Blood in semen: causes and treatments

Seeing red when you least expect it? Help is at hand…

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While finding blood in your semen (also known as haematospermia) can seem worrying, it’s often easily treatable and is usually nothing to be concerned about.

However, if you do discover blood when you ejaculate, it’s best to visit your GP, to uncover the cause and start a course of treatment, if required.

What will blood in my semen look like?

‘Blood in semen is usually in the form of bright red streaks,’ says Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, Director and GP at Your Doctor. ‘When it looks like this, it’s as a result of a fresh bleed. Blood comprising clots, or blood that is darker brown in colour, indicates an older bleed.’

You might also notice that your semen is stained pink in colour.

Why is there blood in my semen?

Please don’t automatically assume the worst. ‘Most of the causes of blood in semen are benign and not serious,’ reassures Dr Di Cuffa.

Most of the causes of blood in semen are benign and not serious.

‘The most common causes of blood in semen are prostatitis, which is an infection or inflammation of the prostate, or vesiculitis, which is the inflammation or infection of vesicles – glands that produce fluid for ejaculation,’ he adds.

‘Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia, can also cause blood in semen, as can recent surgery or a trauma.’

When should I worry?

There are a few less common causes of blood in your semen, which can be more serious. These include:

    What should I do?

    If you find blood in your semen, visit your GP, who will start to determine the cause and whether further treatment will be required.

    ‘Your GP will assess your symptoms, age and medical history, as well as taking your blood pressure, and conducting an examination of the testes and abdomen,’ says Dr Di Cuffa.

    If you are over 40 and your symptoms are recurrent, you may need a referral to a specialist.

    ‘A rectal examination may be required, and a dip stick of urine may be done and blood tests booked, to rule out a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The outcome of these tests will then determine whether you will need further investigations.

    'If you are under 40 and have only had one or two incidents, and if all other findings are normal, it’s likely that you will be monitored with instructions,' he adds. 'If you are over 40 and your symptoms are recurrent, you may need a referral to a specialist for an ultrasound.’

    Blood in semen treatment options

    Your treatment plan will depend on the results of the investigations.

    ‘If it’s an infection or inflammation, antibiotics or anti-inflammatories will settle symptoms most of the time,’ says Dr Di Cuffa.

    ‘If the problem is more serious, then you may be referred to a specialist for imaging and possible surgical intervention.’

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