Semen is typically whitish-gray with a jelly-like texture, but it can fluctuate with different lifestyle changes. Unless you’re experiencing other symptoms, temporary changes in the color of your semen usually aren’t a cause for concern.
Your semen is made up of a variety of minerals, proteins, hormones, and enzymes. They all contribute to the color and texture of your ejaculate.
The substances in semen primarily come from the seminal vesicles, two glands located behind the bladder. The prostate gland contributes to semen as well.
Specific substances in semen include:
- amino acids
- citric acid
- acid phosphatase
Sometimes these conditions can be ruled out based on your individual circumstances.
A sexually transmitted infection (STI), for example, can generally be eliminated if you’ve never engaged in partnered sexual contact.
The chart below is a good a starting point, but it isn’t a substitute for medical advice.
|Yellow-green semen||Pinkish-red semen||Orange-brown semen||Black semen|
|High blood pressure||X|
|Prostate biopsy or surgery||X||X|
|Prostate or testicular cancer||X||X|
|Sexually transmitted infection||X||X|
|Spinal cord injury||X||X|
Clear, white, or slightly gray semen is usually considered healthy.
A blockage can keep urine from completely leaving your urethra — the tube that drains urine out of your bladder — when you pee. This is known as urinary retention.
Semen passing through the urethra can get mixed together with trapped or leftover urine, giving your semen a yellowish tint. This is most common if you ejaculate shortly after you pee.
Some causes may require medical attention, including:
Prostate infection (prostatitis)
Yellow semen can be caused by a prostate infection. This can happen when bacteria from your urinary tract gets into your prostate gland.
Other symptoms may include:
- difficulty peeing
- pain when peeing
- feeling the need to pee often
- lower abdominal pain
- pain in your lower back
- pain during ejaculation
- fever or chills
Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect prostatitis.
Leukocytospermia happens when too many white blood cells (leukocytes) are present in your semen. This can tint your semen yellow.
Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect leukocytospermia. Some causes, like certain STIs, can result in infertility if left untreated.
Jaundice happens when too much bilirubin builds up in your body. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment left behind when your liver breaks down red blood cells.
The most common symptom is yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes, but it can turn your semen yellow, too. Your urine may also become darker than usual.
Other symptoms of jaundice include chills, fever, and abdominal pain.
Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect jaundice.
A pink or red tinge is usually a symptom of fresh blood. A brownish or orange tinge is typically a symptom of older bloodshed. Blood may turn this color after it has been exposed to oxygen.
Bloody semen is known as hematospermia.
Infection, including STIs and prostatitis
Other STI symptoms can include:
- pain or burning while peeing
- pain or swelling in your testicles
- itchy, irritating, or painful rash
Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect an underlying infection. Certain STIs can result in infertility if left untreated.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
High blood pressure can sometimes cause blood to appear in your semen, especially if the condition isn’t being treated.
Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect hypertension.
Prostate biopsy or surgery
A biopsy involves taking a tissue sample from your prostate gland.
The procedure may introduce blood into your urinary tract or ejaculatory ducts, where it can mix with your semen and cause it to turn reddish, pinkish, or brownish.
Consult your physician if you have questions or concerns following a prostate procedure.
Prostate or testicular cancer
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential, so consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns.
Black semen is
Spinal cord injuries
Injuries to your spinal cord may result in dark brown- or black-colored semen.
Although the exact reason is unknown,
If you haven’t already, consult a healthcare professional about your injury. They can assess whether it’s causing certain symptoms or if they’re the result of another underlying condition.
Consult a healthcare professional if you think you’ve been exposed.
Healthy semen is typically viscous, or jelly-like. You may experience slight variances in texture depending on:
Unless you’re experiencing other unusual symptoms, a temporary change in texture usually isn’t cause for concern.
Thick or chunky semen
Very thick semen can result in infertility because it prevents the sperm from moving effectively toward the egg.
Thin or watery semen
Watery semen may be a symptom of vitamin deficiency or infertility.
The semen may look
Consult a healthcare professional if you’re concerned about STIs or if your semen is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- burning during urination
- difficulty or complete inability to urinate
- heat, heaviness, or swelling around your genital area
- rash or irritation on your penis or scrotum
- discharge that isn’t pre-ejaculate or ejaculate
- strong, foul genital odor
What’s the difference between semen and sperm?
This fluid often contains sperm, which are tiny reproductive cells that are invisible to the naked eye. Sperm are responsible for fertilization.
What semen color and texture is healthy?
Clear, milky white, and cloudy gray semen that has a jelly-like texture is typically considered healthy.
But a range of shades, textures, and amounts are considered typical. Natural fluctuations in your overall health can cause temporary changes in color or texture.
What semen color and texture is unhealthy?
If your semen is a different color than usual, take a few moments to scan your body for other changes.
Semen that’s tinged with yellow, green, pink, red, orange, or brown isn’t ideal, but it may not be cause for concern unless it’s accompanied by other unusual symptoms.
Genital soreness, itching, or burning could point to an underlying infection or other condition. When it comes to consistency, semen that’s thicker than usual could be a sign of dehydration.
Your semen may show slight color changes throughout your life, even when you’re in good health.
If your semen changes significantly in color, consistency, amount, or smell, consult a healthcare professional. Likewise, if your ejaculate is accompanied by an itch or pelvic pain, it’s time to consult a clinician.