Thick Semen: 7 Common Causes ( & What to Do)

Updated in February 2023

Thick semen can be a result of unhealthy habits like excessive alcohol intake or sedentarism. It can also by a sign of abnormal hormone levels, sexually transmitted infections, dehydration, prostate changes or the use of anabolic steroids without medical orientation. 

Semen consistency can vary from person to person throughout the lifetime. It can become thicker in certain situations that are not of clinical concern.

Nonetheless, if you notice thick semen with other symptoms like pain or burning with urinating, discharge, painful ejaculation, difficulty ejaculating, or dark urine, you should see a doctor for assessment. The doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation to identify the cause of thick semen and start treatment as necessary.

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Why is my semen thicker?

Thick semen can occur for reasons like: 

1. Hormonal imbalance 

Changes to hormone levels can cause semen to become thicker, as hormones like testosterone can change semen consistency. In addition, thyroid changes can also lead to hormonal fluctuations, causing changes to semen consistency. 

Doctors may suspect that semen thickness may be related to hormonal changes if other symptoms emerge, like decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle mass loss and fatigue. 

What to do: It is important for men to consult a urologist for testing and assessment. If a diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor may prescribe treatment like medication, hormone replacement therapy and regular exercise. 

2. Sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can affect semen and make it thicker due to an increase in white blood cells. Higher WBC level can alter sperm cell morphology and even reduce the volume of semen. 

In addition to thick semen, STIs can cause other symptoms like difficulty urinating, a milky discharge and blood in the urine. 

What to do: In this case, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment, which typically involves the use of antibiotics. It is important for treatment to be followed as prescribed to guarantee full elimination of the infectious agent. 

3. Dehydration

Dehydration can also lead to thick semen, as semen is mainly made-up of water. With dehydration, semen can become less fluid and more viscous. Men may suspect dehydration if they have symptoms like excessive thirst, dark urine or extreme fatigue. 

What to do: To prevent dehydration, it is important to consume fluids throughout the day. You should aim for about 2 L of water per day. 

4. Prostate changes

Semen is made-up of sperm cells that come from the testicles, seminal fluid from the seminal vesicles, and a small amount of prostate fluid. Changes to prostate function or seminal vesicle function can make semen thicker. This is due to changes in the protein released by sperm cells or due to changes in the production of seminal fluid. 

Some symptoms related to prostate abnormalities include painful ejaculation, pain with urination and increased urinary frequency. 

What to do: If you suspect a prostate problem, you should see a urologist for assessment and possible treatment, which will vary depending on the underlying cause. 

5. Excessive use of anabolic steroids 

Frequent or unmonitored use of anabolic steroids by men can lead to consequences like decreased sperm count, a decrease in testicular size and changes to semen consistency. 

What to do: Use of anabolic steroids should be monitored by a doctor to prevent side effects and tu ensure use remains therapeutic.

6. Delayed or infrequent ejaculation

Delayed or infrequent ejaculation, either with sex or masturbation, can also lead to thicker semen as a result of accumulated sperm cells.

What to do: It is important to determine the underlying cause of delayed or infrequent ejaculation to ensure it is treated in the most appropriate way, which can involve therapy or medication. 

7. Unhealthy lifestyle habits

Excessive alcohol intake, smoking and/or lack of physical activity can affect semen quality. Semen can become thicker and more viscous, and sperm count may become reduced. 

What to do: If thick semen is related to lifestyle habits, it is important to engage in regular physical activity, avoid smoking and reduce alcohol intake. A healthy, balanced diet is also recommended.