What Is Semen?
Semen is a male germ cell. Its sole purpose is to fertilize a female cell (ovum) by merging with it. The length of semen is around 0,05mm. Its shape resembles a tadpole and consists of three parts: a karyomere, a mid-piece and a spermatic filament. Spermiocalyptrotheca (acrosome) contains special enzymes allowing it to penetrate through the ovum shell. A karyomere has also a sperm nucleus. Chromosomes in it contain genetic information which determines ancestral features from a father to a child, whereas chromosomes determine sex of an expected child. A mid-piece consists of cellular structures called chondriosomes – peculiar chemic accumulators. They provide semen with energy necessary for its movement because it must make a long way in order to reach ovum located in a fallopian tube. The sole function of a spermatic filament lies in transmission of semen. Its undulatory motions accelerate sperm up to 3-3,5mm per minute.
From the moment of man’s sexual maturation, semen is constantly produced in small channels of his testicles. While semen formation, diploid original male germ cells (spermatogonia) pass three division stages. Then the formed semen gets to epididymides where they accumulate. Normal mature semen has a karyomere, a mid-piece and a spermatic filament.
According to sexual health doctors a successful production of semen requires temperature of around three degrees below body temperature. Therefore, testicles (where semen is produced) are located beyond the body in scrotum. Scrotum tissues around testicles react on temperature. Low temperature makes testicles get drawn into the body, whereas high temperature induces testicles dissipate heat preventing from their temperature increase.
The process of semen formation of original male germ cells with complete complement of chromosomes (diploid germ cells) called spermatogenesis consists of several stages and lasts 74 days. Semen is produced in small channels of testicles at the rate of 10-30 milliards per month.
Formed semen is transferred to epididymides which have the form of convoluted tubes of 6mm length and are located in posterior surface of testicles. Epididymides serve as accumulators and place of further development of semen: semen created in channels need from 60 to 72 hours for maturation. In case during 2 hours there are 3-4 ejaculations, epididymides get completely empty. Their recurrent filling requires around 2 days. If ejaculation doesn’t take place, semen decays and their remnants are absorbed in testicles.
What Is the Semen Made of?
Ejaculate consists of semen and seminal fluid. Seminal fluid includes more than 30 components. Semen makes only 10-13% of ejaculate’s volume. The main components are prostatic fluid and seminal vesicle fluid. According to biological, physical and chemical properties seminal fluid represents heterogeneous fluid which occurs after combination of germ cells, secretion of accessory sex glands and secretion of epididymis.
The main part of seminal fluid:
- Prostatic excretion
- Sperm cells
- Adhesives and mucus
Seminal fluid is a real energetic cocktail containing around 80 diverse elements, such as lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes, minerals and other important substances.
Each constituent of male sperm performs its own function:
- During ejaculation proteins are transformed into amino acids. In average the number of amino acids in sperm is around 0,0125 g/ml.
- Amines (spermidine, choline, creatine, spermine). Creatine is the most valuable element, since it is contained in seminal fluid in strong concentration.
- They are contained in sperm either separately or in combination with proteins. A big percent is accounted for fructose contents – 1-5 mg/ml.
- Lipids (aliphatic acids or prostaglandins, cholesterol, phospholipids).
- Enzymes (protein-inhibiting, hydrolytic, oxidizing). They play a big role in dissolution of ejaculate. If sperm doesn’t contain enough protein-inhibiting enzymes, this may be a reason of male infertility.
- Hormones (testosterone).
- Minerals (Ma, Na, K, Ca, Zn)
What Is the Norm for Semen Volume, Color and Smell?
Semen formation starts within in the period of sexual maturation, achieves maximum at a mature age and reduces at old age. Average quantity of ejaculated sperm makes 3 grams (tea spoon), although this figure may vary from 2 to 6 grams. Each day of continence increases semen volume by 0,4 grams. During ejaculation around 1% of all accumulated sperm is released; therefore, men with high potency can have 4-6 and more ejaculations within several hours. Semen of a sound man with healthy ejaculation contains 70-80 million germ cells. Germ cells constitute around 3% of all ejaculate. The rest 97% is a secretion of prostatic gland and seminal vesicle liquid.
