Premature ejaculation is fairly common and most men have heard about it. But did you know that there’s another type of ejaculatory sexual dysfunction that’s quite rare? Retrograde ejaculation is a condition wherein the semen, instead of flowing out of the penis during orgasm, actually goes back to the bladder. Thus, it is also called dry orgasm. Here are thirteen things you should know about this rare ejaculatory condition.
Retrograde ejaculation accounts for only 2% of infertility in men.
Although it affects only a handful of men, the condition is still frustrating and distressing, especially when the couple is trying to conceive. Since the semen does not even flow out of the penis during ejaculation, no sperm is being transferred to the partner, thus there is absolutely no chance of impregnating the partner.
Retrograde ejaculation may be caused by one of three factors.
The condition can either be due to pharmacological, neurogenic, or anatomic causes, or a combination of these. Hence, the condition may be acquired or developed.
Medication can cause retrograde ejaculation.
When the cause of retrograde ejaculation is pharmacological, the condition may be reversed when the medication is stopped. Medication that can cause this unfortunate side effect include certain drugs used to treat prostate enlargement and hypertension. There are also anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs that can cause retrograde ejaculation.
Problems with the nervous system can cause retrograde ejaculation.
Ejaculation is a complex process that involves both the central and parasympathetic nervous systems. For instance, the contraction of the muscles in the urethra, which is necessary for the flow of semen, is dictated by a reflex mediated by the central nervous system. The closure of the bladder neck or bladder sphincter, which is supposed to stop the semen from going into the bladder, is dictated by the parasympathetic nervous system. Thus, if there are any damages to the nervous system, such as when there is a spinal cord injury or the man has multiple sclerosis, these conditions may cause retrograde ejaculation.
Various surgeries may cause retrograde ejaculation.
The bladder neck muscle is the one that’s responsible for keeping your semen out of your bladder. It’s supposed to close properly so that your semen can flow from your prostate going into your urethra. However, if the bladder neck muscle doesn’t close properly, the semen can then go back into the bladder and not flow out of your penis anymore. This can be caused by surgeries such as bladder neck surgery or any surgery on the organs in your genital region may cause retrograde ejaculation. These include prostate or colon surgery, surgeries on the testicles, bladder, and rectum, as well as surgeries on the lower spine.
Cloudy urine is the most visible symptom.
If you urinate immediately after orgasm and notice that your urine is cloudy, it could be a sign of retrograde ejaculation. The cloudiness in your urine is caused by your semen mixing with your urine. Aside from cloudy urine, the only other visible symptom of retrograde ejaculation is having lesser volumes of semen.
Diagnosis requires urinalysis right after orgasm.
Doctors can analyze your urine sample to check if there is semen mixed with your urine. Another indication is when fructose is also present in your urine sample. Urinalysis can also help differentiate if you are just suffering from retrograde ejaculation or hypospermia, a condition wherein the semen volume is only less than 2 milliliters per ejaculation.
Retrograde ejaculation is not painful at all.
You might not actually notice it because when the semen goes into your bladder when you ejaculate, you won’t feel any pain. The condition is also considered as not harmful.
Orgasm may feel differently.
Most of the time, orgasm will still feel pleasurable. However, some men suffering from retrograde ejaculation may feel as if their orgasm is not as intense as how it used to be, or that it simply feels different. This may be because you no longer feel your semen flowing into your urethra and out of your penis.
Diabetes is a risk factor.
The problem with diabetes is that too much sugar in the blood wreaks havoc on your system. Exposure to high concentrations of blood sugar for a long time can result in damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs. Diabetes can also damage the muscles of the bladder, which, in turn, can cause retrograde ejaculation.
Treatments will vary.
Depending on the cause of retrograde ejaculation, the prescribed treatment will also differ. Normally, if the cause is pharmacological, the condition is temporary and will stop once medication is also stopped. If the cause of retrograde ejaculation is diabetes or a surgery, the condition may be reversed by taking prescription drugs like imipramine or pseudoephedrine. However, there are instances when medication will no longer work, and the condition can no longer be corrected. If the cause of retrograde ejaculation, however, is due to severe nerve damage, the condition is usually irreversible.
Treatment for retrograde ejaculation is necessary to restore fertility.
If you’re single and not planning to father a child anytime soon, you don’t need to feel pressured into getting treated for retrograde ejaculation. If, on the other hand, you and your partner are wanting to conceive, there are many procedures available. In cases of irreversible retrograde ejaculation, procedures may include sperm removal followed by in vitro fertilization or intrauterine fertilization.
Many cases of retrograde ejaculation can be prevented.
If you have diabetes, it can’t be emphasized enough that you need to take extra measures to maintain your blood sugar at normal levels. For added motivation, just think that your sex life is at risk if your blood sugar levels are too high. Not only does diabetes cause retrograde ejaculation, it can also cause erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels. On the other hand, if you need to have a surgery for your enlarged prostate, you can discuss less invasive procedures with your surgeon. And for any surgery near your genitals, make sure you discuss the risks with your doctor. Same goes for taking anti-psychotic or antidepressant medications.