What is Retrograde Ejaculation

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Normally when ejaculation occurs, semen will exit the penis. Retrograde ejaculation happens when the semen enters the bladder instead of exiting the penis during an orgasm. This is also known as a ‘dry orgasm’. It is not harmful but can cause male infertility. Retrograde ejaculation is not life-threatening and can be repaired. It is recommended that you see a doctor if you have experienced retrograde ejaculation. 


Symptoms of Retrograde Ejaculation

You will still have a normal erection and orgasm, but once you climax the semen will go into your bladder. Retrograde symptoms include dry orgasms (orgasms with very little or no semen), cloudy urine after an orgasm (this is because there I semen mixed into the urine), and struggling to get your partner pregnant


When Should I See a Doctor?

Retrograde ejaculation is harmful and only requires medical attention if you would want to become a father. However, it is recommended that you see your doctor if you experience dry orgasms to make sure that it is not an underlying condition. If you have been struggling for longer than a year to get your partner pregnant it is advised to seek adivce from a medical professional. 


What Causes Retrograde Ejaculation?

The vas deferens is the tube responsible in a male’s body to transfer semen to the prostate. This is where sperm will mix with semen fluid to produce liquid semen for ejaculation. The semen passes through a tube in the bladder from the prostate to the head of the penis for ejaculation. The muscle at the bladder neck will tighten to prevent ejaculation from entering the bladder. This muscle also holds urine inside your bladder until you need to urinate. Retrograde ejaculation occurs since the bladder neck muscle does not tighten during an orgasm. There are several conditions that can cause problems at the bladder neck muscle such as bladder surgery, it can be a side effect of some medications, or nerve damage caused by a medical condition. 

Primarily a dry orgasm or little semen during an orgasm is an indication of retrograde ejaculation, but in some cases, it can be an underlying symptom of another disease such as surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy), surgical removal of the bladder (cystectomy) or because of radiation therapy. 


What Are The Risk Factors of Retrograde Ejaculation?

The risk of developing retrograde ejaculation increases if you have diabetes if you have had prostate or bladder surgery. Your chances also increase if you are taking certain medications for high blood pressure and mood disorders, and if you’ve had a spinal cord injury. 


Complications Associated With Retrograde Ejaculation?

Retrograde ejaculation is not harmful, but it can lead to complications such as male infertility and less pleasurable orgasms. 


Treatment for Retrograde Ejaculation 

Retrograde ejaculation does not require treatment unless you want to conceive a child with your partner. Retrograde ejaculation that is caused due to nerve damage can be treated with medication. This is seen quite often in diabetic patients; neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes. If there is a physical change caused by surgery causing retrograde ejaculation, then bladder neck surgery would be recommended. If the retrograde ejaculation is caused by medication, you are currently taking, your doctor might reevaluate your prescription and change your medication. 

The other option is to get fertility treatment if you have retrograde ejaculation, and you are trying to conceive a child with your partner. To ensure fertilisation, enough sperm cells need to be ejaculated to enter through the cervix and fertilise an egg cell. 


Preparing For Your Appointment To See The Doctor

Things you can do before you see your doctor:

  • Write your symptoms, even if you think they might be unrelated.
  • Write down personal information such as previous surgeries, radiation, and major life changes.
  • Write down all your questions for the doctor.


What Questions Can I Ask My Doctor About Retrograde Ejaculation?

  • What causes my symptoms?
  • What kind of screening tests do I need to do?
  • Will I be able to have children?
  • Is there a generic medication that can treat this condition?
  • Should my partner and I consider other fertility options such as IVF?


How Often Should A Man Release Sperm?

Some research has shown that regular ejaculation (2-4 times per week) is associated with lowering the risk for prostate cancer. 

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