Retrograde Ejaculation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

It is natural to feel overwhelmed as a male when your ejaculation is insufficient. The idea that something might be wrong with you is more than enough to make you lose self-confidence. Don’t be alarmed at the first thought of retrograde ejaculation because it is very much treatable.

If you assume a diagnosis, getting it tested before putting your energy into treating it is recommended. There might be another reason for the way you feel. To clear up the matter of retrograde ejaculation, read the article for a clear picture.

Table of contents:

What is retrograde ejaculation?

What Retrograde Ejaculation Feels Like?

Simply put, the symptoms of retrograde ejaculation are either a very small amount of ejaculant or a dry orgasm. Suffering from retrograde ejaculation does not mean there won’t be an orgasm as you reach climax, but the orgasm will either be a minute or a completely dry orgasm.

Retrograde ejaculation symptoms may feel like you have a urinary infection because of cloudy and thick urine, but that is because the semen is withheld in the bladder and may contribute to the cloudy urine. While healthy males may also face problems with male infertility. To sum it up, if you have or are assumed to have retrograde ejaculation, here are the symptoms you will have;

  1. A small amount of semen on ejaculation.
  2. Dry orgasm/ small amount of ejaculant.
  3. Cloudy urine.
  4. Male infertility.

If your symptoms coincide with the ones mentioned above, it is better to visit your physician and get checked.

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Treatment options for retrograde ejaculation

Retrograde Ejaculation does not cause Dry Orgasms

It is understood that when a male suffering from retrograde ejaculation reaches the climax, there is either very little amount of semen ejaculated or none at all. The semen is being withheld in the bladder due to a faulty bladder sphincter. When no semen or fluid comes out of the penis after orgasm that is called a dry orgasm.

To understand these two somewhat related conditions, it is important to understand that retrograde means going against the flow, which is up due to the sphincter not constricting. While in some cases, a small percentage of fluid is ejaculated from the penis at the end of an orgasm. But sometimes, no fluid comes out of the penis because all of the fluid goes up the bladder, and the urethra has nothing to push through. This is known as a dry orgasm.

On the contrary Dry orgasm is not the same as retrograde ejaculation, and neither does retrograde ejaculation cause dry orgasms. A single underlying disorder or disease could cause the two symptoms. Males experiencing any of these can be frustrated or anxious about the extent of the disease, but it does not mean there is no cure.

The Male Anatomy

Retrograde Ejaculation is not a harmful condition, but the underlying disease that causes it can be harmful and needs treatment. When understanding the causes of retrograde ejaculation, the male anatomy should be kept in mind to better understand where the problem actually lies.

Starting from the Testis, which is the semen-producing gland. Ejaculation at the end of an orgasm contains only 5% of semen, while there is 75% seminal fluid and 25% Prostate gland fluid. The Testis is attached to a small canal called the vas deferens, and the part directly in contact with the testis is known as the epididymis. The vas deferens loops around in the body cavity and joins the urethra below the bladder and Prostate gland. Here at the junction of the prostate, bladder, and urethra, the sphincter at the bladder constricts, moving the ejaculate toward the penis.

Normally when a male ejaculates, the semen, along with other fluids, passes into the urethra and is ejaculated through the penis. While males suffering from RE will have the same mechanism; as the semen travels via the vas deferens and reaches the urethra, it is sucked into the bladder because the sphincter of the bladder does not constrict as it should normally have.

So when we ask or think what are the causes of retrograde ejaculation, we are asking what are the causes of this bladder sphincter not constricting. The issue is not with the production of semen here but the anatomy of the male reproductive system.

Symptoms of retrograde ejaculation

How to know For sure you have Retrograde Ejaculation?

Men are curious about their semen and get apprehensive if pointed out negatively. That is how nature intended, and retrograde ejaculation hits the manhood very wrongly. If a male suspects this condition and has all three symptoms of retrograde ejaculation. It is advised to visit a doctor or your physician. It is better to be diagnosed than just be caught in assumptions and home remedies that may never work.

If you decide to get yourself diagnosed, the examinations and tests are not too complicated and do not hurt. The doctor will examine your penis, testis, and rectum to check for any scars or rashes that could cause your symptoms. Proceeding with the examination, your doctor will take a history which will include your medical history, any medications you might be taking, and how long you have been experiencing these symptoms. If all these questions raise a flag in the eyes of the doctor, you will be asked to provide a urine sample.

