Certain characteristics of sperm that affect fertility are best measured by close inspection in a laboratory, where a thorough semen analysis can provide indications of strengths and weaknesses — some of which can then be addressed by effecting changes in diet or lifestyle.
But men can take even greater proactive steps in monitoring their fertility by paying attention to easily observable indicators such as the color and consistency of semen, as some variations in readings could signal problems that otherwise might go undetected until sperm are placed under a microscope.
One factor, commonly known as watery or clear semen, which could be a sign of low sperm counts, could also occur because of lifestyle choices or poor nutrition. Men who possess a greater understanding of what contributes to this factor are understandably in a better position to remedy it – including whether to see a doctor for screening and treatment.
Knowing the causes of male infertility
While men with low sperm counts may be infertile, that factor alone is not altogether determinative. The reasons for having low sperm counts, which are not always obvious, include the following:
Another culprit underlying low sperm counts is a physical condition known as a varicocele (pronounced VAR-ih-koe-seel), which involves a swelling of veins within the scrotal sac that holds the testes. One common way to think of this condition is along the lines of varicose veins which are often seen in human legs. However, while varicoceles can cause low sperm counts in some people, they do not cause fertility issues in roughly 80% of the population.
Frequent ejaculation can also result in the production of watery semen. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Translational Andrology and Urology, study subjects who followed a specific daily ejaculation schedule for a period of two weeks (following 3 to 5 days of abstinence) showed a drop in semen volume during the following timeframes: Between days one and three, and also between days 7 and 14.
Some men experience a condition known as retrograde ejaculation, which involves a faulty bladder sphincter that, during ejaculation, permits semen to pass into the bladder itself, rather than via the usual route through the urethra until it exits the penis. This condition can result in the production of semen that appears to be watery or thin.
Causes of discolored semen can include high blood pressure, a prostate infection, cancer of the urethra, testicles, or prostate, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Yellow semen could carry either a greater-than-normal count of white blood cells – a condition known as pyospermia -- or excess urine.
When to consult your physician about your fertility
Most conditions that cause male infertility, says the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, can be traced to problems with testicular function. And some conditions, including clear semen, are known to be temporary and often resolve by themselves.
As is the case with most any health concern, though, it’s best to consult your physician when symptoms manifest, rather than trying to diagnose them yourself. According to an article published by Medical News Today, men who experience “persistent watery or discolored semen should speak with a doctor or urologist”.
Men should also seek medical advice if they experience watery or discolored semen when it is accompanies by any of the following conditions: Painful or difficult urination, chills, discomfort or pain in the scrotum or testicles, fever, nausea, or unusual discharge.
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In order to get at the heart of the cause(s) of discolored or watery semen, your physician will likely ask you about your medical history, lifestyle habits, and symptoms. A physical examination may also be performed. If your physician deems it necessary, a semen sample may be requested which will undergo an analysis to determine consistency and volume, sperm motility (swimming ability), acidity, sperm count, and sperm morphology (shape and size).
Possible treatments for watery sperm include taking antibiotics (in the event of a bacterial infection), hormone therapy (in the event of hormonal imbalances), and procedures to address varicoceles. The latter involve percutaneous embolization, a minimally invasive procedure in which an object is inserted into the enlarged vein in order to enhance or restore blood flow from the associated testicle; and, laparoscopic surgery, where a surgeon places a camera through the abdominal area in order to pinpoint the problem for repair, blockage, or removal.
The Legacy man can best protect his assets by taking prudent measures to analyze his sperm and, if necessary, arrange for needed treatments.