what causes infection in sperm

What Causes Infection In Sperm? | Fertiltree IVF Center

Among the most pressing concerns that affect infertility has to do with the male sperm, such as unhealthy sperm or low sperm count. From hormonal issues and blockage in vas deferens to inflammation of seminal vesicles and chromosomal abnormality, there are quite a number of reasons that can be attributed to unhealthy or low sperm count. Moreover, lifestyle choices from the use of alcohol and tobacco products to excessive use of mobile phones and laptops, as well as diseases like diabetes, thyroid, hernia, obesity and varicocele, also all play a role in causing men to become infertile. 

This blog aims to provide more details about what exactly are the causes of infection in sperm. 

Few reasons for unhealthy sperm or low sperm count are:

  • Hormonal reason 
  • Blockage in vas deferens
  • Absence of Seminal Vesicle or Inflammation of Seminal Vesicle.
  • Chromosomal abnormality
  • Unhealthy Lifestyle (Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs, Obesity)
  • Diabetes, Thyroid.
  • Excessive Use of Laptops and mobile Phones, and exposure to radiation.
  • Varicocele, Hernia.

How do sperm get affected?

There are many risk factors that have been linked to low sperm count, as well as other problems that can and may cause low sperm count. Some of them include the following:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Being overweight
  • Using certain illicit drugs
  • Having certain past or present infections
  • Being severely depressed or stressed
  • Having experienced trauma to the testicles
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Overheating the testicles
  • Being born with a fertility disorder or being related to one with a fertility disorder, such as your brother or father.
  • Having a history of certain medical conditions, including tumours as well as chronic illnesses
  • Undergoing cancer treatments, like radiation
  • Having a history of undescended testicles.
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Having a prior vasectomy, major abdominal or even pelvic surgery

Escherichia coli is a rod-shaped Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, coliform bacterium. It’s been known to be responsible for causing semen contamination or genital tract infections in male patients.

Read more: 18 Best Foods To Increase Sperm Count and Motility

Types of Infected Semen and Their Causes

Infections of the male genitourinary tract account for up to 15% of cases of infertility in men. Acute as well as chronic infections and consequent inflammation in the reproductive system of a male may compromise sperm cell function and the whole spermatogenetic process, causing qualitative and quantitative sperm alterations. According to recent studies, the simple presence of bacteria in semen samples may compromise sperm quality. The bacteria responsible for semen contaminations usually originate from the patient’s urinary tract or can be transmitted by the partner via sexual intercourse.

Types of semen infections:

Yellow semen: 

Urine and sperm both come out of the body from a tube known as the urethra. When urine is left behind, it mixes with the semen, causing the semen to change its colour to yellow. Semen can also appear yellow because of the semen consisting of an excess number of white blood cells. This condition is known as leukocytospermia, also known as pyospermia. This is a very severe condition that can even result in damaging your sperm. This could lead you to infertility.

Prostate infection: 

This is caused when the bacteria in the urine leak into the prostate and is responsible for causing your semen yellowish-green. The bacteria infect the semen.

Bacterial infections: 

These cause sperm infections and can also lead to infertility. Gonorrhea infections are a kind of bacterial infection that can cause severe diseases to the genital tract.

Viral infections: 

These are infections like Herpes Simplex, HIV.

Fungal infections: 

An example is Candida Albicans. Infections in sperm can be a significant problem of infertility and can spread to your female partners.

Infection in Sperm: From where does the infection originate?

The bacteria responsible for semen contaminations generally start from the patient’s urinary tract or can be transmitted by the partner via sexual intercourse. The most common microorganism found in males with genital tract infections or semen contamination is Escherichia coli.

