Women with spinal injuries are too shy to discuss about their sexuality and sex issues, as it is a very personal matter.In the first few months, lack of menstrual periods / cycles worry them a lot as periods are a symbol of a fertile women.
What bothers them most is the fear, whether they would ever be able to conceive a child. Don’t worry spinal injury doesn’t in any way reduces your chances of getting pregnant.
Pause in menstrual cycle is just an initial response to the spinal shock after the accident. It tends to recover with time.
Sexuality in women primarily consists of 3 aspects:
LUBRICATION & VAGINAL WALL TIGHTENING:
When a normal/ fully able women body is sexually stimulated, the body responds by lubrication and tightening of the vaginal walls. All of this happens to ease in penis penetration of the other partner.
There are two main sources of women vaginal lubrication:
- Psychogenic stimulus( due to love for the partner or an urge to have sex)
- Physical stimulus of vagina( rubbing by hand or some toy)
Either of these stimulus generates reflexive signals from the sacral region s2-s4 of the spinal cord. Thus, if the sacral region is not damaged after spinal cord injury, women vagina does undergo lubrication and wall tightening.
If there is in-complete spinal injury, there is a chance of undergoing psychogenic stimulation as well.
Complete spinal injured women ,however, only have the option of physical stimulation.
In case there is not enough lubrication and wall tightening in the latter case, lubricant jelly or other medication can be applied.
Sex is supposed to give equal pleasure to women, as their male counterparts. Women after spinal injuries think, they cannot achieve orgasm/pleasure as there is no sensation in the genital area. The truth is, if the sacral region of the spinal cord is not hurt. In other words, if the injury had been in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar region, women can feel pleasure during sex.
FERTILITY & PREGNANCY:
As mentioned in the first paragraph, women fertility is not affected after spinal cord injury. Menstruation cycle sooner or later starts appearing regularly. Thus, it is possible to achieve pregnancy!
Pregnancy, after spinal injury, must be dealt with special care, as the reduced mobility can cause pressure sores in the bony regions of the body.
If the injury level is in the lumbar region, labor sensations can be perceived by women. Thus, natural vaginal delivery is possible.
In the case of a quadriplegic women or those having spinal lesion in the thoracic level, constant care taking is required by gynecologists or medical care giver. The reason being, they can not perceive labor sensations and pain.