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What Does Semen Smell Like? What Does It Say About Your Health?

What Does Semen Smell Like

Generally, semen smells like bleach, chlorine, or ammonia. Semen is about 99 percent of other enzymes, compounds, minerals, proteins, and 1 percent sperm. Almost all of these liquids are alkaline, which means they have a pH of more than 7 on the pH scale. Semen helps the sperm to move and travel to reach the eggs. However, the liquid present in semen is the reason behind the odor of semen. If your semen has an unusual smell, what it says about your health is discussed below. 

Does Semen Smell Like?

The substances are available in the semen influence the smell of the seminal fluid. Moreover, it is also influenced by your hygiene, diet, and sex life. Particular food can give your semen a sweet taste and scent. But drinking or eating acidic food substances can make it smell weird. Some conditions and infections can affect its odor too.

  • Semen has smelled like ammonia, bleach, or chlorine

Usually, semen smells like chlorine, bleach, or ammonia. As semen contains 1 percent of sperm, and 99 percent of other substances are proteins, enzymes, compounds, and minerals. All of these semen liquids are alkaline, with a ph of 7.2 to 8.0 on the pH scale. Some of the alkaline substances include in the seminal fluid are:

  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Copper

Semen liquid is typically alkaline, and a healthy pH is considered anything between 7.2 to 8.0. When your body has a balanced pH level, your seminal fluid can smell like chlorine, bleach, or other alkali substances.

  • Semen has smelled like fish or rotten eggs or is generally foul

If your semen is having smell like rotten egg, fishy, or any bad odor when your semen is not healthy. Consuming such food like garlic and meat or drinking liquor or caffeine a lot can make your seminal fluid smell weird. Try to reduce the consumption of these foods and see if your semen odor returns to its typical smell after a few days; if yes, then there is nothing to worry about. if the odor persists, this could be the sign of an infection that is sexually transmitted or may be due to other conditions:

  • Gonorrhea – This infection caused by bacteria can be the burning sensation when your testicle swelling, urinating, and green, yellow, or white penile discharge.
  • Trichomoniasis – This infection can cause burning and itching, and stinking penile discharge as well.
  • Prostatitis – This bacterial infection can cause inflammation to the prostate gland. The symptoms contain bloody or cloudy urine, pain while urinating, more frequent urinating, or pain throughout ejaculation. 

What Can Affect The Semen Smell?

Several factors influence the chemical balance, the concentration of various bacteria of the body, and other fluids that mix up with semen and change your semen scent.

  • Circumcision

The concentration of skin oils, sweat, dead skin cells, smegma, and bacteria present under your foreskin can mingle with seminal fluid during ejaculation; this way, it can change your semen smell means you are uncircumcised. 

However, if you are circumcised, the oils and sweat can still affect your semen smell, but generally, they do not create that much high concentration, as there is no substance under your foreskin.

  • Dried perspiration or urine

Urine and sweat include a high level of alkaline substances like sodium. After the urine or sweat dried on your skin, the sodium present of the skin can mix with your semen and make it smell like chlorine or bleach. Although urine and sweat contain several substances like chloride, magnesium, and potassium, which can also react with your semen will alter its smell.

  • Diet

Whatever you drink and eat contains nutrients, minerals, and other chemicals that can mingle with your seminal fluid. 

Some diets make your seminal fluid taste and smell sweeter like:

  • Vegetables like such as celery, broccoli, and wheatgrass.
  • Fruits like papaya, oranges, and pineapple.
  • Sweet spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg

Some diets make your semen liquid more bitter like:

  • Alcohol drinks
  • Asparagus
  • Meats
  • Leafy greens like spinach
  • Dairy products 
  • Cabbage
  • Caffeine

Some of the food mentioned above are good for health, so do not stop consuming them unless you are concerned about your seminal fluid smell. Moreover, you can add more spices and fruits to your diet to keep things balanced.

  • Ejaculation Frequency

A moderate frequency of ejaculation is good for health for those who have a normal sperm count. However, a person with higher ejaculation and low sperm count can cause their semen smell pungent.

  • Medicines, Smoking, Drugs, Health Issues

As with coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and other things like drugs and smoking can affect the smell of your sweat, and they may mix up with your semen. Continuous consumption of these products can cause the taste of your seminal fluid more sour and bitter. If you are having any health issues that can also alter the smell of your semen.

  • Dehydration

Dehydration can also alter the smell of your semen, as semen contains water in its fluid. If you haven’t drunk enough water in the past few days, it can cause your seminal fluid to smell weird.

How Can I Change Fishy Or Bad Smelling Sperm?

Your hygiene, lifestyle, and diet can affect your semen smell. To maintain the alkali smell of your semen, you can do the following things:

  • Maintain a healthy diet by eating plenty of amount of vegetables and fruits.
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • Bath daily, always clean foreskin underneath your penis, if applicable.
  • Have protective sex by using condoms.

See a doctor if you observe an unusual smell, especially after having sex with a new partner. The doctor will determine the cause and will tell you what to do next. 


Semen smells vary in every person; the persisting smell of seminal fluid can sign a medical issue or bacterial infection or sexually transmitted condition. So do see your doctor if the problem persists.