Blood in Semen

Haematospermia is a condition that refers to the presence of visible blood in ejaculate (semen); it can range from completely red to blood-tinged. This is different from blood seen when passing urine (referred to as haematuria).

Although alarming, the most common causes are due to low-grade infection or inflammation. It is also commonly seen following urological procedures such as prostate biopsy, vasectomy and radiotherapy. A large proportion of patients will not have an obvious cause identified. Reassuringly, symptoms will frequently resolve on their own requiring no need for specific medical or surgical treatment.

We would like to thank Mr Michael Ng, who has helped produce the information in this section for The Urology Foundation.

Learn more about Blood in Semen

Blood in Semen symptoms

Haematospermia/blood in semen refers to visible blood in ejaculate (semen); this can range from completely red to blood-tinged appearances.
In addition to the above, symptoms may also include:

  • Pain or a burning/stinging sensation on passing urine
    Increased frequency of urination
    General unwell (tiredness/lethargy)
    Altered urinary stream or habit

Blood in Semen diagnosis

Contact your GP for review

If you notice blood in your semen you should arrange to be seen by your GP. They will ask some further questions about your symptoms, medical history and examine you (genital and groin/abdominal area).
It is important you let your doctor know about any recent procedures or foreign travel, as this may be relevant to the cause of your symptoms.

Your GP may then arrange further tests such as a urine sample and blood tests to check for infection. Depending on the results of these tests you may go on to have further imaging investigations or referral to a specialist.

In older men (over 50 years of age), blood in the semen may be an early sign of prostate problems. Your GP may therefore arrange further relevant tests such as a PSA blood test and urological referral if necessary.

Despite this, low-grade infection and related procedures remain a much more common cause.

Your GP may refer you to a urologist if:

  • Your prostate feels abnormal or PSA blood test is abnormal
    You have an abnormal feeling testicle
    You are found to have blood in the urine
    You have blood in the semen that persists despite treatment

Blood in Semen treatment

Blood in the semen will often settle down on its own. It is most commonly caused by a low-grade infection or inflammation of the area around the prostate (seminal tract).
Your GP may provide you with a course of antibiotics if infection is identified or suspected.

If you have recently had a related procedure, symptoms can last for up to 3-4 weeks following a prostate biopsy and for a week or more following recent vasectomy. In these cases symptoms often self-resolve without any need for specific treatment.


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