Why is there blood in my semen?
Anyone can experience blood in their semen, also called haematospermia (hee-ma-toh-sperm-ee-ah), at any time after puberty. It’s most common between the ages of 30 to 40, or if you’re over 50 and have benign prostate enlargement.
Finding blood might seem like a worrying sign, but it’s rarely because of anything serious, and will often go away on its own. But if you’re concerned, it’s important to visit your doctor.
What does blood in semen look like?
At orgasm, sperm and fluid (semen) travel from the testicles, through the urethra (the tube that connects the bladder with the penis) and out of the tip of the penis. Bleeding can happen anywhere along the way, and the semen can have a brown or red colour. Most of the time there is no pain, and blood is noticed after ejaculation.
What causes blood in semen?
Blood in semen can just be a symptom on its own, or it can be linked to other symptoms. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) rarely cause blood in semen. You might notice blood in your semen before or after sex, but rough sex won’t be the cause, although damage to the genital area can cause bleeding when you urinate.
Swelling, infection, blockages or injury in the male reproductive system or prostate can also cause blood in semen.
More serious causes of blood in semen can include:
A side effect of a prostate biopsy to check for prostate cancer
A benign prostate enlargement (BPH) causing the build up of calcium deposits (also called prostate stones). This generally happens to those over 50.
In rare cases, blood in semen can be a sign of:
Tuberculosis, an infectious disease that damages your lungs or other parts of the body
Diseases that affect blood clotting, such as haemophilia and chronic liver disease
A side effect of some blood thinning medications.
What can I do?
If you find blood in your semen, the best thing to do is to visit your doctor.
How is blood in semen diagnosed?
When you go to the doctor, they’ll give you a physical check-up and ask you some questions about your symptoms.
Your doctor might also ask for semen and urine samples.
What treatments are there?
If blood in your semen is the only symptom that you have, and no other symptoms are found after tests and a physical examination, then usually you won’t need any sort of treatment. It should go away on its own.
Blood in semen can go away and come back, but it generally clears up without treatment and doesn’t increase the risk of other diseases. On its own, blood in your semen doesn’t put your sexual partner at the risk of other diseases either.
If other symptoms are found, the blood in your semen might have an underlying cause that means you need treatment.
Minor injuries are treated with rest and keeping track of symptoms.
Major injuries may need surgery
Infections can often be treated with antibiotics
Blockages (e.g. due to prostate enlargement) are usually treated with specific medicines
In the rare case of prostate cancer, surgery, radiation or hormonal therapy may be needed.
If you are over the age of 40 and continue to have blood in your semen, especially if you also have other symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Your doctor's appointment
Questions to ask your doctor
Will I need any treatment for the blood in my semen?
Is the blood in my semen caused by something more serious?
- Are there any risks to my partner?
Things to think about before your appointment
When did you first notice the blood in your semen?
How many times have noticed blood in your semen?
- Have you noticed any blood in your urine? Does it burn or sting when you pass urine?
Blood in semen fact sheet
Ejaculation problems fact sheet
Clinical summary guide
Ejaculatory disorders clinical summary guide (#8)
Blood in semen