Men have so many questions and misconceptions about semen and sperm. Some people also use semen and sperm interchangeably, but they are not the same. Semen refers to the entirety of your ejaculation, whereas sperm is a part or an ingredient in semen. Only 5% to 10% of a man's ejaculate is sperm. To achieve pregnancy, you must ejaculate enough semen that should contain enough sperm to fertilize an egg. Keep reading to learn how much semen is normal.
Semen Overview and Its Compositions
Semen is the milk-colored liquid you ejaculate during orgasm. Most men think semen is produced in the testicles, but that's not the case. This gel-like liquid is produced by your prostate gland which is the walnut-sized gland located right below your bladder and by two small glands called the seminal vesicles.
Semen contains nutrients to keep your sperm alive even after ejaculation. It also provides your sperm some protection from the chemical environment of the vagina. Semen also contains special enzymes that help it liquefy about 15 minutes after ejaculation.
How Much Semen Is Normal in an Ejaculation?
Men have different questions about semen, and one of the most common questions is "How much seem is normal?" The World Health Organization has developed parameters to describe the volume of semen. The normal volume of semen expelled in one ejaculation is about a teaspoon, about 3.7 ml, but you're still considered normal if your semen volume per ejaculation is less than 3.7 ml but more than 1.5 ml.
What Does It Means If I Have a Low Semen Volume?
When you have a low semen volume, which is less than 1.5 ml in an ejaculation, it means your sperm count is low as well. With a low sperm count, you may have trouble getting your partner pregnant. Here's a bit more about how much semen is normal and when it calls for further evaluation.
When It's Normal
Your erection will become less rigid as you grow old. Similarly, your ejaculation volume will come down with age. It is normal to notice a gradual decrease in the volume of your semen over the last 5-10 years because it indicates age-related decline. Some men notice this change early in their life, usually in their 20s and 30s, while others don't notice it until they become quite old. You may need to worry if you notice a sudden decrease in the volume of your semen.
When It's Abnormal
Quite a few underlying conditions can lead to a low ejaculation volume. For instance:
- Hypogonadism: You develop this condition when your testosterone levels deplete due to many different reasons. The condition will make your erection less hard and decrease the volume of your semen. If you've developed hypogonadism, you may also notice symptoms, such as weakness, fatigue and trouble concentrating.
- Diabetes: You may notice the volume of your semen come down due to diabetes. When your blood sugar isn't under control, it will affect your nerves and blood vessels, which will make it difficult for the nerve signals to reach your brain and cause an erection. This sometimes results in erectile dysfunction and even reduces your ejaculation volume. If you have diabetes, your ejaculation volume may decrease because your semen moves back into your bladder and doesn’t come out of the tip of your penis. It's called retrograde ejaculation.
- Neurological problems: The volume of your semen may come down due to a number of neurological problems, such as spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis.
- Enlarged prostate is another underlying cause of low semen volume.
- Medical causes: Your semen volume may change if you've had an abdominal surgery or are taking alpha-blockers to treat high blood pressure.
You need to understand that certain low semen volume isn't always a cause of concern, but you may want to talk to your doctor if your semen levels worry you.
How to Know If Your Semen Is Healthy or Not?
It is common for men to ask how much semen is normal, but they also want to know ways to tell if their semen is healthy or not. Here are some standards that you may use to find out the answer.
- The volume of your semen should be about 2-6 ml because anything less than that won't contain enough sperm.
- Your semen should be thick as well and dilute only at least 10-15 minutes of ejaculation. Semen that stays thick for longer may hamper the movement of sperm.
- Sperm density or sperm concentration refers to the number of sperm in per milliliter of semen - the number could be in millions. You're normal if you have more than 20 million sperms in per milliliter of semen.
- Sperm motility is also important and it refers to the movement of sperm. You're considered normal if 50% of your sperm is moving in a straight line even an hour after ejaculation.
- In addition, you can also analyze sperm shape, size and appearance to identify any defects. Your doctor may also ask for semen analysis after you've undergone vasectomy.
Check out the following video to learn what to do when you get an abnormal result from your semen analysis: