Desire and sexual arousal continued...
Women may have some, or complete, loss of
vaginal sensation and muscle control. Both men and women can achieve orgasm,
although it may not be as intense as before the SCI.
Your sex life will probably be
different after your spinal cord injury, but sexual intimacy is still possible and encouraged.
Your rehabilitation center may have a counselor or other health professional
who specializes in sexual health after an SCI. He or she may be able to help
you and your partner with these issues.
Treating sexual problems
Always talk to a doctor familiar with SCIs before using
any medicines or devices. Discuss the location of your
injury, possible side effects, and any other medical conditions you have.
also need to watch for
autonomic dysreflexia, which causes sudden very high blood pressure. If not treated promptly and
correctly, it may lead to
stroke, and even death. These complications are rare, but it is important to know the
symptoms and watch for them.
Men who can't get
an erection can use the treatments for
erection problems (erectile dysfunction).
- Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5 inhibitors) such
as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis).
But PDE-5 inhibitors can be dangerous for certain men.
- Medicines you inject into the penis, such as
alprostadil (Caverject) and papaverine (Pavabid).
- Medicine you insert into the penis, such as
alprostadil (prostaglandin E1).
- Vacuum devices, which help blood flow into the
- Penile implants, which are rigid or semirigid
cylinders implanted into the penis.
- Vibrators made for men.
For information on the treatment of erection problems,
see the topic
Women who have
problems being aroused and have little or no vaginal lubrication may use:
- Sildenafil (Viagra), a medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It can also help women become aroused.
- A water-based lubricant, such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly. Do not use oil-based
Both men and women can use sensual exercises that you do with your partner to find areas of your body that react to stimulation.