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What Are the Common Causes of Thin Semen?

Thin semen is often due to low sperm count.
Semen is produced in the testes, which are contained in the scrotum.
The more often a man has sex or masturbates, the less semen he'll have for each ejaculation.
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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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There are two common causes of thin semen: low sperm count and fructose deficiency. The reasons for the former depend on either a man's age or his current level of sexual activity. Neither of these causes have an affect on a man's overall health. Even if low sperm count is the cause of thin semen, modern reproductive medicine can still give a man the chance to father a child.

Thin semen is a condition characterized by watery looking semen that may have a different texture than previously normal semen. Appearing suddenly without an apparent reason, a man may think that its presence is a sign of decreasing fertility. In the vast majority of cases, the cause is something else entirely.

The most common cause of thin semen is a fructose deficiency. Nearly half of all ejaculate is made up of fructose, a sugar. Fructose enters the ejaculate through the seminal vesicle. A diet low in sugar and/or carbohydrates contributes to the condition. It is quickly remedied by increasing carbohydrate/sugar consumption.

During puberty, young adulthood and middle adulthood, thin semen is a sign of regular sexual activity. The testes require up to 72 hours to replenish sperm. Daily masturbation or sex reduces the amount of semen available during each ejaculation. Though a man's sperm count is lower in this case, it is in no way related to male infertility.

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It is very rare that a man experiences thin semen due to complete infertility. Most men, if they live to their 80s or 90s, still have the reproductive capacity to father a child. Yet as a man grows older, his sperm count gradually declines by as much as 30-40%. This decrease can have a noticeable affect on semen appearance and texture. This change should only concern a man if he has not passed middle age.

If a man has consistently thin semen despite changing his amount of sexual activity and/or diet, consulting a physician specializing in reproductive medicine may be necessary. This is especially true if one is trying to have children. If a physician discovers a low sperm count and/or sperm with low motility, further testing may be necessary to determine the underlying cause.

A man may still be able to father a child if thin semen is due to reduced fertility, through artificial insemination. In this procedure, viable sperm are isolated and directly inserted into a woman's uterus while she is ovulating. This procedure raises the chances of fertilization.

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Discuss this Article

anon924456
Post 7

I second the statement that masturbation is harmless. While six times a day may seem excessive, every guy is different and has different needs – especially when they are teen-agers and the hormones are raging.

The only real health problem is that it can make are for a very sore penis, in which case using a good penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can help with that. A good cream with a natural emollient like shea butter can soothe an overworked penis.

It’s likely the son will eventually lessen his rate of masturbation, but even if he doesn’t, it does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with him.

anon301840
Post 5

@simrin: I am disgusted with your doctor for two reasons. Firstly, for discussing your son's condition with you. If I were your son, I would look for a different GP.

And secondly, his attitude to masturbation. Which century does he live in? Masturbation is completely harmless, regardless of the number of times per day it may be done. Your son is a perfectly normal teen and you should just let him live his life unfettered by these Victorian attitudes.

fify
Post 3

Medications and steroids can also change the volume of semen. I used to be a bodybuilder and had this happen to me several times while on steroids. It actually happens to many guys who used steroids in bodybuilding. Some have thinner semen and some thicker while on steroids.

It always went back to normal when I stopped using them though. I'm not a doctor or anything but I think this is just temporary. Although I'm sure some medications could affect semen volume too and I don't know if there is any damage done to the system in those cases.

SteamLouis
Post 2

My 16 year old told his dad that he has very thin semen lately. My husband talked to him and tried to ask him about masturbation but he was too shy to talk about it. So he took my son to the doctor to find out what the cause might be. Thankfully, he was able to confide in the doctor that he masturbates at least 6 times a day. The doctor spoke to us and we were both shocked about this because we really had no idea.

He recommended that my son see a psychologist or counselor for some time as excessive masturbation can cause health issues for him in the future. He was not really worried about the thin semen since it would go back to normal when he regulates his sexual activity. But he was more worried about the psychological effects this may have on him in the future.

He has been seeing a psychologist for the past six months and is doing great. He says that everything is fine and he is able to confide in his dad about these issues now. We're really relieved.

ddljohn
Post 1

I went to the doctor about this issue recently. They checked my sperm count which came back fine and he also asked me about sexual activity and diet. There appeared to be nothing wrong with me so my doctor said that this could be normal. He said that sometimes the volume of semen may change temporarily at times and will most likely go back to normal in a short period of time.

So he told me to just wait and see what happens and return if nothing changes in the next month. But he was right. My semen went back to its original volume and texture in three weeks.

I don't know if there is any scientific proof behind this, but I was very stressed out at work when this happened. I feel like that might be the reason although my doctor never mentioned stress as a cause.

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