Infections in the reproductive tract can lead to the presence of bacteria in sperm. Some of the most common causes of infections include: 

  1. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be transmitted through sexual contact and affect the sperm.
  2. Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Bacterial infections in the urinary tract can sometimes spread to the reproductive system, leading to sperm infections.
  3. Prostatitis: An inflammation or even an infection of the prostate gland can affect sperm health and function.
  4. Epididymitis: Infection or inflammation of the epididymis (the tube that carries and stores sperm) can cause sperm infections.
  5. Orchitis: Inflammation or infection of the testicles can impact sperm production and quality.
  6. Balanitis: Infection or inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis can potentially lead to sperm infections.
  7. Varicocele: Enlarged veins in the scrotum can cause overheating of the testicles, potentially affecting sperm health.
  8. Injury or trauma: Injuries to the testicles or reproductive system can introduce bacteria and lead to sperm infections.
  9. Poor personal hygiene: Inadequate cleaning of the genital area may increase the risk of bacterial growth and sperm infections.
  10. Unprotected sexual intercourse: Engaging in sexual activities without using a barrier method (e.g., condom) can expose the sperm to potential infections.
  11. Obstructed reproductive ducts: Blockages in the ducts that carry sperm may lead to the accumulation of bacteria and result in infections.


Symptoms may include discomfort, discharge, or pain during ejaculation. However, some infections are asymptomatic.

Many factors can trigger male infertility, like lifestyle, the environment, health, medical resources & pathogenic microorganism infections. Bacterial infections of the reproductive system of men can cause various reproductive diseases.

Various microorganisms, namely bacteria, viruses, and parasites, can infect the male reproductive system and induce a series of inflammatory responses that impair male fertility Bacteria usually infect the urethra, seminal vesicles, prostate, epididymis, vas deferens, and testes retrograde through the reproductive tract. Infections caused by bacteria, including Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Brucella, contribute to 15% of male infertility cases.


Can an infection in sperm be treated?

Yes, most infections can be treated with antibiotics or other medications.

Does an infection in sperm always lead to infertility?

Not always, but it can reduce fertility potential.

How is an infection in sperm diagnosed

Through semen analysis STI testing.

Can lifestyle changes improve sperm health?

Yes. Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive heat to the testicles can all boost sperm health.

Is infection in sperm a common cause of infertility?

It is a huge factor that can impact male fertility.

How can I prevent an infection in sperm? 

Practising safe sex, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and regular check-ups can help prevent sperm infections.

Yes, our IVF centre offers comprehensive treatments and expert consultations to help address your concerns.

Does semen have bacteria?

Yes, semen can contain bacteria. When there are bacteria in the semen, it is referred to as Bacteriospermia. 

What causes bacteria in sperm?

The person’s urinary tract or sexual intercourse can cause bacteria in the sperm. 

Does sperm contain germs?

Yes, infections can lead to sperm-containing germs and other viruses. 

Can you get an infection from sperm?

Semen can impact the pH level in the vagina, and this can lead to an increased rate of bacterial growth.

What are the causes of infection in sperm?

Among the causes of infections in sperm that are commonly seen are:

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Prostatitis
  • Epididymitis
  • Orchitis
  • Balanitis
  • Varicocele
  • Injury or trauma
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Obstructed reproductive ducts
  • Weak immune system
  • Invasive medical procedures
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Use of contaminated objects
  • Chronic use of antibiotics
  • Chemical exposure
  • Unresolved urinary tract abnormalities
  • Fungal infections
  • Rare genetic conditions
  • Mumps
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Overuse of lubricants
  • Allergies
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Chemical irritants
  • Testicular torsion
  • Vasectomy complications
  • Poor diet
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Hot tub or sauna use
  • Medications
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Testicular cancer
  • Obesity
  • Use of illicit drugs
  • Excessive cycling
  • Certain chronic illnesses
  • Psychological stress
  • Dehydration
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Excessive heat exposure
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • Certain surgeries
  • Testicular injury
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Certain occupations
  • Ageing
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Structural abnormalities
  • Allergic reaction to semen
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Overactive immune response
  • Genetic disorders. 

Read more: Bulky Uterus: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Read more: 7 Steps to Getting Pregnant With Blocked Fallopian Tubes

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Low Sperm Count? Here Is All You Need To Know About It | Causes, Cure And Prevention. ~ Information Guide Africa. https://www.infoguideafrica.com/2019/06/low-sperm-count-heres-all-you-need-to.html

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