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Orange semen may be caused by bilirubin, blood, urine, or other factors such as the individual’s diet and age. Semen, or ejaculate, is typically a cloudy white, gray, or yellow color, but temporary discoloration or changes in consistency are often harmless. A consistent change in color, odor, or consistency that persists for at least three weeks should be brought to the attention of a medical professional. Orange semen may be an indication of hematospermia, damage to the individual’s bladder neck, or a liver or gallbladder problem as well.
Human semen is an organic fluid that typically contains spermatozoa, enzymes, and fructose. The seminal vesicle produces semen that is secreted by the gonads. Semen is normally cloudy or translucent with a white, gray, or slightly yellow tint. The consistency and color of semen is affected by a man’s age, diet, and frequency of ejaculation. For example, fruit, celery, and cinnamon are all sources of mild-tasting ejaculate, while coffee and red meat can make ejaculate taste bitter.
A change in a man’s semen color or consistency is usually harmless and temporary. If such a change persists for at least three weeks, it could be an indication of an underlying health problem. Green semen is often an indicator of a prostate infection, or prostatitis. Thick or lumpy semen may be a sign of a hormone deficiency.
Red, brown, or orange semen can be a symptom of several different conditions. The color may be the result of blood in the ejaculate from hematospermia. Red or pink semen indicates the presence of fresh blood, while venous or old blood will make a color closer to brown. In some cases, the amount of blood is small, giving the semen an orange tint.
Hematospermia can be caused by prostate cancer or adenocarcinpma as well as infections. Bladder cancer, a cystoscopy, or a prostatic biopsy are other possible causes. Some men with ultricular cysts or malignant hypertension may also develop hematospermia. In most cases, the blood in the semen comes from the seminal vesicles or the prostate gland.
A rarer cause of orange semen is the presence of bilirubin in the ejaculate. Bilirubin is a product of the normal breakdown of old blood cells. An individual with liver or gallbladder problems can develop a buildup of bilirubin. This buildup normally presents as jaundice or a yellowish skin discoloration, but a deeply jaundiced patient can have bilirubin in his semen as well as his sweat and urine. Bilirubin results in bright orange semen.
The presence of urine in semen can impart a yellow or gold tint to ejaculate and is usually obvious due to the accompanying odor. This is often the result of inadequate closure of the bladder neck at ejaculation. Damage to the bladder neck as the result of operations or an urethrotomy can cause this problem. Another possible cause is retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which the bladder neck does not close at ejaculation. Seminal fluid ends up in the bladder, and the semen is contaminated with urine because the bladder neck remained open.
Some patients may be reluctant to discuss semen discoloration with their doctors. Yet consistent and persistent change in color, odor, or consistency should be investigated. If left untreated, many of the possible underlying conditions that cause orange semen can become serious.