What is hematospermia?
Seeing blood in your semen can be very alarming, especially if you have never experienced anything like that before. This condition is medically referred to as hematospermia.
While the causes of hematospermia are often benign, any irregular bleeding or the mere presence of blood in your semen should warrant immediate medical attention. This is because the presence of blood in your semen can signal the potential onset of serious medical conditions such as cancers, infections, obstruction, trauma as well as a systemic disease, among others.
What causes hematospermia?
- Tumors: Bladder, testicular, and prostate cancers can all cause blood to appear in your semen. Benign cysts are another potential cause.
- Vascular complications: Vascular complications such as prostatic telangiectasia, varicoceles as well as hemangiomas can potentially cause hematospermia.
- Infections: These include urethritis, gonorrhea, epididymo-orchitis, chlamydia, prostatitis, schistosomiasis, HIV and tuberculosis.
- Trauma or iatrogenic: Instrumentation or some medications have also been proven to cause hematospermia.
- Systemic diseases: Hypertension, leukemia, lymphoma as well as bleeding disorders are other possible causes of this particular condition.
When should you schedule an appointment with your doctor?
It is generally recommended that you seek immediate medical attention anytime you see blood in your semen. Because hematospermia tends to be more common among men aged 40 and above, you should be more cautious if you are in that age bracket.
Other concerning symptoms that warrant immediate medical intervention include;
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling discomfort while urinating
- Recurrent bleeding episodes
How is hematospermia diagnosed?
During the initial evaluation, your doctor will conduct any or all of the following:
- A full medical history, including asking questions regarding your current symptoms, when you first saw the blood, how regularly, and your sexual practices. Your doctor will want to know any medications you are currently taking, if you have had any bleeding disorders, or whether you have any urinary tract infection symptoms.
- A physical exam to look for swelling, lumps, or tenderness.
- A rectal examination to check your prostate for tenderness, swelling, or a lump.
- Measure your blood pressure.
How is hematospermia treated?
Treatment is based on:
- The duration and extent of the presence of blood in your semen and
- The presence of other symptoms
In this regard, you likely do not require any treatment if:
- You are below the age of 40
- Do not exhibit any urinary tract symptoms
- Have no risk factors for other health conditions
- Have only experienced a single episode of hematospermia
If the cause for blood in your semen is established, your doctor will recommend and subsequently prescribe appropriate treatments such as antibiotics if you have an infection, anti-inflammatory medications, and medicines to treat other medical conditions.
If any other underlying causes are identified, appropriate treatment will be offered accordingly.
Note: The use of antibiotics should be carefully considered, especially among older males. Your doctor will likely recommend that you go for prostate cancer screening even if the earlier imaging was negative.
Is hematospermia dangerous for my partner?
Hematospermia is not a transmissible condition, so it is not dangerous for your partner. However, if the presence of blood in your semen is caused by a sexually transmitted condition such as gonorrhea, HIV or chlamydia, you will need the appropriate treatment to ensure your partner does not contract the disease or infection.
It is highly recommended that your partner also undergoes the necessary tests and treatments.
Will hematospermia impact my fertility?
In most cases, hematospermia will not affect your fertility. However, if your condition is caused by an underlying health condition such as testicular cancer, it can potentially affect your reproductive capabilities. If you have concerns about your fertility after an episode of hematospermia, you should consider going for a semen analysis to have your fertility assessed.
All my tests came back normal, why am I not improving?
Once your initial test results have proven that there is nothing serious to worry about, you may still continue to experience the presence of blood in your semen for quite some time. You will have to wait for your ejaculation process to become normal again.
It may take a few ejaculations to clear the blood that is already within your ejaculatory ducts.
With that in mind, if you experience recurrent or persistent episodes of blood in your semen, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor for further testing. Your doctor may carry out more invasive tests such as urocystoscopy, which involves the insertion of a thin tube with a small camera into your penile region to assess your bladder and urethra. Other tests that may be conducted include biopsy and transrectal ultrasound.
It is not clear how prevalent hematospermia is because most men often do not check their semen after ejaculating. Regardless, having blood in your semen can potentially affect men of any age. But research tends to show that it is more common in males aged between 30 and 40.
Hematospermia often does not last long because it is a self-resolving condition. Of course, should your symptoms last longer than normal, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.