Of course you’ve measured your penis, but you’ve probably never taken the steps to actually quantify how your after-sex eruptions compare to that of other dudes. But still, it might have crossed your mind—is the amount you are ejaculating normal?

Lots of guys worry about whether the volume of their ejaculate is cause for concern, says Daniel Williams, M.D., an associate professor in the department of urology and director of male reproductive medicine and microsurgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

And because men don’t actually measure it, it can be difficult to even gauge what they’re sending off. According to parameters developed by the World Health Organization, the average volume of ejaculate for men is 3.7 ml, or roughly three-quarters of a teaspoonful.

Even if your eruptions don’t quite hit that benchmark, you still might be perfectly normal. But if you’re only producing 1.5 ml or less of the sticky stuff—less than one-third of a teaspoon—that’s when you may need further evaluation.

“Levels under that—or having a noticeable change— can raise your suspicion that a man may have an underlying issue that’s contributing to the low volume of his ejaculate,” says Dr. Williams.

Is Low Semen Volume Definitely a Problem?

Just as erectile function declines with age, ejaculation volume generally follows a similar course, says Dr. Williams. So if you’ve been noticing a gradual decrease in the amount that you’re spurting, say, over the last 5 or 10 years, it might just be a normal, age-related decline. And this can actually start in any decade of life.

“In some men, it can start in their 20s and 30s, but most men may not notice any changes until later on,” he says.

What’s more concerning is if you’ve just noticed a stark difference in the amount of your squirt. This can signal something else is going on.

What Causes Low Semen Volume?

There are a number of underlying conditions that can result in a low ejaculation volume. You’re probably most familiar with something called hypogonadism, the official term for low testosterone. Along with making it hard to, well, get hard, low T can also decrease the amount of ejaculate you’re producing.

You may also feel other nonspecific symptoms like fatigue, weakness, or trouble concentrating—all factors which should prompt your doc to check you for low testosterone, Dr. Williams says.

One condition you may not have thought about, though, is diabetes. If your blood sugar has been haywire for a while, it can damage the nerves and your blood vessels. This can make it harder for the nerve signals to communicate, which may result in erectile dysfunction and ejaculation problems.

 

Other neurological problems, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, can also cause low semen volume in a similar way. You may also notice a decrease in the volume of your ejaculations if you have an enlarged prostate, take meds like alpha blockers—which treat high blood pressure or urinary problems—or if you’ve recently had an abdominal surgery.

What Should You Do If You Think You’re Spurting Less?

Feeling like you’re dribbling when you should be dousing can throw any guy for a loop. In fact, according to a recent Brazilian study, men who were unsatisfied with the amount of their ejaculate scored lower on measures of psychological and relationship health than guys who were unconcerned with it.

“Some men do identify with their sexual function and perceive their ejaculatory function as sort of a marker of their virility, or a mark of their manliness,” says Dr. Williams. “If they see that their sexual function has diminished, that can impact other domains of their lives.”

So it’s not something you should stress about silently—some of the causes of low semen volume can be treated. That’s why if you notice a significant decrease in the volume of your ejaculation, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a urologist so you can be evaluated for ejaculatory dysfunction, Dr. Williams says.

This may include tests for some of the potential causes, such as low testosterone or diabetes. Your doc will also evaluate your medical and surgical history to see if any conditions or medications may be contributing to your low semen volume.