If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for about one year but still aren’t pregnant, there may be some fertility issues that you need to have checked out.
Retrograde ejaculation is one complication that you may need to consider as being part of the problem.
This condition can be caused by several issues such as past surgeries to bladder muscles and nerves controlling the opening to the bladder, medication, or other health conditions.
Infertility is a problem that thousands of couples are going through. Finding answers to your infertility problem is the first step in correcting it.
Just What is Retrograde Ejaculation?
Retrograde ejaculation happens when the semen goes into the bladder rather than correctly coming out through the penis during the male orgasm.
Men will still be able to ejaculate but there will be little or no semen. This is also known as a “dry orgasm.” While retrograde ejaculation isn’t at all harmful, it can lead to male fertility problems.
The symptoms of retrograde ejaculation include:
- Completely dry orgasms.
- Orgasm where it is very little or no semen that is ejaculated.
- After orgasm evidence of cloudy urine due to semen.
- Difficulty conceiving with your partner.
If you’re having dry orgasms there is no need to be concerned about your health. You do need to be concerned if you and your partner are trying to have a baby.
How the Fertile Male Orgasm Works
When male orgasm is reached, the sperm is released from the testicles. A tube called the vas deferens moves the sperm into the prostate where it is combined with other fluids to produce the ejaculate or semen.
When ejaculation occurs, the muscle located at the opening of the bladder will clench and tighten so that the semen is prevented from moving into the bladder.
This same muscle is used to contain the urine inside of the bladder until urination. When retrograde ejaculation happens, these muscles fail to tighten as needed.
The end result is that the sperm is able to move into the bladder rather than being ejaculated out through the penis.
What Causes Retrograde Ejaculation?
There are several different conditions that can lead to complications with the bladder muscle:
- Medication: There are certain medications that can cause the bladder muscle to fail. This includes medication for depression, treating prostate problems, and treating high blood pressure.
- Damage to the nerves: Nerve damage that is the result of an underlying medical condition can prevent the bladder muscle from tightening. This includes multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and any spinal cord injuries.
- Surgeries: Any surgeries to the prostate or the neck of the bladder can lead to bladder muscle failure.
Less common causes of retrograde ejaculation can include:
- Radiation treatment in the pelvic region.
- Cystectomy: Surgery to remove the bladder.
- Prostatectomy: Surgery to remove the prostate.
Understanding the causes of retrograde ejaculation will help you make informed decisions about your inability to father a child with your partner.
Treating Retrograde Ejaculation
If your condition of retrograde ejaculation is caused by any surgeries you’ve had, treating with medication most likely won’t be an option.
There are some surgeries that will cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This typically includes any surgeries that have to do with the prostate or the neck of the bladder.
Drugs may be a treatment option if retrograde ejaculation is caused by nerve damage. Some of the drugs commonly used are:
- Imipramine, a common tricyclic antidepressant.
- Brompheniramine and chlorpheniramine, which are antihistamines that are often used to treat the common cold.
- Decongestant medications that contain phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, and ephedrine.
These types of medications may help to keep the muscle at the neck of the bladder closed when ejaculation occurs. It’s important to know that all of these drugs come with side effects.
Some may increase your blood pressure and this can pose problems if you’re already being treated for heart disease or high blood pressure.
In this case, treating retrograde ejaculation with medication might not be an option for you. If there is no recommended treatment you and your partner may have to consider using ART (assisted reproductive technology) to have a baby.
ART can help to retrieve your sperm which can then be used in intrauterine insemination treatment. This type of treatment will still allow you to be the genetic father of your child.
Coping with Male Infertility and Ejaculation Problems
If you’ve been trying to impregnate your partner without success, it may be time to look for answers about your infertility. Talk to your general family doctor first.
If evaluation and treatment are needed for retrograde ejaculation, you’ll be referred to a urologist who specializes in urinary and reproductive complications.
Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing and any medications that you’ve been taking.
When you and your partner have been trying to conceive retrograde ejaculation can be challenging to cope with.
Communicate with your partner about you’re going through and talk to your doctor about the treatment options available to you.