Thin, Clear Or Watery Semen
Semen is the fluid that is released from a man’s urethra in during ejaculation. It is made up of several components, including sperm and fluids from the prostate gland and other male reproductive parts.
Semen is normally a thick, whitish liquid, although it can vary in its color and consistency.
Having a low sperm count, engaging in frequent sexual activity and having certain health conditions can lead to watery semen.
Most changes in the consistency of your sperm are temporary and can be treated. Clear, thin semen can also be temporary and and may disappear on its own.
Men who engage in frequent masturbation or sexual activity may notice that their semen is thinner or more watery than normal. If this is the case, it can be treated by abstaining from all sexual activity for a few days.
Sometimes watery semen can be linked with a low sperm count, and could indicate possible fertility problems. There are a number of options available if you have watery semen due to a low sperm count. Talk to a fertility specialist to discuss the best options.
Watery semen doesn’t necessarily mean that a man will have fertility issues, but those who have consistently watery semen should see a doctor to rule out this possibility. Additionally, you should seek medical attention if you have discolored or bloody semen
Causes Of Watery Semen
Watery semen can occur due to a number of potential reasons. Most of these can be treated or prevented.
1. Low Sperm Count
Low sperm counts are one of the leading causes of watery men. This condition is also called oligospermia. Having fewer than 15 million sperm/ml (milliliter) of semen is considered to be an abnormally low sperm count.(1)
Low sperm count could also be caused by:
- Hormonal disorders
- Genetic disorders
- Infection in the reproductive tract
- Blockage in the reproductive tract
- Radiation treatments
- Exposure to toxins
- Drug use
- Heavy alcohol use
- Smoking cigarettes
- Being overweight
- Certain prescription medicines
- Presence of antisperm antibodies
2. Frequent Ejaculation
Ejaculating frequently can also cause watery semen. The consistency of your semen will likely become thinner and more watery if you masturbate several times per day. Your body will need several hours at least to start producing a normal amount of semen at the usual consistency.
3. Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is an essential nutrient that supports many vital bodily functions such as DNA synthesis , fighting infections, wound healing and reproduction.
Zinc is also important for healthy sperm production. A 2018 review article in the Journal of Reproduction and Infertility suggests that zinc deficiency can lead to infertility and poor quality semen. Additionally, the authors warn that consuming too much zinc can lead to a decrease in sperm quality as well.(2)
Zinc cannot be produced or stored in the body, so it can only be obtained from the food we eat. There are several sources of foods rich in zinc, including:
- Red meats
- Dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
A varicocele is a swelling of the veins in the scrotum that transport blood from the testicle. Varicoceles often do not cause any noticeable symptoms, but can lower sperm production and reduce semen quality in some men.
Varicoceles are not uncommon, occurring in about 15% of all men, and approximately 40% of men with fertility problems.(3) However, the large majority of varicocele cases (about 80%) do not experience problems with fertility.
5. Retrograde ejaculation
Semen moves through the urethra and is expelled through the penis during ejaculation. Retrograde ejaculation is a condition where semen travels backward into the bladder due to the bladder sphincter not functioning correctly.
Retrograde ejaculation can cause a decrease in semen production or a thin or watery appearance of the semen.
It is important to note that if there is no color present in the semen and it appears clear, it is likely pre-ejaculation (commonly referred to as “pre-cum”). Pre-ejaculation fluid often occurs during arousal, is normally transparent, and contains very few sperm.
When To See A Doctor
If your semen is persistently thin, watery, or discolored, see your primary care physician or a urologist. You should also consult a fertility specialist if you and your partner have been trying to conceive without success.
Taking a semen analysis test will be one of the first steps that you’ll take. This test is used to measure the health and quality of your sperm and semen.
Your doctor will also inquire about your medical history, and conduct a physical examination. You will likely be asked about your lifestyle habits as well, including your use of cigarettes and alcohol.
If your doctor suspects that you have a problem with your hormones or the health of your reproductive organs, other tests may be required.
Treatment for watery semen may not be required if the condition is due to a low sperm count, and does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to get your partner pregnant. You may simply need to keep trying to conceive for a while longer, or you might have an infection that’s causing a temporary low sperm count.
Possible treatments can include:
- Antibiotics may be used for treatment in the case of an infection.
- If a hormone imbalance is suspected, hormone treatments may be recommended.
- Surgery can be performed to safely treat a varicocele if needed (a procedure called a varicocelectomy).
Sometimes, a lifestyle change can increase your sperm count and enhance the quality your semen. Some examples include:
- Stop smoking
- Lose excess body weight
- Cut back on your use of alcohol
- Get regular exercise
- Add more sperm-healthy foods to your diet
You may be advised by your doctor to stop having sexual intercourse or masturbating for a time in order to ejaculate less often. This is useful to observe any changes in the consistency of your semen.
Janice Reilly is the Deputy Editor of Content at The Sperm Count Report. She has extensive experience as a writer and editor for medical news blogs, where she covered fitness, reproductive health, nutritional supplementation, and similar subjects.