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).
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.
Fertility in men
Most men with SCIs have poor sperm quality and have trouble
ejaculating. To have children, men with SCIs can use
penile stimulation to obtain sperm for
assistive reproductive technologies. Vibrators are available that are specially made to induce ejaculation in
men with SCIs.
Vibrators can damage your skin. Use them carefully if you don't
have feeling in your penis.
If vibrator stimulation isn't successful, rectal probe
electroejaculation (RPE) is an option. In this procedure, your doctor inserts
an electrical probe into the
rectum to stimulate ejaculation.
Fertility in women
usually won't affect a woman's ability to get pregnant. You may have a brief pause in your
menstrual cycle after an SCI. But after your period
returns, you will probably be able to get pregnant.
If you are
sexually active after your injury, make sure to use birth control if you don't want
to get pregnant.
If you do want to get pregnant, make sure to be aware of
the special medical, psychological, and social issues involved in an SCI
pregnancy. Work with doctors who understand these issues.
Common concerns and complications during pregnancy include:1