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What Are the Common Causes of Gel in Semen?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 22 April 2014
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Gel-like substances in a man’s semen are rarely the sign of a serious health problem. The most common causes of gel in semen are dehydration, diet and low testosterone. Thick semen is cause for concern only when accompanied by other symptoms, such as blood or painful ejaculation. Men who are experiencing a combination of symptoms might be suffering from a prostate infection, an overabundance of antibodies in the sperm or an infection of the epidytimis.

When a man says that there is gel in his semen, he usually is referring to one of two things. He may have noticed small, gel-like clumps in his semen or be noticing that his semen is thicker than normal. Neither of these things necessarily mean that a man has unhealthy semen.

Clumps in semen are usually caused by dehydration, but may also be caused by a change in diet. It is completely normal for the semen to vary in consistency and color from time to time. If a man is consuming more protein than usual, his semen may appear thicker. Even stress can cause the consistency of a man’s semen to change.

Infrequent ejaculation can also cause the semen to appear lumpy. If a man ejaculates infrequently, protein might begin to coagulate inside his testicles. Many men compare the consistency of this type of gel in semen to tapioca pudding.

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Thick or lumpy semen also might be because of the man’s hormone levels. Men who have very low testosterone might notice that their semen is fairly gelatinous. If low testosterone is to blame, the appearance of gel in semen might be accompanied by fatigue, irritability and decreased libido. Men should consult their physician if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks.

A rare — but possible — cause of gel in semen is an overabundance of antibodies in the sperm, which is known as sperm agglutination. Sperm agglutination is caused by a man’s body recognizing his sperm as a foreign substance. To rid the body of this substance, the immune system releases antibodies to cling to and fight the sperm. This condition is so rare that it usually is diagnosed only when a man is tested for infertility.

If the semen has become so thick that it is difficult or uncomfortable to ejaculate, an infection might be to blame. Prostate infections will frequently affect the color and consistency of semen. Epidytimis, which refers to swelling in the scrotum, can also cause the semen to appear gel-like. Sexually active males who are suffering from epidytimis should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, because this is a common symptom.

Most of the time, gel-like semen is not a sign of a larger problem. In fact, in terms of fertility, gelatinous semen is preferred. Thin, watery semen is less able to adhere to the walls of the vagina, which can make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. Unless a man is concerned or experiencing other symptoms, gel-like sperm can be considered normal. If other symptoms do arise, men should consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause of the problem.

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Discuss this Article

anon932166
Post 11

If you're a regular user of medicine, this may be the reason for the low testosterone level that causes the jelly problem. I have Chrohn's disease and therefore take asathioprine (a sort of artificial cortisone) on a daily basis. If you use cortisone or cortisone-like drugs, these may well result in low testosterone over time (as well as other imbalances -- see the inlay papers of your medicine to find out more about this.) It's a very powerful drug. You might want to try a more balanced diet, as some foods are more likely to raise the levels of testosterone than others.

anon359866
Post 10

A lot of people are coming out now describing semen spaghetti. Is there still no resolution? There's an ongoing Reddit thread about it, but no one there seemed to know (they actually linked here!)

anon348961
Post 9

I get this too, but when it happens it's usually after a long period of non-ejaculation. There's no discomfort; in fact, it feels better than ejaculating regularly. The gummy-like substance kind of indicates to me that I haven't ejaculated in a while. I don't really think much of it or that it's a bad thing like I used to, because I've had this problem for a few years now (that I've noticed at least).

anon346420
Post 8

I have a jelly in my semen like spaghetti. Please, if anyone has a cure, just tell me?

anon337023
Post 7

As anon256245 reported, this issue typically goes away with increased testosterone levels. The gelled secretions return (within three or four weeks) when hormone replacement treatment is stopped. Also, frequent ejaculations seem to minimize or eliminate this problem. My theory is that low testosterone levels allows the secretions of the ejaculatory fluids stagnate, perhaps from lack of arousal and the common pre-semen leaks with high T levels. This ejaculatory fluid thickens into a gel like substance in the tiny conduits/tubes hence the stringy like appearance once it is expelled during ejaculation.

This is just my two cents, but I say forget the medical community and the bogus steroid scare of the 80's, seek your own T supply and use some common sense.

Unfortunately, in this country, hormone therapy for me is nearly nonexistent due to the "steroid scare" of the 80's. Unless your T levels are at those of an 70 year old man, don't expect the medical community to help.

anon336443
Post 6

I had this and it was cancer! Do not listen to these "it's not a big deal" posts. For me, I had this problem for a year. They tested me for STDs, which I knew I didn't have, they then did a visual evaluation on my testicles and saw nothing.

A year passed. I had severe pain in my testicle, so I went to emergency and the ultrasound revealed there was a tumor inside my left testicle. A C/T scan made this area glow like a light bulb. A week later, I had my testicle removed. A week has passed since my surgery and I can do normal activities; the recovery time is small. Testicular cancer is very common in men, and it also has the highest cure rate at 97 percent. Do not put it off. If you have pain or anything that you know should not be in there, go get checked.

anon326068
Post 5

@post 4: I have experienced this from time to time. It may be a combination of many things in the above post. Lack of sleep or seriously irregular sleeping patterns caused me to have low testosterone levels. This can be fixed in several ways. Adjusting my sleeping patterns (getting plenty of sleep) in combination with taking a zinc supplement which turns estrogen into testosterone was something I found particularly effective. Also, getting plenty of vitamin D (something which I figured I also lacked due to my irregular sleeping pattern - vitamin D coming from the sun) and regular exercise also help.

You may find you do some of these things already. Good luck troubleshooting (no pun intended, as this would be cruel).

anon325018
Post 4

I don't know what gel is like to you, but I had a half inch spaghetti noodle come out with my semen. It's rubbery and sticky. What on earth could it be. I'm scared and don't want anybody to know. Please help.

anon256245
Post 1

I had the gel problem. At first it was sporadic, but over time it became more regular and problematic. It was not painful but there was some discomfort. I talked to my regular MD and a urologist. They did not really help. I started testosterone shots for other reasons, but the "gel" problem disappeared after my first "T" injection. I've since stopped "T" at my primary's request and the gel problem returned.

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