Let’s face it: having a condition like hematospermia is, essentially, anything but fun. For many, this is frightening, more frightening than the future of a robot apocalypse! It’s almost like it brings its own phases of grief. Initially, there’s denial, wherein you just want to assume that it’s a small problem that will go away by itself. Then there’s anger, which arises when a physician confirms that you are suffering from a severe condition. It will likely be followed by depression, and the fear that you may never enjoy sexual intercourse again.
But before we get too far, let’s start by defining just what this condition is. Also known as hemospermia, this is the presence of blood in semen. And here’s the big kick in the pants, few men even recognize that they have it, and it’s easy to see why. A majority of men do not have the time to keep observing the color of their semen.
What Causes Blood in Semen?
Hemospermia can be as a result of several things:
Infection or Inflammation
One aspect that may cause blood in semen is the infection or swelling in one of the glands, ducts or tubes involved in producing and moving semen. Some of these parts include:
- Prostate- this is the gland responsible for semen production
- Urethra- tube involved with carrying urine and semen from the penis
- Epididymis and vas deferens- tiny tube-like structures where sperms mature before ejaculation
- Seminal vesicles- help in adding more fluid to semen
Alternately, the problem could stem from a sexually transmitted infection, most notably, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Based on research, inflammations and infections are the culprits for every four out of ten hematospermia cases.
Trauma or medical procedure
Having blood in semen is a common occurrence for individuals, who have undergone medical procedures such as prostate biopsy. Operations conducted for the treatment of urinary issues can also result in mild trauma, which then causes temporary bleeding. If this is the cause of your hematospermia, then there is no reason to get diaper rash over it as it will disappear in a few weeks.
Also, radiation therapy and vasectomy are other conditions that may result in hematospermia. Health experts also attribute this condition to the physical trauma, which affects sex organs following pelvic fracture, rigorous sexual activity or injury to the testicles.
Yet another common occurrence entails blockage in the tiny tube or ducts of the reproductive system. When this happens, it triggers blood vessels to break; hence, releasing small amounts of blood.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the condition that causes the enlargement of the prostate to the extent that it surrounds urethra, is another culprit of hematospermia.
Traditionally, hematospermia has been regarded benign. Nonetheless, there are few instances where this condition serves as an underlying symptom of cancer such as prostate cancer. In one review that involved more than 900 patients, who were diagnosed with hematospermia, just 3.5% had tumors. Hematospermia can be associated with cancer of the bladder, testicles and other reproductive organs.
Polyps are benign growths that do not cause any medical problems. When they occur in the reproductive tract, they could cause blood in semen.
All of the delicate organs engaged in ejaculation, ranging from the prostate to the tiny tubes that carry sperms, consist of blood vessels. If any of these blood tissues gets damaged, it could result in hematospermia.
Some diseases affecting the whole body have also been linked to hematospermia. These include hypertension, hemophilia (a bleeding disorder), leukemia and chronic liver disease.
When to See a Doctor?
Admittedly, going over such a long list of the likely factors of hemospermia will not help with reassuring a man. If anything, it may cause his mind to run wild. It is why we have highlighted the situations that warrant getting frightened and those that do not.
If you are under 40 and notice some blood in semen, there is no cause for alarm. More specifically, you need not seek medical attention unless:
- You experience other symptoms
- You have undergone a recent prostate exam
- There’s too much blood in semen and it happens frequently
In the following events, you ought to schedule an appointment with your physician immediately:
- You’re 40 or older
- The blood in semen persists for more than a month
- Presence of other symptoms including painful urination
- Other risk factors including history of cancer, bleeding disorders or urinary system malformation
Treatment of Hematospermia
Thanks to advancements in the medical field, there are tons of medical and natural treatments for most of the men’s sexual health problems. Similarly, hematospermia is a manageable and treatable condition. The kind of treatment that a patient receives is dependent on several factors.
In most situations, it is vital that individuals receive a firm reassurance regarding the diagnosis of the condition, particularly for the low-risk individuals (men aged below 40 years). Usually, a physician conducts tons of investigative procedures including:
- Urine microscopy
- Transrectal ultrasound
- PSA test
- Sperm culture
- Genital examination
The core reason for carrying out all these tests is to rule out severe conditions such as cancer of the bladder or prostate glands. In an instance where hematospermia is identified as idiopathic, it is crucial that you give the patient sufficient information in a bid to eliminate anxiety and stress.
On the other hand, if you have been diagnosed with hematospermia, you need not be too worried. It is possible to manage the condition at your primary care facility. You may also seek additional urological consultation from advanced healthcare settings. According to a report by the PubMed, seeking further treatment is only necessary if you are found to have elevated PSA or recurrent symptoms.
Men aged 40 years and over are considered high-risk for hematospermia. These persons are also more susceptible to hematuria, which is the presence of blood in urine. For such cases, extensive evaluation is a prerequisite.
Aside from age, another aspect that should inform treatment entails the source of your hematospermia. For instance, if the cause is a particular STD, then you will need to visit a genitourinary medicine clinic and seek the proper medication. As earlier stated, the most prevalent pathogens in such situations include Chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes simplex. All three diseases can be treated using a course of antibiotic therapy.
In the case of bleeding in the urethra or seminal vesicles, the problem can be halted by employing electric currents. Systemic factors such as high blood pressure can also be managed.
In situations where hematospermia cannot be linked to any known abnormality, no treatment is administered. Often, the condition resolves on its own within a few weeks. In contrast, persistent hematospermia, even in the absence of other severe conditions, warrants follow-up assessments.
Three main things that can alarm men are a financial crisis, job insecurity and the sight of a bloody ejaculate. While it is true that hematospermia can indicate prostate cancer, this occurrence is very rare. For younger patients with low-risk symptoms, your hematospermia is likely idiopathic and benign.
However, men aged more than 40 years may require careful and thorough investigations for this condition. Such evidence-reliant assessments are beneficial in making comprehensive diagnoses. They also help to minimize on unnecessary clinic visits. As such, while younger patients can get off with a monitored management program, high-risk persons will need more intense treatment procedures. But as noted, the majority of hematospermia cases are benign.
Salome Nyagah is a Health Writer and Researcher. She write on the topics related to Men`s Health, Public Health, Healthcare, etc.