5 ml or less of the sticky stuff — less than one-third of a teaspoon — that’s when you may need further evaluation. However, keep in mind that semen volume isn’t consistent and generally declines with age, according to Everyday Health.
“Levels under that — or having a noticeable change — can raise your suspicion that a man may have an underlying issue that’s contributing to the low volume of his ejaculate,” Dr. Williams says.
Is low semen volume definitely a problem?
Just as erectile function declines with age, ejaculation volume follows a similar course, Dr. Williams says.
In fact, Israeli researchers found that men older than 55 experienced the most significant decline in semen volume and quality.
So if you’ve been noticing a gradual decrease in the amount that you’re spurting, say, over the last 5 or 10 years, it might just be a normal, age-related decline. And this can actually start in any decade of life.
“In some men, it can start in their 20s and 30s, but most men may not notice any changes until later on,” he says.
What’s more concerning is if you notice a sudden difference in the amount you ejaculate. This can signal something else is going on.
What causes low semen volume?
There are a number of underlying conditions that can result in a low ejaculation volume.
You’re probably familiar with something called hypogonadism, the official term for low testosterone. Along with making it hard to, well, get hard, low T can also decrease the amount of ejaculate you’re producing.
You may also feel nonspecific symptoms like fatigue, weakness, or trouble concentrating — all factors that should prompt your doc to check you for low testosterone, Dr. Williams says. Other sneaky signs of low T include your sex drive disappearing and your penis, scrotum, and testicles shrinking.
One condition you may not have thought about, though, is diabetes. If your blood sugar has been haywire for a while, it can damage the nerves and your blood vessels.
This can make it harder for the nerve signals to communicate, which may result in erectile dysfunction and ejaculation problems.
Diabetics are also more likely to develop a surprising condition called retrograde ejaculation, where the semen spurts back into the bladder instead of out the tip of the penis.
Other neurological problems, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, can also cause low semen volume in a similar way.
You may also notice a decrease in the volume of your ejaculations if you have an enlarged prostate, take meds like alpha blockers — which treat high blood pressure or urinary problems — or if you’ve recently had an abdominal surgery.
But semen volume isn’t always due to health issues. Certain medications like antibiotics or antidepressants and marijuana may reduce semen volume, reported Everyday Health.. If you take a prescription and notice changes in semen volume, consult your doctor. And guys with active sex lives may notice they produce less semen when having regular sex compared to times when they ejaculate less often.
What should you do if you think your semen volume has dropped?
Feeling like you’re dribbling when you should be dousing can throw any guy for a loop.
In fact, according to a recent Brazilian study, men who were unsatisfied with the amount of their ejaculate scored lower on measures of psychological and relationship health than guys who were unconcerned with it.
“Some men do identify with their sexual function and perceive their ejaculatory function as sort of a marker of their virility, or a mark of their manliness,” Dr. Williams says. “If they see that their sexual function has diminished, that can impact other domains of their lives.”
So it’s not something you should stress about silently. If you notice a significant decrease in the volume of your ejaculation, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a urologist so you can be evaluated for ejaculatory dysfunction, Dr. Williams says.
This may include tests for some of the potential causes, such as low testosterone or diabetes. Your doc will also evaluate your medical and surgical history to see if any conditions or medications may be contributing to your low semen volume.
Treating the causes of low semen volume
So you’ve found the culprit behind your low semen volume. The next step is taking care of it, if possible.
Some of the causes of low semen volume can be treated, like low testosterone. Low T can increase your risk of prostate cancer, heart disease, and death, so you’re going to want to check out our list of 5 easy ways to boost your manpower.
Losing weight, lifting weights, and cutting down on alcohol may help you get your levels back to normal. Besides a healthier spurt, you may also notice these other positive outcomes.
If diabetes is at the root of your erectile issues, the Mayo Clinic recommends asking your doc if there’s anything you can do to better manage the condition. For more tips on dealing with the disease, see our list of foods that fight Type 2 diabetes. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may also be able to reverse the condition, according to Newcastle University researcher Roy Taylor, M.D. Here’s how.
Christa Sgobba For nearly 10 years, Christa has created health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness content that’s steeped in science but engaging enough that people actually want to read it. Melissa Matthews Health Writer Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men’s Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.
The average amount of semen that a guy releases may surprise you. According to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, the average amount of semen that a guy produces per ejaculation is a paltry 2.5 ml (for you ‘Mericans out there, that’s around half a teaspoon).