The sample will be provided in the doctor’s office, where you will be asked to empty your bladder once and then asked to masturbate so you reach a climax. Once you have achieved a successful orgasm, the doctor will ask for your urine sample in a sample cup. If you indeed suffer from retrograde ejaculation, your sperm count will be higher in the urine. This is the first step towards treatment and leading a normal life.

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Myths about retrograde ejaculation

What could have caused Retrograde Ejaculation?

Retrograde ejaculation is not an illness that can go away by taking a pill or getting a shot. This is a condition caused by an underlying disease. Once your doctor diagnoses the condition, the causes of retrograde ejaculation can be determined accordingly, and then your retrograde ejaculation treatment can take place.

Here are a few known causes of retrograde ejaculation

The condition is caused by nerve damage or other factors leading to nerve weakness because it is the sphincter that is being affected; the smooth muscle sphincter stops constricting, and it could be due to many reasons.

  1. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can later in life lead to nerve weakness.
  2. Pelvic or lower spinal surgeries can cause weakness or dysfunction of this internal urethral sphincter.
  3. Medical conditions that cause nerve damage such as spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s’ disease, Multiple sclerosis, and, yes, diabetes type 1 and 2.
  4. Prostate surgery removes the gland completely.
  5. Cystectomy, which includes removing the bladder.
  6. Oncological surgeries and radiations can cause retrograde ejaculation as well.
  7. Enlarged prostate.
  8. High blood pressure.
  9. Diabetes.
  10. Side effects of medications that are given for depression, psychosis, and even in high blood pressure can lead to this condition.

Other than what causes retrograde ejaculation. There are other risk factors that may contribute to the dysfunction of the sphincter. Some of the risk factors are;

  1. Increased body BMI due to uncontrolled diabetes.
  2. Untreated multiple sclerosis.
  3. Infection of the prostate.
  4. Infection of the bladder.
  5. Drug abuse.
  6. Self-medication.
Causes of retrograde ejaculation

Will the symptoms ever go away?

In most cases where the damage is permanent such as in a spinal injury, cystectomy, or other pelvic surgeries, the symptoms may never go away. But if your retrograde ejaculation is due to any medication that you have been taking, switching to an alternate or leaving the medication altogether can stop the condition entirely. 

The symptoms are the same for all, but the spectrum of the condition can incline towards severe or mild side depending on the level of the nerve damage and the causes of retrograde ejaculation.

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Treatment Options for Retrograde Ejaculation

To a male experiencing something unlike anything normal is a panicking moment. But to seek treatments before even getting a professional opinion is not wise. It is totally understandable to want things to be normal and have normal orgasms like other men, but it needs to be understood that some conditions are not harmful to the body or to your health.

Retrograde ejaculation does not pose harm to your body in any way, and that is why a doctor’s consultation is important on such matters. Most men live long and happy lives without ever getting retrograde ejaculation treatment because it does not interfere with the feeling of orgasm or any fun that is associated with sex. But men who want to start a family and want to have kids seek different treatment options that can help impregnate their partners. The most common treatment options for men with their condition being on the milder side are;

  1. Antidepressants such as Imipramine.
  2. High blood pressure drugs such as Midodrine.
  3. Anti-histamines and allergy relievers such as Chlorpheniramine and brompheniramine.
  4. Common drugs for flu and cold can also contribute to the treatment, such as ephedrine, phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine.

These medicines help keep the urethral sphincter constricted during ejaculation and have proven to make a difference. This may not lead to fertility, but it can boost your confidence by the amount of fluid ejaculated

Always check with you doctor before starting or stopping any medicine

In cases of men who are on specific drugs that can lead to retrograde ejaculation should consult their doctors and help switch to alternative medicine. Usually, your doctors will adjust your dose or help you overcome the condition by adding another medicine. Therefore never stop taking the medicine but rather get a professional consultation. A change of medicine or completion of the medicine dose can alleviate the symptoms of retrograde ejaculation as well.

One of the most effective treatments for retrograde ejaculation is assisted fertility by fertility specialists. This is preferred because retrograde ejaculation treatment usually involves prostate surgery or other invasive procedures which can have an adverse effect on the person’s health.

Therefore it is better to avoid surgery for a condition that does not harm your health. This treatment or assisted fertility option is for men who want to have kids. Usually, couples have to go through counselling to understand the process and its effectiveness as an alternative to any invasive procedure.

What is a dry orgasm?


Retrograde ejaculation is a condition that affects men mainly in the amount of ejaculation fluid. It is not harmful in any way to the health or the body of the man. It is a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed on time. While this condition does not interfere with how a man feels during or after sex, it does not require invasive treatments.