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What Are the Common Causes of Thick Sperm?

Nicole Madison
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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When a man talks about having thick sperm, he likely is referring to his semen — in reality, it is the semen that appears thick rather than the sperm, as one cannot see sperm with the naked eye because it is microscopic. As for thick semen, this is often just a normal concurrence, as semen can vary in consistency. When it is a sign of an abnormality, however, dehydration, infections, and hormone imbalances are often the culprits. For example, if a man has lower-than-normal levels of testosterone, his semen may appear thicker than normal. In fact, some people may even describe the semen as lumpy.

The term "thick sperm" is something of a misnomer. Since sperm are microscopic, most men are really referring to their semen when they describe themselves as having thick sperm. It is important to note that there is some variation in what is considered normal when it comes to semen consistency. A man may have thin semen, semen that is of an egg-white consistency, or semen that seems a bit more gelatinous, and all of these are likely normal — some men just have thicker semen than others. If a man's semen truly seems abnormally thick, however, there are a few likely causes.

One of the possible causes of thicker-than-normal semen is dehydration. If a man hasn't been drinking enough fluids, his semen may become thicker than normal. This may even happen of he drinks a good deal of soda, coffee, or other dehydrating beverages rather than water. In such a case, the effects are usually only temporary.

It is also possible that an infection could cause thick semen, though this is a less common cause. A man may, for example, notice thick semen in conjunction with discolored ejaculatory fluids. In such a case, his semen may appear yellow or green, which might indicate an infection. If these symptoms are combined with a foul-smelling discharge from the penis, an infection is even more likely.

Interestingly, a hormonal imbalance is also among the things that may cause abnormally thick semen. For example, if a man has lower-than-normal levels of testosterone, he might notice this effect. The only way to be sure of the cause of a change in semen consistency, however, is to see a doctor. A doctor can check for a hormonal imbalance or infection and advise a man of whether his semen, and sperm, are normal or not.

What Does Thick Sperm Mean?

Thick sperm, technically semen, can indicate dehydration, hormone imbalances, or infections as indicated above, but what exactly does that mean. If a man notices he has thicker-looking semen than normal, he should consider the following factors to decide what, if anything, to do about it.


First, he should figure out whether or not the thickness level of the semen seems to be affecting use. If the thicker semen has always seemed to be present and is not a significant change from what he had previously, he may not want to do anything. As stated before, some men simply have a naturally heavier consistency to their semen. If it does not hamper their ability to form an erection, engage in sexual relations, or ejaculate in a pleasurable way, they should not worry about it and simply accept it.

If the thickness of his semen bothers the man himself or his sexual partner, there are a few things to try. First, the issue could be dehydration. If this is the case, he should drink plenty of hydrating fluids like water or electrolyte-filled sports drinks. He should also abstain from consuming too many sugary drinks and alcohol until the semen returns to a more comfortable thickness. Thick semen may also simply indicate that a male is not ejaculating enough. Healthily, more frequently engaging in sexual intercourse or masturbation may solve the problem. If sufficient hydration and more frequent ejaculation do not seem to work, he may need to seek medical professional advice regarding possibly adjusting his hormone levels.


If the thicker semen seems to be causing pain, discomfort, or dysfunction in any way, he should seek medical attention. Thick semen on its own does not usually cause these issues, but it can be a contributing factor or a sign of another problem entirely. Several infections can cause thicker appearing semen, so if he notices other symptoms such as changes in color, smell, or consistency qualities besides thicknesses, an infection may be the culprit. He will want to see a doctor to get tested for a general bacterial infection, a yeast infection, and a variety of sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs or STDs).

Thicker semen without these changes may also be a medical issue though. Certain prostate and testes issues have also been known to cause thicker than normal semen. It may be that the prostate or one or both seminal vesicles may be producing and excreting too much fluid. Enlarged or sore testicles or difficult, painful, or frequent urination may further indicate that this is the issue. If a man with thick semen is experiencing any of these symptoms as well, he should visit a doctor for a thorough examination and semen viscosity and contents tests.


One other, often nagging, question that people have about thick semen is whether or not it has any effects on fertility. The answer is yes, it might. Thick semen can have both positive and negative consequences on fertility depending on the underlying cause of the thicker semen. Thicker semen caused by an infection or other health issue generally makes it harder for a male to impregnate a woman. Some infections decrease the overall sperm count, destroy the sperm entirely, or cause sperm to stick together impairing their function. Dehydrated or overly fluidic semen may decrease the total number of sperm present. Less sperm present usually means less chance of a single successful sperm uniting with the egg. Thicker semen may also be slower and not able to effectively migrate the required distance to the egg in the uterus. Even in these cases though, thicker semen may still get a female pregnant so it is not an automatic infertility guarantee.

Thicker sperm, when healthy and normal for an individual, may even indicate greater virility. When the thickness is natural and regular, it can mean that the man has a higher than average sperm count instead, and more sperm equals greater chances of pregnancy. The only way to truly know is to have a semen analysis test to determine the total number of sperm present and the ratio of sperm to fluid amounts. If the number is high but the ratio is appropriate, the semen will still likely be able to move and act as intended. Thicker semen that contains proper amounts of fluid and sperm, may also stay inside the vagina better and increase the likelihood that the sperm will successfully reach the egg.

Concern over the thickness level of semen is natural and healthy. It may be nothing to worry about, but it could signify other underlying issues. Always consult a doctor about any changes or concerns regarding semen thickness to be sure.

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.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon938117 — On Mar 08, 2014

@Speechie - The final sentence of the second paragraph of this article may help.

http://www. wisegeek.com/what-factors-affect-semen-viscosity.htm

P.S. Remove the space after www. for the link to work.

By nony — On Aug 19, 2011

@Speechie - I heard someone talk about sperm motility once. Motility in this context refers to how fast the sperm move about – their sheer force. Supposedly, the more forceful they are, the more likely it is that they will inseminate the egg. The inverse would be true as well.

Anyway, this guy said that scientists had discovered that tomato soup would improve motility. I thought it was kind of funny when I heard it (soup is good for everything I suppose) but when I checked up on it, sure enough it was true.

Actually the stuff I read said that an overall diet with extra fruits and vegetables would help as well, but tomatoes were singled out as providing an extra boost.

By amysamp — On Aug 18, 2011

@speechie - That's a good question, I do not know how long until your sperm or semen changes but I know a good indicator of how hydrated you are is by checking out the "yellowness" of your urine.

The more dark yellow the urine is, the more dehydrated you are the clearer your urine the more hydrated you are. But don't go randomly chugging and be careful, I just learned from another article on here that you can overhydrate!

By Speechie — On Aug 17, 2011

;Just one more reason to drink water - who knew it could actually produce a thick ejaculation if you were dehydrated?!

If this happens and you suspect dehydration, and you start to drink water, how long should it be before your semen or sperm are looking less thick?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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