The scale of what qualifies as a “normal” amount? Between 1.5 ml (about 1/3 of a teaspoon) to 6.8 ml (roughly half a tablespoon). If you’re below 1.5 ml per ejaculation, there are several possible causes, including:
Frequent Sex: There’s only so much semen that your body can produce. If you’ve been ejaculating frequently (daily or more), chances are your natural stores are running pretty low, causing a lower volume.
Vitamin Deficiencies: How you fuel your body can affect performance on a lot of fronts, especially your reproductive system. If you’re not getting enough selenium (found mostly in nuts, seeds, beans, and fish) and zinc (found mostly in beef, poultry and lentils), your semen volume could be suffering. For foods that can boost your semen volume and quality, check out our list of the Top 12 Fertility Superfoods.
Obesity : Those extra pounds could be lowering your semen volume. Obesity (a BMI of 30.0 or above. Read our article on BMI and Male Fertility for more information.
Low T : Hormonal levels are what drives the majority of sexual function. Testosterone is the fuel that helps semen production. If T levels are too low, less semen is produced. Symptoms of low T include fatigue, weight gain, and a loss of sex drive.
Retrograde Ejaculation : Also known as a “dry orgasm”, retrograde ejaculation is a condition in which no semen is released during ejaculation. Instead of semen traveling out of the urethra upon orgasm, it’s shot back up the urethra and into the bladder.
Faster than the Speed of Spooge
The average speed of sperm leaving the body is roughly 28 mph (basically the speed limit in a residential district). As a guy ages, the force of an ejaculation (including the speed and distance of ejaculation, as well as semen volume) tends to decrease. This is because during the aging process, your muscles, including your prostate, start to lose strength, and since your prostate and pelvic muscles largely control ejaculatory force, the result is a weaker ejaculation.
While everybody is different and ejaculatory force is really just a matter of preference, if you do want a stronger ejaculation, Kegels are the way to go. Basically, Kegels are an exercise that increases pelvic strength. It involves finding the pelvic floor muscles and contracting, then releasing them periodically. Click here for a step by step guide to Kegels.
Semen, also called seminal fluid, fluid that is emitted from the male reproductive tract and that contains sperm cells, which are capable of fertilizing the female eggs. Semen also contains other liquids, known as seminal plasma, which help to keep the sperm cells viable.
In the sexually mature human male, sperm cells are produced by the testes (singular, testis); they constitute only about 2 to 5 percent of the total semen volume. As sperm travel through the male reproductive tract, they are bathed in fluids produced and secreted by the various tubules and glands of the reproductive system. After emerging from the testes, sperm are stored in the epididymis, in which secretions of potassium, sodium, and glycerylphosphorylcholine (an energy source for sperm) are contributed to the sperm cells. Sperm mature in the epididymis. They then pass through a long tube, called the ductus deferens, or vas deferens, to another storage area, the ampulla. The ampulla secretes a yellowish fluid, ergothioneine, a substance that reduces (removes oxygen from) chemical compounds, and the ampulla also secretes fructose, a sugar that nourishes the sperm. During the process of ejaculation, liquids from the prostate gland and seminal vesicles are added, which help dilute the concentration of sperm and provide a suitable environment for them. Fluids contributed by the seminal vesicles are approximately 60 percent of the total semen volume; these fluids contain fructose, amino acids, citric acid, phosphorus, potassium, and hormones known as prostaglandins. The prostate gland contributes about 30 percent of the seminal fluid; the constituents of its secretions are mainly citric acid, acid phosphatase, calcium, sodium, zinc, potassium, protein-splitting enzymes, and fibrolysin (an enzyme that reduces blood and tissue fibres). A small amount of fluid is secreted by the bulbourethral and urethral glands; this is a thick, clear, lubricating protein commonly known as mucus.
Essential to sperm motility (self-movement) are small quantities of potassium and magnesium, the presence of adequate amounts of oxygen in the plasma, proper temperature, and a slightly alkaline pH of 7 to 7.5. Sulfate chemicals in semen help prevent the sperm cells from swelling; and fructose is the main nutrient to sperm cells.
The total volume of semen for each ejaculation of a human male averages between 2 and 5 ml (0.12 to 0.31 cubic inch); in stallions the average ejaculate is about 125 ml (7.63 cubic inches). In human beings each ejaculation contains normally 200 to 300 million sperm. Semen frequently contains degenerated cells sloughed off from the network of tubules and ducts through which the semen has passed.
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Mystery of the missing semen
Dear Dr G,
I am a healthy man reaching 50 this year.
