Hematospermia or Blood in the Semen

January 23, 2020
Although medical professionals don’t usually discover the cause of hematospermia, it often occurs after a prostate biopsy or infection.

Hematospermia, also called hemospermia, is the medical term used to describe the presence of blood in the men’s semen. When it occurs, it usually alarms and worries the sufferer.

It’s more common than many people believe and can occur at any age. However, experts still don’t know how many men it affects, since many don’t consult a doctor when it happens to them.

Normally, in 75% of cases, hematospermia manifests on its own, in a benign and self-limited way. However, it depends on the cause that provoked it.

Men often confuse blood in their semen with blood in urine (which usually involves different conditions) or with blood from their sexual partner. Therefore, it’s important to carefully verify all the details.

Although, as we mentioned above, hematospermia isn’t usually serious, in this article we explain everything you need to know about it. In addition, we’ll explain why it can happen and what to do if it happens to you.

Why does hematospermia occur?

To understand why hematospermia occurs, you must first know a little about how the male genital apparatus works. Semen is a liquid that forms thanks to three different glands:

A doctor talking to a patient about hematospermia.

Furthermore, semen, on its journey from the testicles to the urethra, passes through a series of ducts. Any alteration, such as an inflammatory process or infection on this journey, can cause hematospermia.

The main causes are:

  • Prostate disorders. Firstly, we must mention that the most common cause of hematospermia is a prostate biopsy. This procedure is carried out in order to detect prostate cancer. However, an infection, a benign tumor, or a prostate vascular disorder can also cause blood in the semen.
  • Problems in the seminal vesicles. Any infection in these glands is also associated with hematospermia. Likewise, a tumor may also cause the presence of blood in semen.
  • Any injury to the urethra. This includes urethritis, an inflammation of the urethra. It’s usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, even urethral polyps or cysts can cause hematospermia.
  • Trauma or shock in the testicular area or penis.

In some cases, a systemic disease, such as hypertension, can cause it. In fact, people with clotting problems, such as patients with Von Willebrand disease, can suffer from it.

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Tests a patient must get done if they suffer from hematospermia

It’s important to mention that, although we’ve explained the most pathological main causes, many patients don’t have any of these causes, especially the youngest ones.

A man in pain when he urinates.

In those under 40, medical professionals usually try to rule out an infection. To do this, they ask the patient about their sexual activity and if they have pain in any area. The medical professional also needs to know if the patient has had a fever.

On the other hand, when it comes to patients over 45, they may believe there’s a carcinogenic process. Numerous studies show that, from this age, it’s common for there to be a prostate tumor, whether malignant or benign.

Therefore, certain complementary tests can help medical professionals in the diagnosis. Firstly, they should properly examine the penis and the entire male genital apparatus.

In addition, it’s essential to get complete blood work and exams to rule out sexually transmitted diseases. To do this, the doctor can request a semen culture. In this way, they can rule out that it’s a case of urethritis due to gonorrhea, for example.

For patients older than 45, the examination tends to be more exhaustive. Usually, the doctor requests an ultrasound, a rectal exam to feel the prostate, and blood PSA levels.

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Conclusion

Hematospermia is the presence of blood in the semen. It usually occurs only once and has no pathological cause for concern.

However, it may be due to an infection or, in the case of those over 45, a prostate problem. Therefore, it’s important to consult your doctor if you have any doubts.

  • Hemospermia o sangre en el semen | Blogs Quirónsalud. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2019, from https://www.quironsalud.es/blogs/es/mens-health/hemospermia-sangre-semen
  • Guía clínica de Hemospermia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2019, from https://www.fisterra.com/guias-clinicas/hematospermia/
  • Hematospermia – Trastornos urogenitales – Manual MSD versión para profesionales. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2019, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/es-es/professional/trastornos-urogenitales/síntomas-de-los-trastornos-urogenitales/hematospermia