Color is a very important feature of semen. Normal ejaculate is milk-white or greyish-yellow. In several cases there may be found gelatinous granules. Degree of opalescence depends on the quantity of germ cells. If it is small, ejaculate is transparent. Color changes may serve as indicators of diseases. If sperm contains erythrocytes, it changes its shade into pink or red. This may be a sign of hemospermia. Yellow color may be a signal of hepatitis or appear because of intake of several vitamins. Big amount of leukocytes may paint sperm in yellow-green color. Normal semen should not contain floccules or sediment, otherwise it is considered to be pathology.
As for the smell, ejaculate has a characteristic odor often compared with chestnut smell. Semen acquires it during adjoining of secretion of prostatic gland. If a blockage of excretory duct occurs, the smell may become specific or disappear at all. If you feel slight chlorine smell, this is not the reason to worry. This is a norm. Semen may change its odor and this is a signal of a disorder. Rotten smell is an indication to pyoinflammatory process in prostatic gland and seminal vesicles. In this case all depends on microflora byproducts. Rotten smell may also occur because of long keeping of ejaculate.
Semen and Fertility
Male fertility depends on quantity and quality of semen which are influenced by many factors. Health of semen is characterized by three indicators:
- Nowadays it is stated that 1ml of semen should contain not less than 20 million sperm cells. Moreover, the volume of sperm produced during orgasm is as important as soundness of sperm cells, since only one spermatozoid is necessary for fertilization.
- Large volume of seminal fluid is not enough for fertilization. Shape and morphology of sperm cells are important for a successful impregnation. Sound spermatozoids must make not less than a one third and have an oval karyomere and a long spermatic filament by means of which they shift. Sperm cells with too big, small or deformed karyomere, underdeveloped or split filament can fertilize ovum with less probability.
- In order to reach their goal, spermatozoids must shift independently. This is highly important. According to modern medical research studies, at least half of sperm cells are agile.
Laboratory Tests for Fluids Men Should Take Regularly
Spermogram is the most popular test for seminal fluid:
- Semen is collected in a container and given to a lab technician to examine it under the microscope and estimate its volume, shape, physical configuration, agility of sperm cells.
- While checking the quantity of spermatozoids, lab tech will also study concentration of sperm cells (more or less than 20 million of semen per 1 ml of seminal fluid). This can be done at home by means of special test.
- In case the quantity of sperm cells is low, a doctor will analyze levels of follicle-stimulating and galactopoietic hormones.
- Urine analysis may also be applied in finding of blood cells-indicators of possible infection.
Semen allergy is a specific reaction of immune system of a female organism on male sperm. The first cases of such reactions appeared at the beginning of the 1950s, but were very rare. But nowadays this type of allergy spreads rapidly among women. This is connected with the fact that seminal fluid is a biological substance containing xenogenic for female organism protein, which is capable to become a main irritator. Fortunately, this semen allergy is not frequently met.
Symptoms of semen allergy
- Itch in vagina, erythema, excitation or even genital oedema;
- Sneeze, blear-eyedness, nasal blockage, runny nose or even respiratory tract oedema;
- Urticarial fever, febrility, apsychia.
Methods of treatment:
- Sexual contacts with a person- allergen source should be stopped immediately.
- Usage of condoms as a barrier between seminal fluid and female sexual organs. But it won’t solve the problem of natural impregnation. In order to conceive the couples are advised to resort to introduce “cleared” semen.
- Intake of antihistaminic medications
- In order to prove that this is an allergic reaction a specific method of hyposensitization is applied. It lies in introduction of a small amount of allergen in woman’s organism the quantity of which is gradually increased. After the course of hyposensitization the woman is recommended to make a pause in sexual life for more than 5-7 days.
All in all, semen allergy is not a myth, but quite a real phenomenon. Fortunately it is rare. If you are diagnosed this disagreeable disease, you shouldn’t panic. First of all you need to consult your attending doctor to cope with this problem.
Viagra and Semen Volume / Quality
Medical scientists tested Viagra and proved that this medication didn’t take an adverse effect on male semen. Scientists added various concentrations in 85 specimens of sperm causing an increased agility of them. A small dose of Viagra not only revives semen, but also prevents from occurrence of the so-called acrosomal reaction connected with unsuccessful conceiving.
Thus, PDE5 inhibitors do not affect the volume and quality of semen and its possibility of penetration into ovum. Viagra enhances semen agility in small concentrations but takes an opposite effect in used in large quantities.
Smart Canadian Pharmacy MD – www.smartcanadianpharmacy.com