My wife and I have a very healthy lifestyle and engage in sexual activities about once or twice a week.
I am generally fit and healthy. Apart from (pills for) high blood pressure, I am not taking any medications for other conditions.
Since we are still using condoms for sexual activities (to prevent the disaster of another pregnancy at our age), I have noticed the amount I ejaculate is diminishing significantly over the last few months.
Sometimes, even the amount of semen is hardly noticeable.
My wife even made a comment of the reduction in semen and thought I don’t get so aroused anymore during intimacy.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no intention of sex for procreation. I am just hoping to put Dr. G on the spot about my diminishing sperms.
Is it normal to have less sperms at my age? Don’t it correlate to an aging male or sickness?
Also, does it also correlate to the intensity of sexual arousal?
I would like to thank you in advance for helping me to resolve the mystery of my missing semen.
The low volume of ejaculation in a man is called hypospermia. This is generally defined as total ejaculation volume of less than 1.5ml.
Hypospermia should not be confused with oligospermia, which is characterised by low sperm count, irrespective of its volume.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the average volume of ejaculate for men is 3.7ml, roughly equivalent to three-quarters of a teaspoon.
The normal ejaculation volume of a man after a few days of abstinence actually ranges from 2-6 ml.
However, this varies greatly with mood, state of arousal, physical health and the interval of prior ejaculation.
Hypospermia may not necessary reflect the functional ability of reproduction.
Normal semen is made up of only 1% of sperm. The rest of the semen is from the secretions of the prostate and seminal vesicles.
However, low sperm volume should still be investigated for men facing issues of infertility.
The exact prevalence of hypospermia amongst men of different ages is largely unknown.
It is thought men are unlikely to be bothered to quantify the emissions (or perhaps eruptions) and losing sleep over it (or rolling over and falling asleep).
On the contrary, the issues of hypospermia can cause anxiety and concern in certain men, as the noticeable change raises the suspicion of underlying health problems.
It is common sense to assume the ejaculation volume declines with age, along with other sexual parameters, including libido and erectile rigidity.
The age-related decline can start in any decade of a man’s life and is generally gradual over five to ten years.
On the other hand, the sudden decline in semen volume is more likely to be associated with certain medical conditions.
Hypogonadism is a medical condition related to the declining levels of testosterone in men. This condition is also regarded as male menopause and well recognised to cause low semen volume.
Hypogonadism is generally associated with symptoms of fatigue, mood swings and low libido.
The other common medical condition causing low ejaculate is diabetes. The destruction of nerves, due to high blood glucose, in the male genitalia can disrupt the ejaculatory mechanism in men, causing retrograde ejaculation.
This occurs when the semen is emitted backwards (into the bladder), instead of forward, into the wide-eyed world.
The incidence of retrograde ejaculation is also a common manifestation of non-diabetic men with low semen volume.
This can occur in men taking prostate and blood pressure medications, such as alpha-blockers.
Other neurological problems, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, can also result in low semen volume.
Neil Armstrong once said: “Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”
In the mysterious world of sexual health, the level of desire, arousal, rigidity and even emission is generally variable and influenced by multiple factors, namely emotions and love (sometimes lust).
Although science has the ability to outline potential reasons behind the changes, however, such postulations are mainly speculative and difficult to substantiate.
When Dr G is put on the spot to solve the mystery to the missing semen, his response is: “The mysterious world of sex definitely creates wonder, and wonder is also the basis of man to engage in more sex and to fulfill that desire to understand!”
On that note, enjoy unraveling the mystery!!
For several years, whilst I have been able to have satisfactory sexual intercourse, the amount I ejaculate has been diminishing.
I have now reached the stage where there is virtually no ejaculate whatsoever.
This is too personal a question for me to confront with my own GP, but it is now becoming something of a worry.
Whilst I still have a climax, it is less pleasurable because of my concerns about not having a physical result.
Is this something I can rectify, or a sign of something more sinister?
No, it’s not a sign of anything sinister, but it does need checking out.
Research shows that the volume of a man’s ejaculate does diminish with age. But it shouldn’t go down to virtually zero – which is what you’re saying.
At your age, it would be usual to produce perhaps two mls. (which is less than half a teaspoon).
However, if you feel you’re producing a good deal less than that, then you really ought to talk to a doctor and have an examination of your sex organs, including your prostate.
Do you really feel you can’t talk to your GP about this? If so, then an alternative would be to go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic for a chat.
Ring your nearest large hospital and ask them where the GUM clinic is.
The NetDoctor Medical Team
Last updated 26.06.2014