During a male orgasm, a tube called the vas deferens transports sperm to the prostate, where they mix with other fluids to produce liquid semen (ejaculate). The muscle at the opening of the bladder (bladder neck muscle) tightens to prevent ejaculate from entering the bladder as it passes from the prostate into the tube inside the penis (urethra). This is the same muscle that holds urine in your bladder until you urinate. With retrograde ejaculation, the bladder neck muscle doesn't tighten properly. As a result, sperm can enter the bladder instead of being ejected out of your body through the penis.
Several conditions can cause problems with the muscle that closes the bladder during ejaculation. These include:
- Surgery, such as bladder neck surgery or prostate surgery
- Side effect of certain medications used to treat high blood pressure, prostate enlargement and mood disorders
- Nerve damage caused by a medical condition, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury
A dry orgasm is the primary sign of retrograde ejaculation. But dry orgasm — the ejaculation of little or no semen — can also be caused by other conditions, including:
Jan. 30, 2014
- Surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy)
- Surgical removal of the bladder (cystectomy)
- Radiation therapy to treat cancer in the pelvic area
- Ferri FF. Clinical Advisor 2014. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 9, 2013.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 9, 2013.
- Ohl DA, et al. Anejaculation and retrograde ejaculation. Urologic Clinics of North America. 2008;35:211.
- Jefferys A, et al. The management of retrograde ejaculation: a systematic review and update. Fertility and Sterility. 2012;97:306.
- Siassakos D, et al. Male infertility. American Urological Association. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=102&display=1. Accessed Aug. 9, 2013.
- Barnas JL, et al. The prevalence and nature of orgasmic dysfunction after radical prostatectomy. BJU International. 2004;94:603.
- Ten questions to ask before having an operation. American College of Surgeons. http://www.facs.org/patienteducation/patient-resources/surgery/tenquestions.html. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Speak up: Become a partner in your healthcare. National Institutes of Health. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2007/May/docs/01features_02.htm. Accessed Aug. 19, 2013.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 26, 2013.