Retrograde Ejaculation

What is Retrograde Ejaculation?

Retrograde Ejaculation is a type of sexual dysfunction that affects some men. When a man suffers from this condition, it means that when he ejaculates some or all of the semen goes into the body rather than out through the penis. Specifically, the semen goes into the bladder.

Sexual climax and orgasm are still achieved when a man has retrograde ejaculation issues, but very little semen may come out of the penis. This is sometimes referred to as a dry orgasm. For the most part, retrograde ejaculation does not cause any serious medical side effects. However, it can result in male infertility if not enough semen is ejaculated through the penis.

There are many possible causes for retrograde ejaculation. The primary issue occurs in what is known as the bladder neck. When a man ejaculates, the bladder neck normally tightens, closing it off so that the semen can move from the prostate to the urethra and out of the penis without entering the bladder.

On the other hand, with retrograde ejaculation, the neck of the bladder does not tighten enough and semen is able to get into the bladder. This can occur because of diabetic nerve damage, surgery on the bladder, bladder neck, prostate, or other organs in the vicinity, or the use of certain medications.

What are the Symptoms of Retrograde Ejaculation?

The most noticeable symptom of retrograde ejaculation is little to no semen leaving the penis when the man ejaculates. Infertility may be the first sign that a man notices, particularly if he and his partner have been trying to get pregnant. Additionally, after ejaculation, the urine may be cloudy because of the semen content in the bladder.

Retrograde Ejaculation Causes

There are several causes of retrograde ejaculation or dry orgasms. Surgery is a reason why someone may have dry orgasms. Surgery or surgeries can cause the muscle at the neck of the bladder to tighten improperly, causing this condition. Surgery for testicular or prostate cancer can also cause this problem. Certain medications for high blood pressure, prostate enlargement and depression can also cause this condition. Chronic illness that affects the nerves is another known cause. Long-term poorly controlled diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries are all further causes of retrograde ejaculation. However, the most common reason for this condition is prostate or testicular cancer. Nerve damage only makes up about two percent of the cases.

How is Retrograde Ejaculation Treated?

The treatments for retrograde ejaculation depend on the cause of the condition. When it is caused by medications, stopping the use of those medications can often resolve the issue entirely. On the other hand, if retrograde ejaculation occurs because of a previous surgery or even diabetes, prescription medications that function like epinephrine can sometimes correct the problem.

Retrograde Ejaculation Prevention

This condition is prevented relatively easily. If you’re on drugs that are known to cause retrograde ejaculation, talk to your doctor about changing which drugs you’re taking. In cases where medications are the problem, the issue resolves itself fairly quickly and comprehensively. For people who have this issue because of a nerve disorder, the prognosis isn’t as promising. In that situation, keeping yourself in good health and your illness under control is the best prevention. For example, men with diabetes should keep their blood sugar under control to prevent this condition. For men that are having dry orgasms because of previous surgeries or suspect it might become a problem, ask for a surgery that isn’t as invasive. Transurethral resection of the prostate is known to cause damage to the bladder valve, causing retrograde ejaculation. Men with this condition can still father children, sometimes they need the help of a fertility doctor, and sometimes all they need is to switch medications or take something that helps with muscle tone around the bladder. Up to forty percent of men experience a normal ejaculation when on medication for this condition.

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Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
December 11, 2017
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