General Sexual Health ProblemsSemen colour is yellow – What does it indicate?

Semen is typically silvery white or ivory white in colour. Occasionally, the colour of semen changes and that may indicate some underlying condition that needs to be attended by an experienced sexologist. If you are interested in learning about the possible semen colours and what they indicate, you need to go through one of our earlier articles on Semen colour / Sperm colour – what does it indicate?

Read on to know what makes semen yellow in colour.

Causes of yellow semen

Presence of urine in semen

When the urine stays back in the urethra (the pipe through which the urine is sent out from the body that starts from the bladder till the edge of the penis), it can get mixed with the semen during ejaculation turning it yellowish. What causes the urine to get retained in the urethra?

  1. UTI – Urinary Tract Infection
  2. Enlarged prostate or BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
  3. Infection (possibly in the prostate or bladder)
Semen colour is yellow – What does it indicate?


Jaundice is caused due to the building up of Bilirubin in the blood that is made by the liver by breaking down old red blood cells. Excess of Bilirubin can turn the skin, whites in the eyes, urine yellow. This condition can also affect the semen colour. Jaundice can be caused due to:

  1. Viruses (such as Hepatitis)
  2. Autoimmune disorders
  3. Metabolic problems/defects
  4. Alcohol consumption
  5. Medication
  6. Inflammation of the gallbladder or presence of gallstones
  7. Cancer of pancreas or gallbladder
  8. Pancreatitis


Leukocytospermia also called pyospermia is a condition where there are unusually high number of white blood cells present in the semen. This too can make the semen appear yellow in colour. The excessive presence of white blood cells in the semen can weaken and destroy the sperms in the seminal fluids making the person infertile. Most obvious reason for the presence of white blood cells in the semen is an infection. Other reasons why white blood cells may be present in the semen are:

  1. Swelling/inflammation in or around penis or in the groin
  2. Sexually Transmitted Infection such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Herpes
  3. Autoimmune disorders
  4. Narrowing of the urethra
  5. Infrequent ejaculation
  6. Dilated veins coming from the testicles
  7. Abuse of drugs or alcohol

Prostate Infection (Prostatitis)

Prostatitis or prostate infection is a condition when the prostate is infected usually by the bacteria present in the urine. Infection of prostate can also make the semen yellow in colour. Symptoms of prostatitis include:

  1. Problem urinating – pain or burning sensation during urination
  2. Frequent urination, inability to empty the bladder in one go.
  3. Pain during ejaculation
  4. Abdominal pain or pain in lower back or in the groin region.

To know more about prostatitis, please refer to our recent article on prostate infection.

Sexually transmitted infection

Sexually transmitted infection / disease (STD/STI) such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia can turn the colour of semen to yellow. Symptoms of STDs include:

  1. Pain or burning sensation during urination
  2. Pain in and around the penis region
  3. Frequent urge to urinate.

Learn more about Sexually Transmitted Infections by visiting our article on STDs.

When should you see a doctor if you see that your semen colour is yellow?

“Typically, the change in semen colour should reset in a couple of days, if not, you should see a good urologist or sexologist near you immediately” advises Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran from Metromale Clinic & Fertility Center, T Nagar, Chennai. He adds “When you see the change in semen colour that is associated with pain when ejaculating or urinating or if the white part of the eyes turn yellow or when you see blood in semen, you must see a doctor asap”.

Treatment for yellow semen colour depends on the cause of the problem. Antibiotics in the case of infection and at times surgery may also needs to be performed to keep the person fertile.

Semen Colour Chart for Quick Reference


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