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What is Retrograde Ejaculation?

Retrograde ejaculation or RE results in a dry ejaculate.  In other words, the man notices that during orgasm, little or no fluid comes out of his penis.  RE occurs because fluid goes backwards into the bladder rather forward and out the tip of the penis.

Symptoms of Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation does not affect your ability to obtain an erection or to have an orgasm. Some of the most common signs of retrograde ejaculation include:

  • Orgasms which produce little or no fluid
  • Male infertility.

What Causes Retrograde Ejaculation?

During normal orgasm, the ejaculatory fluid enters the urethra in the vicinity of the prostate.  The muscle at the opening of the bladder tightens to prevent liquid semen from entering the bladder. This muscle ensures that during orgasm, the semen moves forward and out the tip of the penis.  Contraction of this muscle prevents the semen from going backwards into the bladder. 

There are several conditions that can interfere with the function of this muscle at the bladder neck.

  • Surgery – the retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for testicular cancer
  • Surgery – the transurethral resection of the prostate or TURP for BPH
  • Medications – especially those used to treat BPH
  • Diseases – diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis

Treatment for Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation is usually not treated unless the couple desires to achieve a pregnancy.  In these cases, treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Treatment options include the following:


Medications work by tightening the muscles of the bladder neck.  This helps to prevent RE.   The medications that are used most often to treat retrograde ejaculation include imipramine -Tofranil, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylephrine.

Assisted Reproductive Technology – ART

If you are trying to conceive and medication is not working, the next step is assisted reproductive technology – ART. For example, sperm can be taken from the urine and processed in a lab. The sperm is then injected into the uterus of your partner.  

Can Retrograde Ejaculation Be Prevented?

Retrograde ejaculation is not completely preventable. However, controlling medical conditions that can lead to nerve damage may help to prevent the condition. If you have diabetes, be sure to take the medications that your doctor prescribes and be sure to implement the appropriate lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor. Also, if you receive medicine or surgery for BPH, you should understand that you will probably have retrograde ejaculation as a result of these therapies.

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Contact Us Today

If you suspect that you suffer from retrograde ejaculation, contact our office today. Our board-certified urologist, Dr. Lazare, will take the time to create an individualized treatment plan to help address your condition.