An injury in the spinal cord can leave anyone overwhelmed with pain and uncomfortableness. It not only affects the physical movement of the body but also leaves a negative impact on the mind and thinking. But the question is, apart from the physical and mental aspect, can a spinal cord injury affect other areas of the human body, like fertility? A spinal injury does cause erection and ejaculation issues, due to change in the body posture, but in the majority of the cases, the sperm health remains unhampered.
Many men experience noticeable changes in their sexual life post an injury in the spine. These changes can be -
- Unfirm erections and ejaculation issues leading to erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation
- A decrease in the sensation level and movement below the belt
- Increased sensitivity in areas above the injury
Such changes can result in a complete or impaired infertility. However, its degree might vary from person to person, depending upon the severity of the spinal injury.
People with a spinal cord injury find everyday life difficult, even having sex. The area of injury decides what kind of obstacle one will face in their sexual activities. For some, getting an erection becomes as hard as climbing a mountain, and ejaculation is nowhere to be seen.
Ejaculation is like a reflex, and the spinal cord is the key to its proper and healthy occurrence. Erections, on the other hand, might not work as a reflex but still rely on the spinal cord for the brain's signal of pelvic nerve activation. An injury in the spinal cord interrupts the process of erection and ejaculation.
But there isn't something to be stressed about. See it as functional vasectomies; your sperm-shaped pump is not blocked; it is just not working its best. So what to do then?
That totally depends on the area of the injury. If the spinal injury is low and affects the legs area mostly, a technique known as rectal probe electroejaculation is used. On the other hand, if the upper-back is injured, the ejaculation reflex is preserved using a penile vibratory stimulation.
After getting the hang of it, couples can do these processes at home with the use of the right equipments and make babies the good old-fashioned way. A spinal cord injury is not the end of your everyday life and sexual adventures. There might be issues here and there, but with proper medical assistance, partner support, and patience, the train can be brought back on the track.
Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP