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You may be worried about the appearance of your semen after noticing sudden or gradual changes. or might simply be wondering if your ejaculate is normal. That's good news in a way — it means you're paying attention to something that can actually say a lot about your health. 

What do you need to know about the color of sperm, when should you be worried, and what can you do if your sperm has a weird color?

The Characteristics Of Normal Semen

Most often referred to simply as "sperm", your ejaculate is made up of more than a few ingredients, all of which contribute to its appearance. Besides somewhere between 200 and 500 million (!!!) sperm cells, your ejaculate also features hormones like adrenaline, sugars, and protein. 

Normal semen:

  • Usually has an off-white, slightly translucent, color that usually tends more toward the gray spectrum but may also be vaguely yellow in some cases. 
  • Doesn't have much of a smell, but if it does, it should remind you a bit of bleach. 
  • Will be thick and sticky upon ejaculation — with an even consistency. No "clumps" or "bits" should be present. 
  • After a while, your ejaculate will liquefy; don't judge the appearance of your semen by what it looks like long after it was produced!

What Shouldn't Normal Semen Look And Smell Like?

You don't want blood in your ejaculate. If it's there, it will most likely show up as a brown, pink, or red color, though visible streaks of blood may also be apparent. Brown semen can additional signify a spinal cord injury. 

Yellow, pus-like, semen can, meanwhile, tell you you have a bacterial infection of some sort. Yup, it might be a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, but "common household pathogens" like E. Coli and Staph can also be to blame. Bacterial infections will often produce potent nasty smells as well.

Especially thick and sticky semen, or changes in the look and consistency of your semen in general, isn't always the result of a medical problem. Under-hydration or changes in your diet can also be responsible! You've likely heard that eating asparagus makes your semen smell better, for instance, but men who drink too much booze or subsist on a fast food diet are going to notice unfavorable rather than favorable changes. 

What Do I Do If I'm Worried My Semen Isn't Normal?

If you've noticed changes in the way your ejaculate looks and smells, something as simple as drinking more water or adding more vegetables to your diet may make all the difference. Because abnormal changes in the appearance and smell of your ejaculate can, in some cases, signal medical problems, it is always best to consult your doctor, mind you — certainly if the changes you're seeing aren't a one-off, but a longer-term issue. 

The best scenario will simply feature your doctor reassuring you that everything's fine. If you do have something like a bacterial infection, however, you'll be pleased to know about it so you can get the treatment you need to make things better. 

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