Blood in Semen: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Blood in semen can either be noticeable or only visible under a microscope. At times, it is nothing serious and passes in days or a few weeks. Sometimes, it can indicate an infection like a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a disorder like a urinary tract infection (UTI).

It also may be caused by infection or injury to the prostate or urethra (the tube that transports urine and semen out of the bladder). It's advised to see a healthcare professional if blood in semen is visible so that illness or infection can be ruled out.

This article discusses the symptoms and potential causes of blood in semen. It also covers risk factors and when to get a diagnosis and treatment for your symptoms.

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Symptoms That Occur With Blood in Semen

Blood in semen may give it a pink, red, or brown appearance. Some common symptoms that can indicate an infection in the urethra, prostate, or genitals, include:

  • Pain in or around the genitals
  • Pain while urinating or ejaculating
  • Swelling or tenderness in the genitals

Other symptoms of infection that could cause blood in semen include:

  • Pain when moving bowels
  • Low-back pain

Causes of Blood in Semen

Problems with the genitalia or prostate might cause blood in semen, including:

  • STIs
  • Urethritis: Irritation or injury of the urethra whose causes can include bacterial or viral infections, urinary tract infections (UTI), injury, or chemical reactions
  • Prostatic stones: Small calcium deposits in the prostate gland
  • Trauma
  • Vascular issues: Problems with the vessels carrying blood or other fluids
  • Benign and malignant tumors of the prostate or other parts of thee lower urinary tract
  • An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH): Can block areas of the urethra
  • Prostatitis: Inflammation (when an infection swells) in the prostate due to a bacteria or virus

How to Treat Blood in Semen

If the cause of blood in semen can't be found or if there are no other symptoms present with blood in semen, treatment can mean simply waiting for the condition to subside.

While waiting for blood in semen to heal, at-home care might include:

  • Taking pain relievers
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Increasing fiber intake for smoother bowel movements

Treatments for conditions that can cause blood in semen include:

  • Antibiotics to eliminate STIs, UTIs, prostatitis, or other infections
  • Avoiding sex while being treated for STIs and using condoms when symptoms are present
  • Lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, changing medications, or strategies to relax muscles surrounding the prostate/pelvic floor to empty urine more effectively
  • Medications that might include those to relax prostate muscles or hormone medications to reduce prostate size

Complications and Risk Factors Associated With Blood in Semen

If left untreated, infections or conditions that cause blood in semen could lead to:

  • Bacterial infections that spread throughout the body and become life-threatening
  • Untreated prostate enlargement that can lead to UTIs, chronic urinary problems, or damage to kidneys or the bladder
  • Urethritis that could cause infections in the bladder, testicles, or prostate
  • Prostatitis that could result in pus, sexual dysfunction, pain, or an inability to urinate

Risk factors associated with blood in semen might include:

  • A history of STIs or sexual activity with anonymous partners or without condoms
  • Poor genital hygiene and not keeping the genitals dry
  • Hormonal changes that affect the prostate

Are There Tests to Diagnose the Cause of Blood in Semen?

To diagnose the cause of blood in semen, a healthcare provider might perform:

  • A physical examination of the genitals and rectum
  • A urine or semen sample for testing
  • A blood test to check for prostate cancer or disease
  • Imaging, including ultrasound of the pelvic area
  • A cystoscopy, in which a camera on a tube is used to look at the urethra and bladder

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you see blood in your semen, it's advised to see a healthcare provider immediately to rule out infections or issues with the prostate.

Summary

Blood in semen can be harmless and disappear within days to weeks. However, it can also be a symptom of an infection in the genitals or prostate problems. For that reason, visible blood in the semen should be examined by a healthcare provider. Symptoms of infection that might accompany blood in the semen include pain while urinating or ejaculating, swelling of or pain in the genitals, low-back pain, or pain when moving bowels.

Treating blood in semen might include antibiotics for a bacterial infection, pain relievers, medications for prostate issues, or lifestyle changes like changes in diet or medications. Diagnosing the causes of blood in semen might include taking a blood test or providing a urine or semen sample, or additional imaging or diagnostic testing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes blood in semen?

    Blood in semen can sometimes have no cause. But if diagnosed, blood in semen can be a symptom of an STI or an infection in the urethra or prostate. It could also be a symptom of an enlarged prostate, which can be managed with medication or lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol or caffeine and changing medication. Sometimes, examinations or procedures, like a vasectomy, can cause blood in semen.

  • How can I get rid of blood in semen?

    Blood in semen can be a harmless condition that can disappear with time. If it is caused by a bacterial infection like an STI or UTI, antibiotics can clear the infection, while painkillers and drinking fluids can help with discomfort. If blood in semen is a result of an enlarged prostate, medication and lifestyle changes can help decrease the prostate's size so that it no longer blocks the urethra.

  • What does blood in semen look like? Are there other symptoms to be concerned about?

    Blood in semen can be pink, red, or brown. If there is an infection that's causing blood in semen, symptoms could also include pain when urinating or ejaculating and swelling or tenderness in the genitals. Prostate issues, like enlargement of the prostate, could cause low-back pain or trouble with bowel movements, along with blood in semen.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. MedlinePlus. Blood in the semen.

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  6. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

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By Neha Kashyap
Neha is a New York-based health journalist who has written for WebMD, ADDitude, HuffPost Life, and dailyRx News. Neha enjoys writing about mental health, elder care, innovative health care technologies, paying for health care, and simple measures that we all can take to work toward better health.