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Sexual Dysfunction

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Sexual Dysfunction Due to Spine Problems: Definition, Symptoms, Treatments

What is Sexual Dysfunction and How does it affect people with Spinal Problems?

Sexual dysfunction, also known in names such as sexual malfunction, sexual disorder or erectile dysfunction in a male is a difficulty people face when they undergo sexual activity. Sexual dysfunction. This problem can prevent the people engaging in the so-called sexual activity to experience any sort of satisfaction or arousal. The sexual response cycle, as you may or may not know has four phases, namely: Excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Any difficulty getting into one of these stages can be an indication of sexual dysfunction.

But what most people don’t know is that sexual dysfunction can be caused by spinal problems. 

So after hearing that statement, you may ask yourself: Does having spinal problems affect my sexual function? Will I expect any physical changes to come my way, will I still be able to satisfy my partner with what’s down there?

Well, to answer your question, yes, it will certainly affect your sexual function and you will have to expect a lot of physical changes to come your way. As most people say: Having sex after having spinal problems will feel like having sex for the first time. Having an SCI or Spinal Cord Injury will certainly affect your sexual function, as much as it has affected your bowel and bladder function. 

In recent studies over the years, it has been found out that men under the age of 50 years that has experienced lumbar spine disease, about 34% of those numbers also had sexual dysfunction. And although the link between spine problems and sexual dysfunction has long been under observance, the mechanisms and the cause as to why has still been a subject of mystery and remains largely under speculation.

What are the most common Symptoms associated with Sexual Dysfunction due to Spinal Problems?

Some of the most common symptoms that can be expected when you have had sexual dysfunction due to spinal problems are:

  • Decreased Libido- libido, or most often known as sex drive can be a common symptom of sexual dysfunction. This can be characterized by a reduced sexual desire and an overall reluctance to engage in any sexual activity.
  • Trouble getting an erection- for men, ED or Erectile Dysfunction can be a very common symptom of sexual dysfunction due to spinal problems. This is characterized by difficulty in getting an erection or a difficulty of sustaining it for too long. 
  • Reduced or Altered Genital Sensations- this symptom can be characterized by a reduced feeling of sensation for the person affect whenever engaging in sexual activities. A person will be affected by sexual dysfunction due to spinal problems will literally feel nothing, not even arousal or pain when engaging in sexual activity. For women, an altered genital sensation may mean dryness in the vagina. Usually, the vagina becomes wet during sexual intercourse to provide natural lubrication for the sexual activity. An altered genital sensation will mean dryness in that part of your genitals.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse- in the rare times where sensation can actually be felt, there is not much sexual arousal but the pain will most definitely be present. 
  • Difficulty ejaculating- for men, there will certainly be difficulty experienced whenever having the need to ejaculate. If the person has difficulty getting an erection, then he will certainly also have difficulty when it comes to ejaculating.

What Medical Procedures or Methods can be Used to Treat Sexual Dysfunction due to Spinal Problems?

If you have experienced any one of the symptoms above and have undergone previous medical surgeries involving your spine, then you may want to know what treatment options are available for you when it comes to sexual dysfunction due to spinal problems. Here are some of the treatment procedures you can use to treat the condition:

First and foremost, go see a physician to help you cope with the condition, and allow you to get advice from a trained and educated professional. From then on, the doctor can then choose to subject you to various treatments or refer you to a specialist based on your condition. No matter the outcome, you can be sure the doctor or specialist will most likely prescribe you with the following treatments:

  • Oral Medications- such as pills that can be primarily used to treat the erectile dysfunction in men. Some of these pills include: Viagra (medical name sildenafil citrate), Levitra ( or vardenafil), and Cialis (or tadalafil). Most of these medications can be taken 20-60 minutes before engaging in sexual intercourse.
  • Injectable Medications- can also be used, some of these include Caverject or alprostadil.
  • Penile Implants- the doctor may also prescribe this treatment for you. 
  • Sexual aids-  such as vacuum pumps and tension rings to prevent erectile dysfunction.


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