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Urology/Clear fluid resulting every time from ejaculation.

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Question
I am in my mid-thirties, and my ejaculate has been clear and rather thin since the onset of puberty.  My girlfriend is the one who brought the irregularity of this to my attention.  Not to be vulgar, but she also says my ejaculate tastes sweet and nothing like the rather bitter, whitish, and viscous textured ejaculate of other men.  She suggested that perhaps this is indicative of a low or possibly even non-existent sperm count.  To give you further information, I almost never masterbate and do not ejaculate excessively.  I do drink alcohol on occasion, as well as soda and coffee, and I also smoke.  (Of course I make a point of drinking several glasses of water a day, as well, as AZ is a rather dry and hot state, to make an understatement.)  I eat balanced meals as often as possible, prdominently including fish, poultry, steak, vegetables, rice and pasta as well as the occasional breakfast of cheese and eggs, or oatmeal with fruit and milk.  If I splurge on snacks, they tend to be of the salty variety, such as chips, or beef jerky, although this occurs only two or three times a month.  I probably ingest a little more sugar than some, but the majority of my intake is likely in my coffee; though I do enjoy ice cream, or cookies a few times a month.  Aside from this, I unfortunately do not get much excersize aside from walking, as I work from home.  But fortunately I have been granted an extremely high metabolism that has not yet shown signs of slowing in the slightest, and hopefully never really will.   As a result, I weigh just shy of 150 lbs. and am six feet tall.  Also, my blood pressure is within normal limits, and though I have not officially had my cholesterol tested, I feel confident that it also average.  Lastly, I live in Tucson, Arizona, and avoid being exposed to the direct sunlight as much as possible.
Can you please give me your opinion on what this might indicate?  Is my girlfriend's hunch correct, or could there be something else going on which we have not yet considered?
I thank you in advance for your time and help.

Answer
Aaron, before answering your question, let me give you some understanding of how semen is produced.   During sexual arousal the prostate gland manufactures fluid that accounts for about 2/3 of the volume of ejaculate.  The seminal vesicles are paired structures located behind the prostate gland that also manufacture fluid.  Sperm from the testicles (which account for only 1-2% of the semen) travel up a series of tubes (epididymis and vas deferens) on each side to join the seminal vesicles forming the paired ejaculatory ducts.  These structures empty into the prostatic portion of the urethra.  At the time of ejaculation, fluid is discharged from the prostate gland and ejaculatory ducts into the urethra (urinary canal) forming the semen.  The normal semen volume is in the 2-6 cc range.  In addition to this, with the onset of sexual excitement, specialized glands in the urethra called Cowper glands, produce a clear, somewhat sticky fluid to lubricate the urethra. this is called this pre-ejaculate (precum).  

Semen can be bitter, salty or sweet.  The tastes can are be  influenced by many factors including our dietary habits.  Note that the fluid produced by the seminal vesicles (about  one third of the semen volume) is very high in fructose.  Fructose is a very sweet sugar.  In the semen, itís job is to provide nutrients for the sperm on their long journey.  Men who eat large amounts of fruit, especially those high in fructose such as pineapples and apples are likely to have sweeter semen.  I can find no reference to taste being more common in diabetics but I suspect this is also possible.  Sweet semen is not related to oneís sperm count.

Bitter semen can be due to traces of urine, a high fat diet, or alcohol imbibing.  It is also more common in smokers.

Salty semen is also influenced by certain dietary fats, the amount of protein in the semen (both dietary and the sperm themselves), the salt intake of the individual and the state of hydration.   

Incidentally, clear, thin semen is fairly common and not in itself indicative of any disorder.  Good luck.

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Arthur Goldstein, M.D.

Expertise

Problems or questions related to the field of urology; ie urinary stone disease, urinary cancers (kidney, bladder, prostate, testis, etc.), urinary infections, etc. I no longer answer questions related to erection problems or male sexual dysfunction.

Experience

I am retired from the active practice of urology. My 34 years was totally in the clinical field and involved the entire gamut of genitourinary problems, with special interest in endourology.

Organizations
American Medical Association, American Urological Association, American College of Surgeons

Education/Credentials
College degree - BS Medical degree - MD Master of Science - MS

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