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What Are the Common Causes of Burning Semen?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A number of things can cause the sensation of burning semen, but the most common tend to be disease, particularly sexually transmitted disease; injury and trauma; and infection. In rare cases a specific protein allergy may be to blame, which can actually cause a man to be allergic to the composition of his own semen. Regardless the cause, feelings of burning and stinging during ejaculation are usually signs of a larger problem. Sometimes the burning will pass all on its own — this is common after injury or trauma — but in other instances it will only get worse until the underlying problem is treated. Medical experts usually recommend that anyone experiencing burning get a full medical evaluation to uncover the root cause, formulate a treatment plan, and rule out more serious conditions. In nearly all cases the burning can be stopped with medication and certain lifestyle changes, but the specific course of action a man should take to get there necessarily depends on his specific circumstances.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Burning semen is a common symptom of a number of different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs are typically viral infections that pass from person to person during sexual intercourse or other intimate sexual contact. They usually have a fairly broad list of symptoms, many of which will get worse and more pronounced the longer things go untreated. These can include unusual penile discharge, blisters, redness, pain during urination, and a foul odor. Trichomonaisis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases which may be linked to burning semen; gonorrhea may also be to blame.

Most STDs can be treated when detected early. Treatment may include medication and abstinence from sexual intercourse. It is possible to be re-infected with most diseases in this class, which makes using protection really important for anyone who is not in a committed, monogamous relationship with a partner who is known to be disease-free.

Inflammation and Infection

A number of infections in the urethra and around the penile opening may initially look like STDs, when in fact they are caused by something else entirely. Bacterial strains that have penetrated the tissues, particularly if there is a scratch or wound, are one of the most common. Bacteria love warm and moist environments, and may settle down in the penis to multiply. This often causes a burning, stinging sensation when ejaculating — though in most cases this also happens during urination.

Yeast infections tend to be most frequently associated with women, but they can happen in men, too, particularly men who engage in intercourse with infected women. These sorts of infections are typically caused by a particular yeast strain, Candida albicans, that populates the inner walls of the vagina. Healthy women usually have a vaginal chemistry that prevents unchecked growth, but when the chemical balance falls apart, whether due to hormones, medication, or some other factor, the yeasts can grow in an out-of-control fashion. This often leads to burning, itching, and general pain, and the problem can spread into the penis during intercourse. In a man, this infection typically stays lodged in the tip of the penis, though it can spread up the urethra and throughout the reproductive system if not promptly treated.

Injury and Trauma

Men who have been in accidents or who have sustained trauma to their penis or testicles may also experience burning semen from time to time, usually as a result of the body’s natural healing process. If the pain persists, though, it may be a sign that things aren’t actually healing properly. In most cases things will correct themselves with time, and the burning here is usually just a sign that there has been an injury somewhere within the system. Abstaining from ejaculations and intercourse in the short term is usually the best way to facilitate healing.

Allergic Reactions

Sometimes the burning doesn’t stop with the ejaculation, though. When the sensation happens any time semen so much as touches the skin, a plasma allergy may be to blame. This type of reaction may lead to symptoms similar to any other allergic response, including itchiness and redness. It used to be thought that men could not have an allergy to their own semen, but modern research has largely disproved this theory. A man's sexual partner may also have an allergy to his, or all, semen.

A semen protein allergy is relatively rare, although not unheard of. Treatments are usually similar to those in other cases of topical allergy, and in most cases they aim to reduce irritation and discomfort. Women who have a reaction to their partner's semen should also try to avoid contact through the use of condoms.

Getting Help

Most experts recommend that men get a medical evaluation any time they feel a burning sensation that either doesn’t go away on its own after a few days or seems to be getting worse with time. Certain medications can reduce the symptoms, and keeping track of what may be causing the problem can help prevent future episodes as well as rule out and treat more serious conditions as they arise.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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Discussion Comments

By anon210564 — On Aug 30, 2011

Sperm burns because it is too alkaline. Nine times out of ten, also there is a prostate problem brewing. The male should eat flax seed oil, ginger, drink POM juice, green tea, drink tons of water. If the female changes partners, the problem usually will go away. For the guys, go see the doctor and get your prostate checked.

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