What is Retrograde Ejaculation? Everything You Need to Know

What is Retrograde Ejaculation? Everything You Need to Know

Certain conditions, like retrograde ejaculation, may interfere with the ability to have a healthy sex life. This guide explains what you need to know about retrograde ejaculation.

Ejaculatory dysfunction is common, but sometimes goes unrecognized if people are hesitant to discuss this subject. It’s nothing to be uncomfortable about—the first step in managing it is learning more about it and what to do for it.

What is Retrograde Ejaculation?

Ejaculation means ejecting semen through the urethra out of the tip of the penis. Under ideal circumstances, a tiny muscle (sphincter) shuts the opening of the bladder so that sperm doesn’t flow backward into it. If this sphincter isn’t able to do keep the bladder closed, semen and sperm travel into the urine. This is called retrograde ejaculation.

Retrograde ejaculation reduces the amount of semen and sperm that exits the penis, so it may have an impact on both sexual satisfaction and fertility.


There are several reasons that this retrograde ejaculation may occur, including:

  • Surgery on the prostate or bladder
  • Underlying medical conditions like diabetes
  • Medications used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (alpha-blockers) and antidepressants
  • Nerve conditions like multiple sclerosis
  • Injuries to the spinal cord
  • Congenital conditions (conditions you’re born with) like posterior urethral valves


Signs and symptoms of retrograde ejaculation include:

  • Decreased or absent semen during orgasm
  • Cloudy urine after orgasm (from semen in the bladder)
  • Decreased sperm in the ejaculate
  • Difficulty conceiving or infertility


A healthcare professional can diagnose retrograde ejaculation. They may recommend a semen analysis to check semen volume and sperm count as well as a urine test (urinalysis) to look for sperm in the urine.


Treatment of retrograde ejaculation depends on the cause. For example, treating underlying conditions like diabetes can improve symptoms. If the cause is a nerve or muscle disease, specific medications (sympathomimetics and antimuscarinics) can improve the bladder’s muscle tone to keep sperm from entering the bladder. If you’re taking a medication that’s causing the symptoms, your healthcare provider may be able to recommend other options.

If fertility is a concern, there are several types of assisted reproductive technologies that can make it possible to conceive, like ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) with IVF (in vitro fertilization).

Healthier Sex Life

Retrograde ejaculation can be incredibly frustrating for those who are attempting to conceive. If you have symptoms of retrograde ejaculation, you talk to your doctor about how to proceed.