The Basics of Semen pH

Is semen an acid or a base? Could your semen pH be impacting your fertility? Get the facts about semen pH and learn what you can do to improve it.

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:
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.
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.
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.

74 thoughts on “The Basics of Semen pH”

  1. Hi sorry to bother. I don’t usually go on forums but I have an issue in that when I ejaculate in my girlfriend it burns her inside but only during ejaculation. We don’t know what is causing this but maybe thought it could have to do with PH

    1. Could be pH. I’ve heard of other’s having this issue. She might be allergic or have another issue. Might be worth a conversation with doctor

  2. Husband had genital tract infection causing severe low motility at 16%, agglutination (clumping) and 5 million white blood cell count. 2 weeks of Bactrim antibiotic and white blood cells and clumping are gone and motility increased to 45% with 2+ progression. Is this good? His ph is still 8.4 but infection is gone.

    1. Sounds like things are moving in the right direction. May continue to improve for a little while.

  3. What are your sources for saying nicotine can make semen more acidic? I can’t find anything when I research the topic.

    1. Hey brad,

      I was poking around on research on this (I didn’t write this article and the person who did isn’t available to ask)…. I don’t see pH specifically measured in the articles that I quickly was able to review, but there was a significant alternation to the chemical make up of semen of smokers vs. non-smokers in some studies. Not likely due to nicotine but to tar from smoking. Chewing tabacco didn’t seem to have the same impact.

      Here are some studies to look at:

      I can dig further if you like. I just spent a few minutes investigating.

    1. There isn’t a ton of research on this but likely. It isn’t common for semen to be acidic. Did you get acidity measured?

  4. A pH of 6.8 and 3% norm morphology a cause for concern? I am 41 and have been trying to have kids for 4 months.

    1. What were the other numbers? These are not necessarily concerning on their own but in combination with other numbers, they might be.

  5. Hi,
    I have tested my semen
    Which gives high ph 8.5
    Sperm count 60 million
    Motility 50 percent

    What should I do to reduce ph and motility become higher.

    Thanks in Advance

  6. Hello dear , let’s me know about my test result … pls guide me accordingly … about each test name

    Gross examination
    Test name. Result ref range
    Vol. 02 ml. 1.5
    Consistency thick variable
    Ph. 8.1. 7.2
    I worry about ph which is 8.1 and consistency which is thick ….

    Appearance: greyish-white homogenous
    PH: 8.0
    Liquefaction: within 1hour
    Volume: 2.7 MLS
    Motility 1hour 85% actively motile,5% sluggish motile, 10% non motile
    3hour 65% actively motile, 15% sluggishly motile, 20% non motile
    6 hour 40% actively motile, 25% sluggishly motile, 35% non motile
    WBC: 5-8
    RBC: NIL
    COUNT: 46X10

  8. My husbands PH came back at 8.5, he did have a cold at the time of his analysis, could that have caused the high ph? All his other numbers came back great. Any recommendations to try besides preseed? We already do that.

    1. If the other numbers were good I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Preseed is a nice precaution. How long have you been trying?

  9. Hi,

    I am tired of searching for answers on the web and hopeful to get an answer here.

    My semen test results has yielded Ph Value of 6.8 and immobility at 95% the rest of the results are pretty normal like Sperm count,sperm shapes.,…. The doctor has also said that Coli infection is present in the semen. He said nothing to worry at the moment and may be the immobility is due to the coli infection. He prescribed antibiotics (200mg of Doxycycline ) for 10 days and asked to retake the semen test.

    Are there any chances again,
    1) to get the Ph Value normal.
    2) Will the mobility improve after taking antibiotics.
    3) How bad is the coli infection found in sperm test. Is it curable.

    Most importantly will I regain my Fertility again ? Thanks for your answers.

    1. Deep breath.

      The antibiotics should improve the pH and the sperm motility.
      Infections are usually 100% treatable with antibiotics.

      I would recommend re-testing sperm 1 month after you complete the antibiotics. Take a multivitamin to help your sperm recover from the infection.
      If you’d like more help, feel free to reach out.

      Good luck, buddy

  10. My partner is diagnosed severe low sperm count and we’ve been seeking for solution for 5yrs now but to no avail. pls can u help suggest druges he need to take.
    pls urgent responds. Am so tired of d whole thing and at d Virge of giving up

  11. My friend/sperm donor recently had his sperm frozen for us to try to use to conceive. His semen ph was 8.7, and though his sperm numbers/motility were good before freezing, he had very low motile cells numbers after the freeze. I’m wondering if his high ph could be the reason the sperm didn’t freeze well. He has no STD’s and no infections that he’s aware of. Is this ph a concern? And a likely reason the sperm didn’t survive the freeze? I’m also wondering if washing the sperm pre-freeze (thus removing the seminal fluid) would remove the problem of a too-alkaline ph. Thank you!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

  14. 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?

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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?

  18. 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.

    1. 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?

  19. 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.

    1. 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?

  20. 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?

    1. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

  22. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. 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..

  23. 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?

      1. 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?

        1. 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?

      2. Hello I keep going to the doctor for a discharge every time I go the doctor always asks if I have changed any type of soap, shampoo etc. He always states my ph balance is off and he gives me meds. It always clears out but I am starting to notice that when my husband releases inside me I start to get a smell. Can it be his sperm causing my ph to go off? Is it an infection he has?

        1. It doesn’t hurt to get him tested.

          I feel like other people have posted about similar issues. I don’t know of any research about this but maybe someone else will comment with what their experiences were…

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

    1. 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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