Definition of Retrograde Ejaculation

A circumstance in which a man’s semen enters the bladder instead of ejecting from the penis during ejaculation.

Semen and urine share the urethra for their exit from a man’s body. A tiny valve in the urethra at the neck of the bladder ordinarily closes across the entry to the bladder during ejaculation, directing the flow of semen through the penis.

When this valve does not close, semen takes the path of least resistance and enters the bladder during ejaculation. A man may notice retrograde ejaculation as a “dry orgasm” in which very little discharge leaves the penis with orgasm.

Retrograde ejaculation does not present any health concerns for the man though results in infertility when all semen enters the bladder. Analysis of the first urine after ejaculation shows the presence of sperm. That first urine after ejaculation may also appear cloudy.

Causes and Treatment

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (bph), a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, is the most common cause of retrograde ejaculation. The prostate gland surrounds the neck of the bladder; in BPH the gland may compress the urethra in such a way as to prevent the valve from properly functioning.

Surgery to treat BPH or prostate cancer may permanently damage or remove the valve. Retrograde ejaculation may also occur in men who have diabetes, particularly when blood glucose (sugar) regulation is poor. Some medications that affect smooth muscle function may also cause retrograde ejaculation.

When the cause is a medication side effect, ejaculation returns to normal when the man stops taking the medication. When the cause is a health condition such as BPH or diabetes, retrograde ejaculation is likely not reversible.

See also FERTILITYPROSTATE HEALTHSEXUAL HEALTHURINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI).

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