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Blood in Semen (Hematospermia)

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Causes of Blood in the Semen continued...

Obstruction. Any of the tiny tubes or ducts in the reproductive tract can be blocked. This can cause blood vessels to break and release small amounts of blood. The condition called BPH, which causes the prostate to become enlarged and pinch the urethra, is also linked to blood in semen.

Tumors and Polyps. One review of over 900 patients with blood in semen found only 3.5% actually had a tumor. Most of these tumors were in the prostate. Blood in semen, though, can be linked to cancer of the testicles, bladder, and other reproductive and urinary tract organs. Men -- especially older men -- with risk factors for cancer should be evaluated if they have blood in their semen. Untreated cancer is a life-threatening disease.

Polyps in the reproductive tract, which are benign growths that don't cause any medical problem, can also cause blood in semen.

Blood vessel problems. All of the delicate structures involved in ejaculation, from the prostate to the tiny tubes that carry sperm, contain blood vessels. These can be damaged resulting in blood in the semen.      

Other medical conditions. High blood pressure, HIV, liver disease, leukemia, and other medical conditions are also associated with blood in semen.

As many as 15% of cases of blood in semen can't be traced to a known cause. Many of these cases are also self-limiting. That means that the blood in the semen goes away by itself without medical treatment.

Related Symptoms

When looking for an underlying cause of blood in the semen, the doctor will ask about any related symptoms, including:

  • Blood in the urine (called hematuria)
  • Hot, burning urination or other symptoms of painful urination
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder completely
  • A painful bladder that feels distended
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Swollen or painful areas on the sex organs or obvious scrapes from injury
  • Penis discharge or other signs of an STD
  • Fever, racing pulse, and higher-than-normal blood pressure
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