The Basics of Semen pH

Semen isn’t just a vehicle to transport sperm. It’s basically like a giant bouncer/ personal assistant/nanny for sperm cells. When produced correctly, semen shields sperm from a sometimes hostile environment, makes its journey to the egg a little easier, and provides nutrition to the delicate cells for the incredibly difficult task ahead of them. Since it has to do so many different tasks, semen is comprised of several different fluids and factors that can help sperm do their jobs. One of these factors is semen pH (how acidic the semen is).

Understanding pH

To understand semen pH, we need to first understand the basics of pH (get it?). The abbreviation “pH” stands for power of Hydrogen. The “H” is always capitalized because it is an element symbol. pH is used as a scale to indicated how acidic or basic (alkaline) a solution is. It ranges from 0 to 14, meaning that anything with a pH of 7 is neutral, anything above 7 is basic and anything under 7 is acidic. So as the pH number goes down, acidity increases, and vice versa. Here’s a more detailed description of pH, as well as a scale for reference.

Why is Semen’s pH Important?

To look at why semen pH is important, we first have to look at the other half of the equation: the vagina. In an ideal world, vaginal pH maintains a balance of good and bad bacteria, which helps prevent infections. However, to protect from bad bacteria and maintain a healthy balance, the vaginal environment tends to be slightly acidic. Vaginal pH levels also change frequently, depending on the time in her cycle, sexual activity, even her diet and exercise.

So what do her pH levels have to do with your swimmers? Like we said, your semen exists largely to protect your sperm from the outside environment. This includes protection from a potentially damaging acidic environment. To maintain a balanced environment for the sensitive sperm cells, semen should be fairly basic so that it can counteract the generally acidic environment of the vagina.

Testing pH

You know those little strips that people use to determine the chlorine levels in their pool? That’s called pH paper and it can also be used to test the pH of semen. In a lab, the technician will let the semen sample sit for 30 to 60 minutes and then place a small amount on this paper. This color change in the paper is indicative of the pH level of the sample. Some labs will also use a pH meter-a device that provides a numerical value of pH.

What’s a Normal pH Level?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average pH of semen should range between 7.2 and 8. This is just slightly basic, making it the perfect protective environment for sperm. If your semen has a pH below 7 (acidic), it is acidic. This could impair your chances at conception, and be a sign of a blockage of your seminal vesicles. If your semen has a pH above 8 (basic), this can impair you sperm motility and be a sign of an infection.

What to Do About It

It’s entirely possible to change the pH of your semen. Here are a few tips to get a healthier pH:
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Eat a balanced diet: We know the temptation to eat junk is out there, but it’s important to maintain a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins. Here’s a guide to eating a fertility friendly diet.
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Take supplements: It can be hard to get all of the nutrients you need for healthy sperm. That’s why there are now several fertility blend supplements designed specifically for men.
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Avoid toxins: Exposure to dangerous chemicals (including smoking and drinking) can cause highly acidic semen. Cut back on the smokes and keep an eye on the chemicals you’re exposed to on a daily basis.

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42 Comments

  1. J Cab November 10, 2017 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Hi there, I’m not sure if you are still answering posts on here. But my PH on my SA came back at 8. I don’t believe I have any infection but we are TTCing and want our best chance. Any suggestions? I take a male multi, eat well, don’t drink excessively, try to move when I can, I don’t cook my balls with heat…. just this PH issue!

    • Sara SDx November 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      8 isn’t a problem. Sounds like you are doing a great job taking care of yourself.
      How are the other numbers?

  2. Iqbal October 14, 2017 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Alkaline ph ka kia mtlb hy??r agr sperm activeness 1 prcnt ho tu??

  3. Candace October 13, 2017 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I have reaccurinh infections after sex with my by. I can normally control it with boric acid pills I insert vaginally however would it help his pH levels if he got a vasectomy? We are desperate to find an answer cause it makes me not want to do anything knowing an infection is coming.

    • Sara SDx October 19, 2017 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure of the answer on this one. I haven’t read about pH levels post vasectomy. I don’t have any reason to believe it would change anything.
      Have you talked to ob-gyn about this?

    • cindy November 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      My husband had a vasectomy about 4 years ago and I still suffer with BV after intercourse. It’s embarrassing and frustrating. We have been married 14 years and its always been a problem. I’m still searching for a solution.

