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Urology/Nerve injury... dealing with the diagnosis


Hi Dr. Goldstein,

Thank you for your clear and hopeful responses to the many men in this forum who are dealing with nerve injuries. Unfortunately, I joined their numbers 8 weeks ago following 2-3 minutes of rough sex. My symptoms have included soreness and significant numbness (but no bruising or swelling), followed by tingling that's now slowly spreading distally. My urologist has me on trental to increase bloodflow, and I'm doing just about everything else recommended to improve healing.

One thing I'm noticing through this experience is that the shock of this part of the body suddenly not working, combined with the isolating and embarrassing nature of the problem, and the very slow rate of returned sensation, makes it easy to believe it will never get better. I know you counsel that injuries like this can take 1 year or so, and my urologist likewise predicts a full recovery ("85+% likely" in "probably 3-4 months, just guessing"). But somehow... I find it easier to believe the worst.

Have you ever seen a case clinically that *doesn't* recover from a situation like this? Are there any stages in the recovery process that would give the patient and doctor some confidence that things are moving in the right direction?

It's weird. If a doctor told me my broken arm would eventually heal, I'd probably think "ok", trust him or her implicitly, and not give it a second thought. Also the nature of this Q&A site is that you don't see many patients coming back to say "it was tough at first, but wow at the 3-month mark or the 6-month mark, it all started to get better, and here's what the symptoms were like."

I realize there are no guarantees in life, or in medicine in particular. You've already given me lots of hope. At this point, I have plenty of trental, Vitamin B6, sleep, and emotional support... and the one thing I'd love would be... more hope.


Benjamin, nerves heal very slowly once injured.  Therefore, the recovery period of return of sensation is so gradual that it is difficult to establish guidelines to mark the recovery in increments.  From the type of injury you sustained, however, I strongly agree with your urologist that you should be fine in a few months rather than 1-2 years.  The latter generally is the case with more severe trauma from repeated use of penile expanders.  Personally, I have not had a patient who did not recover on their own, without treatment, as long as they did not injure the penis further.  I haves never used Trental but it seems a reasonable medication for this problem.  Good luck.


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Arthur Goldstein, M.D.


Problems or questions related to the field of urology; ie urinary stone disease, urinary cancers (kidney, bladder, prostate, testis, etc.), urinary infections, etc. I no longer answer questions related to erection problems or male sexual dysfunction.


I am retired from the active practice of urology. My 34 years was totally in the clinical field and involved the entire gamut of genitourinary problems, with special interest in endourology.

American Medical Association, American Urological Association, American College of Surgeons

College degree - BS Medical degree - MD Master of Science - MS

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