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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

Retrograde Ejaculation: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

  • Published on August 09, 2022
Retrograde Ejaculation: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

During sexual intercourse, as a male approaches the climax of an orgasm, he ejaculates through the penis. However, in some men, instead of existing through the penis, the semen enters the bladder and exits the body in the urine.

While a person experiencing retrograde ejaculation can climax and achieve an orgasm, very little to no semen emerges from the penis.

This is the reason it is sometimes referred to as a dry orgasm. While it is not harmful, this outcome can result in male infertility. This condition is known as retrograde ejaculation.

Retrograde Ejaculation Causes

During sexual intercourse, as the male partner approaches orgasm, the sperm is transported via a long muscular tube-like structure known as the sperm duct into the prostate. This is where the seminal fluid mixes with the sperm to create semen.

For ejaculation to occur, the semen must travel from the prostrate into the tube inside the penis, through which it exits. However, this is only possible if the muscle located at the neck of the bladder tightens. If not, the semen enters the bladder and exits through the urine. This is the same muscle that helps us hold urine in until we proceed to urinate.

Retrograde ejaculation means when the muscle at the neck of the bladder does not tighten. This leads the sperm to enter the bladder, which is an anomaly.

A number of events can trigger the malfunctioning of this muscle:

  • Surgeries such as surgery of the bladder neck, surgery to prevent testicular cancer, or surgeries connected to the prostate
  • It can result as a side effect when we take medication to help stabilize blood pressure, handle depression, and enlargement of the prostate
  • Certain conditions, such one being diabetic, having multiple sclerosis or living with Parkinson’s, lead to the physical weakening of the bladder neck muscle
  • When the prostrate or bladder is involved in the surgery. For example, the prostrate is removed.
  • Radiation therapy used to treat cancer developing in the pelvic region

Retrograde Ejaculation Symptoms

It’s important to note that those who experience retrograde ejaculation can successfully achieve an erection and reach climax during an orgasm. However, the semen does not exit through the penis. It enters the bladder instead and leaves the body during the process of urination, soon after sexual intercourse.

There is no physical pain or discomfort associated with this process.

Here are some retrograde ejaculation symptoms to look out for:

  • During orgasm, a small amount of semen may come out of the penis. Sometimes no semen exits through the penis.
  • Since semen enters the bladder, the urine tends to have a cloudy consistency
  • It can result in male infertility since the semen does not enter the vagina of the partner during sexual intercourse.

Retrograde Ejaculation Treatment

Since retrograde ejaculation does not have any harmful effects, there is no need for treatment until one is trying to conceive.

In this case, it is best to approach a fertility specialist and get a diagnosis of the causes of retrograde ejaculation. Once your doctors have identified the root cause, they can suggest a suitable course of action to increase changes in conception.

This can include:

  • Recommending medications that help fix retrograde ejaculation, which has resulted from nerve damage due to conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. They can help to keep the bladder muscle closed during ejaculation.
  • If retrograde ejaculation is caused due to existing drugs being taken by you, then your doctor may recommend pausing them some time and suggesting an alternative course of action.
  • Your fertility specialist may also recommend reproductive assistive technology to support you and your partner in your fertility goals. Ensure that you go to a credible medical care provider who is an expert.

Retrograde Ejaculation and Male infertility

Since the number of sperm exiting through the penis and entering the vagina is reduced, retrograde ejaculation can reduce the chances of pregnancy.

In this case, your fertility specialist may recommend methods like intrauterine insemination or In Vitro Fertilization to assist reproduction. In this case, sperm specimens will be collected at the time of ejaculation, as well as through urine collection immediately after.

The sperm collected from urine will be separated and put through a special sperm wash, which involves removing the dead sperm and debris present in the urine.

Your fertility health provider will then prepare the sperm sample to be used during assistive reproductive procedures.

Side effects

Retrograde ejaculation and male infertility

Depending on the type of medication used, retrograde ejaculation treatment can sometimes lead to dizziness, headache, asthenia, postural hypotension, rhinitis, and sexual dysfunction.

Hence, it is extremely important to visit a fertility specialist for a holistic, safe solution.


Retrograde ejaculation physically blocks the natural fertilization process. However, this does not have to block your fertility goals. You should visit a credible fertility specialist who can diagnose the cause correctly and suggest a holistic treatment approach.

To know more about fertility solutions in the case of retrograde ejaculation, visit Birla Fertility and IVF Clinic, or book an appointment with Dr. Rachita Munjal.


  • What does retrograde ejaculation feel like?

When males reach orgasm, semen exits through the penis. However, when the semen enters the bladder instead of the prostrate, it results in retrograde ejaculation, meaning that the semen exits through the urine. However, it feels like a normal orgasm when the climax has been achieved.

  • What can cause retrograde ejaculation?

Malfunctioning of the muscle at the top of the bladder, which is supposed to tighten but instead remains loose, leads to retrograde ejaculation.

  • How do you fix retrograde ejaculation?

Your medical care provider will first identify the causes of retrograde ejaculation and then recommend medication to help to tighten the muscle on top of the bladder. They may also recommend fertility treatments to aid your fertility goals.

  • Can retrograde ejaculation heal itself?

Retrograde ejaculation can’t heal itself. If infertility is a concern, one can seek the support of a fertility specialist to aid in the process.

  • Is retrograde ejaculation serious?

By itself, it is not serious and does not cause any health risks. But it can stand in the way of successfully getting one’s partner pregnant.

  • How many times should a man ejaculate in a week?

The body produces millions of sperms every day. However, there is no fixed guideline for how many times a man must ejaculate in a week. However, regular ejaculation is known to have health benefits. Lack of ejaculation does not have to pose any adverse effects, except for the inability to conceive.

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