  4. Bonnie September 8, 2017 at 5:44 am - Reply

    How can I ingest acidic semen when acid reflux is already a major issue for me?

    • Sara SDx September 15, 2017 at 12:40 am - Reply

      acidic semen isn’t typically as acidic as many acidic foods. If it bothers you, take some of your reflux medication ahead of time

  5. Isabel August 29, 2017 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Is It a myth that there are mens who only produce one type of sperm because there are many males in their family or girls?

    • Sara SDx August 31, 2017 at 6:48 pm - Reply

      Yes, it is a myth. Every man makes an equal number of boy sperm and girl sperm. It is just chance if a family ends up with lots of boys or girls.

      • Isabel September 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        thank you

  6. Thomas August 26, 2017 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Hi,

    I recently received my semen analysis. And all parameters were normal except the PH, vitality, and round cells.

    My ph was 7.0, vitality was 45% (total motility was 48% I might add), and round cells was 2-4. My overall count was 69 million per mL and 200 million overall.

    Do you see the pH, vitality, and round cells as an issue? A prior analysis showed these all with normal, and now they aren’t. Please let me know your thoughts.

    • Sara SDx August 28, 2017 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      I don’t really think those are big issues and wouldn’t worry about them unless they were way outside the normal range which they don’t seem to be. If you have any symptoms that make you concerned about a potential infection, you could get tested for that just to make sure. But otherwise I wouldn’t be concerned about this.

  7. Barry July 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    I think my sperm is quite acidic, after I have ejaculated inside my girlfriend she often says that my sperm has a peculiar aroma to it. How can I improve the ph level and smell of my semen.

    • Sara SDx August 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Sometimes diet can have an impact. Maybe research foods that contribute to aroma of semen.
      Also, infections can cause a change in smell. If the odor is really stinky or the color is abnormal, you might go check for infection.

  8. […] ingredients to protect and support sperm on their journey. Among these are a substance to increase alkalinity of semen (to combat acidity of the vagina), a proprietary blend of simple sugars, carbohydrates and […]

  9. Raphael June 11, 2017 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Please is there a drug to regulate high semen pH.If yes,please I want to know because I have been married to my wife for 3years and she has never been pregnant.I went for semen analysis and I was told I am having high sperm pH of 8.5.

    • Sara SDx August 13, 2017 at 1:54 am - Reply

      Its not too high. Doesn’t usually impact conception too much. You can try preseed if you are worried about it.

      What other numbers came back?

  10. Amahx March 21, 2017 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Hi.
    I would like to know the cause of acid taste of sperm, does it prevent fertility? I’m also worried about my partner’s sperm that keeps pouring out after sex, no matter how long i lay still, once I get up and move about, it all comes out. And we are really trying for babies. Please help.

    • Sara SDx April 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      It is normal for some of the semen to spill out. The sperm are able to swim up and into you before it comes out.
      How long have you been trying?
      Has he had a sperm test?

  11. Dman December 15, 2016 at 8:01 am - Reply

    Ok i have this symptom burning while i ejaculate and i test my semen its 9.0 i have the test strips too alkaline its indicating means i have infections? My GF was tested positive in HPV but after few months she got her pap test all negative…I want some advice i have a high deductible and also anyone knows about bacteria Serratia Spp? I saw my urologist and saying to me nothing to worry about the serratia spp its not an std and not an infection.

    • Sara SDx December 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      How did you find that you had serratia? Was it a lab test?
      Did your urologist check for urinary tract infection? Do an exam?
      Do you still have symptoms?

  12. Dman December 15, 2016 at 7:56 am - Reply

    I have this symtoms

  13. […] sperm for transport), and seminal fluid. Fosnight said the typical pH of semen is somewhere around 7-8, or slightly alkaline. The vagina, on the other hand, has a pH between 3-5, or slightly acidic, so […]

  14. Adrian Prieto December 2, 2016 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Hi, can you tell the acidity by just looking at your semen? Because my last time I ejaculated it came out with a tint of yellowish it had been a while since last time but don’t recall it coming out like that with tint of yellow… I had read about acidic sperm a bit ago so I had/already started to stay away from highly acidic eating/foods as well as phone in my pocket….

    Could it be just getting rid of my acidity that my body contained?

