If you've experienced a spinal cord injury (SCI), you may benefit from sexuality and fertility management, education and counseling. Your physical condition after your spinal cord injury may change aspects of your sexual function and affect your physical, mental and social well-being related to your sexuality or sexual health. Read more about sexuality and fertility management for spinal cord injury.

Your treatment team in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program, including your doctor, social worker, rehabilitation psychologist, nurses and others, has training and experience in sexuality and fertility management, education and counseling. Your treatment team can provide you with education and counseling in many areas regarding your sexual health.

Read more about diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord injury.

About

People who have experienced spinal cord injuries (SCI) may benefit from sexuality and fertility management, counseling and education. Trained staff also educates and counsels people with SCI about their physical, mental and social well-being in relation to their sexuality or sexual health. Staff also provides you with education to understand the physical changes that occur in your body after a spinal cord injury, and how these changes may impact your sexual health and sexual well-being. For example, a spinal cord injury may cause decreased or absent sensation and movement below the level of injury, yet you may notice a heightened sensitivity in areas above the level of injury.

Men and women who have had spinal cord injuries may maintain sexual function. However, they may notice physical changes after their SCI and may need to make changes in their sexual activity. For example, men may notice changes in the ability to obtain an erection, ejaculate and experience an orgasm. Men who have difficulties with sexual function due to spinal cord injury have several potential treatment options, which may include medications, assistive devices or implants. Women also may experience changes in sexual function, including changes in lubrication and sensation in stimulation. Women who've had a spinal cord injury usually can become pregnant and deliver normally. If you wish to become pregnant, you should plan the pregnancy and discuss any potential issues with your treatment team.

The mental and social well-being aspects of your sexual health after your spinal cord injury are as important as your physical aspects. The ability to feel good about your body after SCI and regain confidence in establishing and maintaining intimate relationships is a vital but often unaddressed aspect of sexual health after SCI. The integrated team of trained and experienced doctors, nurses and rehabilitation psychologists educates and counsels people regarding the mental and social well-being aspects of their sexual health. In addition, they can discuss issues with you and your partner regarding sexual health and fertility and provide you with sexuality education and counseling.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors and staff have helped thousands of people recover from traumatic spinal cord injuries and nontraumatic spinal disorders using many therapies. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) has accredited the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
  • Integrated team. Mayo Clinic's spinal cord injury rehabilitation team is led by doctors trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation, bone and muscle surgery (orthopedic surgeons), and brain and nervous system surgery (neurosurgeons). Your treatment team also includes nurses, mental health specialists, social workers, physical therapists, occupational and recreational therapists, and other specialists.
  • Individualized care. Your doctors will create an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs. Your treatment team will work with you to determine if sexuality and fertility management and counseling may help meet your needs. The team considers you and your family to be an integral part of the treatment team, and you'll be informed and involved in making decisions and setting goals.
  • Treatment and follow-up care. Mayo Clinic doctors trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation and other staff personnel offer a full range of spinal cord injury rehabilitation services for you. Your spinal cord injury rehabilitation team provides inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation and lifelong care.
  • Research. Mayo Clinic researchers study outcomes, rehabilitation options and potential treatments for people with spinal cord injuries and conduct clinical trials.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation and other staff care for people with spinal cord injuries who may benefit from diaphragm pacing in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

You'll need a physician's referral to be considered for admission to the inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program or for an appointment in the outpatient program.

For information regarding admission to the inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program, call the admissions coordinator at 507-266-6442 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday. For information regarding outpatient appointments, please call 507-284-5000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic researchers conduct research in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, including studying sexuality and fertility management for people with spinal cord injuries. Researchers also study outcomes, new treatment options and other areas related to spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Read more about spinal cord injury research.

Mayo Clinic researchers conduct many studies related to spinal cord injury, including nerve regeneration in the spinal cord system and diaphragmatic pacing system, among others.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on spinal cord injury rehabilitation on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Mar. 09, 2012