Yellow Semen: What Are The Causes and How Is It Treated?

Man on yellow background with surprised expression, representing yellow semen

Why Is My Semen Yellow?

Semen, or seminal fluid, is normally white, light grayish, or cream colored. You may naturally be concerned about your health if your semen’s color has changed.

Yellow semen is not usually a cause for concern. It could be caused by aging, infection (such as prostatitis, UTIs and STIs), the presence of urine in the semen, or avoiding ejaculating for extended periods of time.

Although yellow semen is not something to be alarmed about, it could still be an indication of an underlying health condition. If you are experiencing fever, or pain when ejaculating or urinating, you should not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.

Continue reading to find out more about the causes of yellow semen, and when it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor.

Causes Of Yellow Semen

There are a number of potential reasons why there could be a change in the color of your semen. Semen may develop a yellowish tint from certain lifestyle factors or from specific medical conditions.

Lifestyle Factors

Some lifestyle factors can result in a change in semen color, but these cases are usually temporary and not cause for concern. Your semen may look yellow due to a variety of benign reasons, including:

  • Abstinence: Sometimes yellow semen is caused by abstaining from ejaculating for long periods of time. Semen can become yellow from sperm that are old or have not been used.
  • Age: The color of your semen can change naturally as you get older, and might appear to have a yellowish tint.
  • Certain foods: Some foods and spices, such as those high in sulfur, may temporarily give semen a yellowish color. Your semen may become yellow from food coloring, but this can also happen with natural foods. Some common examples include onions, chives, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, and asparagus. However, semen should go back to its normal whitish color once the foods have left your system.
  • Nutritional supplements and medications: Your body may develop a yellow-orange hue to your semen as it breaks down certain vitamins (like vitamin A) and antibiotics .
  • Smoking: Long-term smoking can make your skin and nails turn a yellowish-brown color, and it can also do the same to your semen.
  • Some medications and supplements:¬†Yellow-orange coloration of the urine or semen may be caused by some antibiotics. Vitamin B supplements can also cause urine and semen appear bright yellow.
  • Urine in the semen: In certain situations urine can remain behind in the urethra (the tube that transports urine and semen out of the body). This can result in a mixture of urine and semen that may make your semen appear yellow.

Health Conditions

Your semen may turn yellow due to certain medical conditions, some of which can have serious health consequences. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect your yellow semen is being caused by one of these conditions.

Conditions causing yellow semen may include:

  • Jaundice: A person with jaundice has an excess of a waste product called bilirubin in their blood. This yellow pigment is naturally produced as red blood cells break down. If your liver is damaged from liver disease (such as hepatitis or cirrhosis), or if your blood cells break down too rapidly, bilirubin may build up. As a result, skin and the whites of your eyes may turn yellow, and semen can turn yellow as well.
  • Prostatitis: Bacteria found in the prostate gland, often from UTIs (urinary tract infections), can lead to an infection known as prostatitis. Your prostate makes a part of your semen, so if you have an infection your semen might turn yellow.
  • Pyospermia: Pyospermia, also called leukocytospermia, occurs when there are an excess of white cells in the semen. It can be caused from a number of things, such as infection, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, prolonged illness, and heavy use of alcohol or tobacco. As a result, a yellowish color can be caused due to white blood cells damaging the sperm.
  • STIs: Semen can take on a yellowish tint from any number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the most common of which are chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes. Semen can also develop a yellowish-green hue from other STIs as well.

Treatment For Yellow Semen

The specific cause of your yellow semen will determine the treatment required. Some causes, like abstinence or aging, do not require treatment.

Your semen should go back to its normal color if the cause is from food, medication, or supplements, once the consumed substances have left your system. Some conditions, like STIs and other infections, may need treatment with antiviral or antibiotic medications.

If you notice any other unusual changes in your semen, such as brownish semen or semen with specks, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider. Brown-colored or speckled semen may be indicative of a condition called hematospermia (blood in the semen).

There may not necessarily be a cause for concern if your semen is yellow or brown, but it could be a sign of health issue that needs to be treated.

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