What is retrograde ejaculation?Retrograde ejaculation is a rarer type of ejaculation problem. It happens when semen travels backwards into the bladder instead of through the urethra (the tube that urine passes through).

When is retrograde ejaculation suspected?It is suspected when there is a very low amount of semen produced and/or failure to produce any semen after orgasm.

The main symptoms of retrograde ejaculation include producing no semen, or only a small amount, during ejaculation and producing cloudy urine (because of the semen in it) when you first go to the toilet after having sex.

What are the main causes of retrograde ejaculation?This can be caused by prostate, bladder or pelvic surgery, nerve damage, a genetic condition or spinal cord damage or long standing diabetes, multiple sclerosis and medicine such as alpha blocker. This abnormality causes semen to enter the bladder instead of being ejaculated via the penis.

How do we check for retrograde ejaculation?To determine if sperm have entered your bladder we have to retrieve them from the urine immediately after masturbating to orgasm.

The Retrograde Test: Before your appointment you will be required to take 2 soda mint tablets or 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate dissolved in water 3 times, the day before your test. Also, take 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate an hour before your appointment. This will reduce the acidity in your bladder and allow any sperm to live so we can see if they are moving.

At your appointment you will be asked to;

  • Empty your bladder • Drink some water • Masturbate to orgasm and collect the sample if any sample is produced in the first semen collection pot provided. • After ejaculation empty your bladder and collect the urine sample in the 2nd semen collection pot provided. The two samples will be assessed for sperm.

Sperm obtained can be used for Intra Uterine Insemination or IVF / ICSI.

Men with retrograde ejaculation still experience the feeling of an orgasm and the condition does not pose a danger to health. However, it can affect the ability to father a child.

Why does retrograde ejaculation happen?Retrograde ejaculation is caused by damage to the nerves or muscles that surround the neck of the bladder (the point where the urethra connects to the bladder).

Usually when you ejaculate, semen is pushed out of your urethra. It is prevented from entering your bladder by the muscles around the neck of the bladder, which close tightly at the moment of orgasm.

However, damage to the surrounding muscles or nerves can stop the bladder neck closing, causing the semen to move into the bladder rather than up through the urethra.

What are the treatment options for retrograde ejaculation?                                          Most men do not need treatment for retrograde ejaculation because they are still able to enjoy a healthy sex life and the condition does not have adverse effects on their health.

But if treatment is required (usually because of wanting to father a child), there are options to try.

Medical Treatment: Pseudoephedrine has proved effective in treating retrograde ejaculation caused by diabetes or surgery.

If retrograde ejaculation is caused by using a certain medicine, then normal ejaculation will usually return once medicine is stopped.

However, if the retrograde ejaculation has been caused by significant muscle or nerve damage, treatment may not be possible.

Men who want to have children can have sperm taken from their urine for use in artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).


How important is involving your partner?                                                                                 If you are having problems with your sex life and are seeking treatment, it is usually recommended you involve your partner as much as possible.Communicating your concerns can often go a long way to helping to resolve them.

In some cases, your partner may also have their own problems that are contributing towards problems with your sex life.