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Why does sperm smell like fish?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Have you noticed that your sperm or genital area has an unpleasant smell similar to that of fish, and you do not know what it could be due to? It is essential to pay attention to any unusual symptoms that occur in the intimate area and go to a doctor to find out what the cause is and thus be able to initiate the appropriate treatment. And it is that behind that fishy smell in the male genitalia, there can be different factors or conditions, such as poor hygiene habits, bacterial or fungal infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. Continue reading this FastlyHealarticle to find out the exact answer to why sperm smell like fish. We also show you the treatments to follow in each case.

Fishy odor in male genitalia due to accumulation of bacteria

One of the factors that can cause a foul smell in the male genitalia that resembles that of fish is the accumulation of bacteria under the foreskin. The skin cells of the foreskin end up dying over time, and these dead cells accumulate under the foreskin, which in combination with moisture, sweat, and urine residue, can cause the area to end up giving off this foul smell. For this reason and to avoid it, it is essential to maintain good daily genital hygiene.

Even though genital odor can appear in all men, this accumulation of bacteria that we are talking about is much more frequent in those men who are not circumcised and have an intact foreskin.

The fishy smell on the glans from fungal infection

Another cause that can answer the question of “why does sperm smell fishy” is having developed a fungal infection in the glans penisIn general, the fungus responsible for this is Candida albicans, which, when it proliferates and multiplies excessively in the genital area, gives rise to a fungal infection that causes the following symptoms in the case of men:

  • Abnormal discharge from the penis is white, thicker, and may have a foul odor.
  • The appearance of red and white spots on the glans.
  • Redness
  • Itch.
  • Irritation.
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse and urination.
  • Dry or cracked penis skin.

Yeast on the male genitalia is more common in men who have had sex with a woman who has a vaginal fungal infection but can also appear due to a weakened immune system. Other risk factors that can contribute to its appearance do not having a circumcised penis, abusing sugar in the diet, being diabetic, using aggressive intimate hygiene products, and being overweight or obese.

STDs that can cause fishy sperm

Among the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) that can cause a foul smell in the penis and make the sperm smell bad, we find trichomoniasis. The infection is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, which can be transmitted by having sex with a person who has contracted the parasite. Most patients with trichomoniasis do not present symptoms, and in other cases, their appearance is late, so it is so important to undergo routine medical examinations.

Men who do have symptoms of trichomoniasis may have the following:

  • Abnormal penile secretions.
  • Itching and irritation in the penis.
  • Burning after ejaculation.
  • Pain or discomfort during urination.

Although it is a rare symptom, trichomoniasis causes prostatitis or epididymitis in some men. The latter is the inflammation of the duct that connects the testicle with the vas deferens.

The fishy smell after intercourse due to bacterial vaginosis

Suppose the sperm smells fishy, or this horrible smell is perceived in the male genital area after sexual intercourse. In that case, it may be due to the female partner suffering from bacterial vaginosis. This is a widespread vaginal infection in women between 15 and 44 years old. Although it is not a sexually transmitted disease, coming into contact with vaginal fluids during sexual intercourse could later lead to that nasty smell in the intimate parts of a man.

Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection that occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria that usually reside in balance in the vagina. This growth can be caused by having multiple sexual partners, using the IUD, douching, etc. For its definitive cure, the woman must start an antibiotic treatment that eliminates the microorganisms that cause the infection—otherwise, the risk of contracting some sexually transmitted disease increases. You can see more information about this condition by consulting the article Bacterial Vaginosis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.

Strong odor from glans due to accumulated smegma

Finally, the accumulation of smegma in the space between the glans and the foreskin can also cause the sensation that the sperm smells fishy and that the male genitalia has a very strong or unpleasant odor. Smegma is a white discharge of semen remains, prostate secretions, dead cells, etc. If it accumulates and solidifies, it can end up causing a foul smell and even irritation and inflammation in the glans penis. However, it is possible to avoid their accumulation with correct intimate hygiene and appropriate treatments.

It is important to note that not all men produce smegma, nor does it accumulate in all, but its appearance is related to hygiene habits and other factors such as the nature of the penis, as it is much more frequent in men with phimosis than they have not been circumcised.

Treatment for fishy smell in male genitalia

Now that we know what the possible causes of sperm smelling like fish are, let’s see what treatments are available in each case since the treatment will depend in each point on the factor or condition that is causing the bad smell:

  • Fungi on the glans: treatment with antifungal drugs should be started. Typically, antifungal creams are prescribed directly to the affected penile skin. However, oral antifungal treatment can be prescribed if the infection is very severe.
  • Trichomoniasis: an antibiotic treatment is necessary, usually tinidazole or metronidazole. The partner of a person with trichomoniasis will also need to undergo appropriate medical tests and receive the same treatment if they have contracted the infection. It is advisable to suspend sexual intercourse until the disease has been completely cured.
  • Smegma accumulation: if the collection of smegma is due to an overproduction of the sebaceous glands in the area, the problem can be solved by using some creams designed to balance the activity of these glands or antibiotic medications if the doctor considers it necessary. Men with phimosis must correct it by circumcision.

Good intimate hygiene

To prevent smegma from accumulating and prevent foul odor in the male genitalia, it is essential to maintain correct daily intimate hygiene. For this, tips such as the following should be put into practice:

  • Wash the penis daily with warm water and a neutral pH soap, focusing on the covered areas.
  • Avoid aggressive soaps or personal hygiene products with alcohol, fragrances, etc.
  • Dry the genital area very well after showering or bathing.
  • Wear cotton underwear.

In addition, it is essential to use a condom in all sexual relations to prevent infections and sexually transmitted diseases, avoid high-risk sexual practices, and go to the urologist in the case of perceiving significant changes in the color, smell, or texture of the sperm.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why does sperm smell like fish, we recommend that you enter our category of Male reproductive system.

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