Healthy semen is whitish-gray to white in color and jelly-like in texture. Its appearance can vary slightly based on your genes, diet, and overall health.
However, changes in the color of your semen can also be caused by a medical problem. For example, yellow sperm could indicate that your body is fighting an infection or jaundice.
Typically, healthy semen (or seminal fluid) is white or grayish in color. But sometimes it can take on a yellow tint for various reasons. Sometimes the changes are harmless and will disappear on their own, but other times the yellowing could indicate a serious medical problem.
The most common cause of yellow sperm is infection. This can be caused by hepatitis A, B, or C, a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia or herpes, or a urinary tract infection like a UTI. These diseases can cause a high number of white blood cells in the semen, which makes it look yellow.
Other causes of yellow sperm include eating foods that are high in sulfur or food colorings, including asparagus, garlic, and turmeric, or having long gaps between ejaculations. Yellow sperm may also be the result of having too little zinc in your diet, a condition that can lead to health issues like thinning hair and weak nails.
A final cause of yellow sperm is when the urethra gets contaminated with pee, which can change the semen’s color. This can happen when the urethra is enlarged from prostate cancer or other health conditions, or it can occur when a man has a bladder neck disorder. If you notice any signs of infection, you should see a doctor to diagnose and treat the disease.
Most cases of yellow semen are not a cause for concern, but it’s best to check with a doctor in case the issue is something more serious, Registered Nurse Rachel Nall writes for Medical News Today. Semen is usually a whitish-grey or gel-like color, but it can sometimes take on a yellow tint as a result of certain vitamins, medicines or foods that contain artificial dyes.
Inflammation or infection in the prostate gland can also cause a yellowish cast to semen, Nall notes. This is because semen passes through the urethra, and it’s possible that some urine could mix with the seminal fluid when ejaculating. Inflammation can also trigger the body to produce excess white blood cells, which can damage sperm and make it look yellow. This condition is known as pyospermia or leukocytospermia.
STDs like chlamydia, herpes and genital herpes can also turn semen yellow, according to Nall. These infections can be spread through unprotected sexual activity and may also cause a variety of other symptoms, including pain during urination or intense penile itching.
Yellow semen can also be a sign of a liver problem or other medical conditions, such as jaundice. This happens when the body has trouble breaking down a waste product called bilirubin, which normally breaks down red blood cells. This builds up in the blood and makes the skin, eyes and sperm appear yellow.
Semen is typically white in color with a jelly-like texture, but it can sometimes turn yellowish or orange in color. This usually isn’t a problem and is normal unless it’s accompanied by other symptoms. Various factors can cause the change in color of semen, including diet, supplements, and medication. Some foods can also give semen a yellow tint, such as turmeric, onions, and garlic.
If the color of the sperm changes suddenly, it’s important to see a doctor to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. The faster the condition is treated, the less likely it is to cause long-term problems.
Some medical conditions can make the semen look yellow, including infections and jaundice (a condition caused by too much bilirubin in the body). Another condition that causes yellow semen is leukocytospermia, which happens when there are too many white blood cells in the semen. This can be caused by infections, inflammation, autoimmune conditions, and using certain medications like antibiotics or multivitamins.
Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can cause the sperm to have a yellowish or greenish color. Other symptoms of these diseases are a foul smell and painful ejaculation. These STDs are spread through unprotected sexual contact or through intravenous and oral injections. The infection can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic.
See a doctor
In most cases, yellow semen is not a cause for concern. However, it can be a sign of a prostate infection or STDs. Infections in the reproductive tract can lead to a condition known as pyospermia, where your body produces too many white blood cells, which damages sperm and gives it a yellow tint. Other infections like chlamydia, herpes and gonorrhea can also give sperm a yellowish green tint.
A doctor can confirm if your semen is yellow and recommend treatment depending on the underlying condition. Treatments may include abstinence, using condoms during sexual contact and avoiding foods that contain high amounts of sulfur. If the underlying cause is an STD, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications.
Other causes of yellow semen can be treated with home remedies. For example, eating more red foods that are rich in lycopene can increase the quality of your sperm and improve sperm motility. It is also important to drink plenty of water and to avoid smoking.
If your yellow semen is caused by food, vitamins or medication, it should return to its normal color once the item has cleared your system. If your yellow semen is a symptom of a medical condition, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam and order tests to determine the underlying cause. This may include a sperm count and analysis of the testis for signs of inflammation or infection.