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By: RSC Editorial Team

April 3, 2023

What Does It Mean When Your Semen Is Yellow?

When it comes to sexual health, most men take a “no news is good news” approach. But if you notice something off, like an unusual color of your semen, you need straight answers.

So, what does it mean when your semen is yellow?

Usually, nothing serious. However, certain medical conditions can cause your semen to turn yellow. Rapid STD Testing is here to help you understand what causes yellow sperm and when to see a doctor. 

Discolored Semen

Like other bodily fluids, semen can change color and consistency due to internal and external stimuli. Its color and texture can tell you a lot about health. Here is a list of factors that can cause discoloration in your semen:

Yellow or Green Semen

Your body can produce yellow or green semen when you:

  • Reach old age
  • Eat foods high in sulfur
  • Go long periods between ejaculations
  • Have urine in your urethra during ejaculation
  • Consume nicotine
  • Take certain antibiotics or vitamins
  • Have jaundice
  • Have an infection
  • Have pyospermia (also known as leukocystospermia), a condition where semen contains too many white blood cells
  • Have an STD

Pink, Red, Brown, or Orange Semen

Your semen may turn pink, red, brown, or orange if you have: 

  • Recently had a prostate operation
  • High blood pressure
  • An STD
  • A prostate infection
  • Overloaded seminal vesicles
  • Cancer in your reproductive tract

Changes in Semen Texture: Is Healthy Sperm Thick or Runny?

Typically, healthy semen is a gel-like substance. Changes in your diet, sexual activity, and substance use can change your semen's consistency. Small changes in semen texture are normal, but drastic changes are a sign that something might be amiss.

Extremely thick semen can indicate a hormonal imbalance, infection, inflammation in your prostate, or severe dehydration. Semen that is too thick can also cause infertility.

Watery or see-through semen can mean a low sperm count, which may be due to a vitamin deficiency or infertility.

Everything You Need to Know About Healthy Semen

Healthy semen has health benefits and risks of semen but should be white, grayish, or cream-colored. Its texture should be viscous but not too thick or watery. Healthy semen volumes range from 1.25 ml to 5.00 ml per ejaculation.

Small changes in sperm are not something to worry about. Note changes you see in your seminal fluid, and if they persist or worsen, seek medical attention.

Possible Causes of Yellow Semen

If you're asking, “What does it mean when your semen is yellow?” your next question is probably, “What causes yellow semen?? Yellow semen can appear for a host of reasons. Some are benign, but others are more serious. 

The benign causes of yellow semen are related to lifestyle choices, including:

  • Long periods of abstinence
  • A diet high in sulfur
  • Aging
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Taking certain medications

Yellow semen can also come from infections in your reproductive tract such as UTIs or pyospermia. This causes your body to produce white blood cells, which damage sperm and turn it yellow.

Despite the relative lack of danger related to most cases of yellow semen, it is still important to carefully monitor yellow semen because it can also indicate the presence of viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and even STDs.

Yellow Semen and Sexually Transmitted Diseases 

What does it mean when your semen is yellow, and does it mean you have an STD? 

First, let's recap the basics of STDs: Generally, sexually transmitted diseases spread through unprotected sexual contact. Anal, oral, and vaginal intercourse are all avenues for infection. STDs can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic and transmitted via bodily fluids, especially blood, semen, and vaginal fluid.

Sexual transmission is far from the only way STDs spread. Nonsexual transmission can take place during pregnancy or birth via an infected mother, transfusion of infected blood, or shared needles.

When you have an STD, the color of your semen may change. STDs like gonorrhea, genital herpes, chlamydia, and hepatitis can all cause semen to turn a yellowish color. This can be confusing because many cases of yellow semen are due to normal causes. 

So how do you know if yellow semen is related to an STD or not? The best way to know for sure is to schedule a rapid STD test and see a doctor for an exam.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia tend to produce pus-like, painful STD discharges. These foul-smelling discharges can be yellow, white, or green. If you notice that any of these symptoms, discontinue sexual activity and visit Rapid STD Testing for an STD test immediately.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the likelihood of yellow semen include:

  • Age: As you age, your sperm may become yellow. This is normal, and as long as the color is faint, you have nothing to worry about.
  • Diet, medication, and substance use: Like urine and other bodily fluids, the chemicals present in your body influence semen color. Foods like asparagus, onions, garlic, or turmeric can turn your semen yellow. Tobacco smoke can also result in yellow sperm, as can certain antibiotics and vitamins. Discoloration of this nature disappears when the substances pass from your system.
  • Abstinence: As unused sperm ages inside of your ejaculatory ducts, it yellows. Once the old sperm is gone, normal coloration returns.
  • Excess or leftover urine: Normally, sexual arousal blocks urine from the urethra to allow semen to enter before ejaculation. However, if urine is present during arousal, it can give your semen a yellow tint.
  • Medical conditions: Jaundice, an excess of bilirubin in the blood usually due to liver problems or autoimmune diseases; high white blood cell counts in your blood vessels (pyospermia); and infections such as urinary tract infections can cause yellow semen production.

Treatment and Prevention

While isolated instances of yellow semen are not generally concerning, you should consult with a doctor if your semen remains yellow for more than two or three days or if you have symptoms like: 

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Foul-smelling semen
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Signs of jaundice

Fortunately, conditions resulting in yellow semen are both treatable and preventable. 

If your doctor determines that an STD, bacterial, or viral infection is present, they may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat the infection.

If the conditions causing yellow semen do not stem from an infection, you can reduce your risk of developing or even treat yellow semen through lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake, cutting back on foods with high sulfur, quitting smoking, and using condoms during sex. 

Practicing safe sex is the best way to avoid contracting an STD that can turn your semen yellow. If you have unprotected sex, test for STDs after each instance of unprotected sexual activity, especially if you have multiple partners. Rapid STD Testing offers same-day std testing, including 10-panel STD tests for your convenience. We also offer fast, reliable STD testing kits you can use in the comfort of your own home.

Taking charge of your reproductive health is another way you can prevent yellow semen. Urinary tract infections can cause a bacterial infection called prostatitis in your prostate gland. This can cause pain and lead to discolored semen. Make sure to get regular prostate checks from your doctor and watch for any swelling around the area. Prostatitis can turn your semen yellow or bloody.

While yellow semen is not a direct indicator of testicular cancer, irregularities related to testicular cancer can cause or blend in with some of the conditions associated with yellow semen. If you notice lumps, abdominal or lower back pain, sudden swelling of your testicles, or pain in your belly, groin, or genitals, you should consult a doctor and request a cancer screening. 

Know What's Normal for Your Semen

Now that you can answer the questions: “what does it mean when your semen is yellow?” and “what color is your sperm supposed to be?” you can take charge of your sexual health. You are your first line of defense.

When you need discreet, reliable STD testing, Rapid STD Testing is the clear choice. Call or visit one of our state-of-the-art testing centers, or have our convenient at-home STD testing kits delivered to your doorstep.


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By: RSC Editorial Team
April 3, 2023

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