    • Sara SDx December 13, 2016 at 6:05 am - Reply

      Color does vary and I suspect diet may impact it to some degree. But this is all pretty normal and shouldn’t cause concern. Yellow tint is pretty common and healthy.

  15. Alex September 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Some months back i made love to my girlfriend and came inside her and for the first time she complained that my sperm burns inside her and now i notice that my sperm is yellowish…. please what do you is the cause of this and what can i do to put an end to it.

    • Sara SDx October 4, 2016 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Sorry for the delay in responding to this. Is it still happening? She might want to test for a yeast or other type of infection.
      Yellowish color is normal for semen. If it has a smell to it, you should consider testing for infection.

    • Amber November 12, 2016 at 1:34 am - Reply

      If you haven’t already been checked by a doctor, I can tell you now that you definitely need to go see one…. If your semen burns her when you ejaculate inside of her, then it’s either an infection/std.. like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.. That is the first sign of an STD!

  16. Adaile August 20, 2016 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    So during sex recently my boyfriend has been ejaculating inside me because I have an IUD now. Everything was fine until last night when he did it I started to burn a bit. We went for round two without cleaning off or out and as soon as I put him inside he said it hurt. I asked him if it felt like it was burning/stinging and he said yeah. I sat down beside him and the burning got worse so I washed off. The only cause I could think of was a change in his semen. Do you have an explaination for this?

    • Sara SDx August 26, 2016 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure — it caused pain to both of you? After washing did the pain subside? Have you tried again since?

    • Amber November 12, 2016 at 1:29 am - Reply

      I have been in the medical field for quite some time, and I know exactly what you are talking about.. I can tell you now that if it burns when he ejaculates inside of you then there is a infection/std going on.. Now either you cheated and gave it to him, and now it burns when he comes in you, or either he cheated and got an std from the other person and now it’s being transmitted to you.. either way, it’s an STD.. believe me, bc semen should not burn when inside the vagina.. And if it burns him then the both of you definitely need to be checked!

      • Iroquois Plissken February 10, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

        I hate people who make statements like “listen to me bc I’ve worked in the medical field for a long time”. Well,are you a doctor and did you spend 4 years specializing in obstetrics and gynecology? No. Well then shut up, or at the very least inform people you really have no idea what you are talking about. Physicisn assistants, nurses and even non-specialized doctors ARE NOT qualified to diagnose STD’s based on anecdotal evidence. Anyone who claims to know exactly what you are suffering from based on such evidence clearly has no experience practicing medicine, otherwise they would know better than to make such blanket statements..

  17. greg August 10, 2016 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    My partner gets recurring Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and she has had plenty of other partners and never had a problem before. I’ve read that sometimes it’s the Ph of the seman that causes this and some mixture of her ph state and my seman may be causing it. So is there a test I can ask my doctor for to see if this is the case?

    • Sara SDx August 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      Let me clarify the question to make sure I understand — You are wondering if semen pH is contributing to / causing partner’s BV?

      • Reba November 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

        Sara, I’d like an answer to this question. If my husband’s pH is contributing to episodes of bv, how can I alter his pH?

        • Sara SDx December 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply

          It isn’t typical that husband pH contribute to BV. Semen can make contribute to odors caused by BV and uncircumcised men can make it more difficult to fully get rid of BV. Have you been to the doctor to get medication?

  18. Pepper August 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    After coming inside my wife the next few days it has a smell to it the doc says it’s probably the semen ph is this at all possible that our phone levels cause this?

    • Sara SDx August 22, 2016 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      Did the doctor check for infection?

  19. […] parameters such as volume, pH level, viscosity, liquefaction time, fructose, presence of white blood cells, and vitality are also […]

  20. Ace January 3, 2016 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Hi, not related to the topic, but a couple or so yrs ago, I once mistakenly exposed my testicles to extremely hot water. Do you think it could lead to infertility ? Because it keeps popping up and makes me worried. I ain’t married yet, and I can still ejaculate.

    • April Culver January 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Ace,
      If this was only a one-time occurrence that happened a few years ago, I doubt it would majorly affect your current fertility. In general it takes about 72 days for your body to get rid of the damaged sperm and create new, healthy sperm. However, if you’re still worried about your fertility, you may want to take our fertility risk assessment– it’s free and only takes about 10 minutes, and you’ll get personalized tips about how your lifestyle could be affecting your fertility.

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