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What is Aspermia?

Niki Acker
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Aspermia is the lack of semen, not to be confused with azoospermia, which is the lack of the reproductive sperm cells in the semen. It is one of the causes of male infertility. Aspermia has two major causes: retrograde ejaculation and ejaculatory duct obstruction. Men with aspermia experience the sensation of ejaculation, but no semen exits the body.

Retrograde ejaculation is a condition in which the semen flows into the bladder instead of outside the body through the urethra. In normal ejaculation, the sphincter at the entrance to the bladder contracts, forcing the semen to be ejected away from the bladder and out of the urethra. Retrograde ejaculation is therefore caused by a malfunctioning bladder sphincter, caused by either weak muscles or defects in the nerves supplying the muscles.

Aspermia due to retrograde ejaculation can be caused by complications of surgery to treat prostate or testicular cancer, or by nerve damage caused by disease. Some associated conditions are diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. Retrograde ejaculation may also be caused by medications including tamsulosin, used to treat benign tumors of the prostate, antihypertensives used to treat high blood pressure, and antidepressants and antipsychotics used to treat mood disorders. Sometimes changing medications can reverse the condition. Retrograde ejaculation is not dangerous or life threatening, though it causes infertility and may also diminish sexual sensation.

Ejaculatory duct obstruction, the other possible cause of aspermia, may be due to congenital cysts in the ejaculatory ducts, or by inflammation brought about by inflammation or tuberculosis of the prostate. The sexually transmitted infection chlamydia is another possible cause. In addition to aspermia, ejaculatory duct obstruction can also cause pain in the pelvis, especially after ejaculation. Ejaculatory duct obstruction can also result in oligospermia, in which some semen is ejaculated, but less than a normal amount. This condition can be treated surgically through transurethral resection of the ejaculatory ducts (TURED) or through balloon catheterization of the urethra or rectum.

Men suffering from aspermia often have normal amounts of sperm cells and can father a child, though the sperm must be harvested and injected into the female. In retrograde ejaculation, the sperm may be harvested by running the patient's urine through a centrifuge to separate out the semen, while in men with ejaculatory duct obstruction, the sperm must be harvested directly from the testicles.

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Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By ZipLine — On Aug 16, 2013

I have aspermia due to type 1 diabetes. I just found out a few weeks ago and it has been a shock. My doctor has put me on ephedrine and a few multivitamins to see if the nerve damage can be reversed.

By turquoise — On Aug 15, 2013

@anon323241-- My husband has this too, but it's due to surgery. He had prostate surgery several years ago during which his nerves were damaged. He has retrograde ejaculation. We don't have kids either and it looks like IVF (in vitro fertilization) is the only way we can have any.

If your husband still produces sperm, don't worry, you can still have kids. But it will have to be through IVF. Unfortunately, treating retrograde ejaculation is not very easy. There are treatments for male infertility like medications and herbs, but they don't work to well.

By fify — On Aug 15, 2013

@anon323241-- What is the cause of your husband's aspermia? Is it retrograde ejaculation or something else?

The treatment options depend on the underlying cause. What did his doctor say?

I know that smoking reduces sperm quality and quantity and is not recommended for men or women who are trying to conceive. But I have no idea if it could lead to aspermia. I think illness, surgery and medications are more common causes.

You need to talk to your husband's doctor and a fertility specialist about male fertility treatments.

By anon323241 — On Mar 04, 2013

My husband was diagnosed with aspermia at age 38. He smokes 15 cigarettes per day. He is a heavy smoker. Could this be the reason for this problem? We have no children. Let me know the treatment.

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a The Health Board editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
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