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What Is Penile Numbness?

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Numbness can occur anywhere in the body, but it is particularly common in the extremities, such as the hands and feet. When numbness affects the penis, it is known as penile numbness. This condition can cause a loss of sensation in the penis, making it difficult to feel pleasurable sensations during sexual activity. Additionally, penile numbness may make it difficult to achieve an erection or maintain one. In some cases, the condition may also lead to urinary incontinence.

If your penis becomes numb, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Penile numbness can be caused by various underlying health conditions, some of which may require treatment. Additionally, the condition can impact your quality of life, so prompt medical attention is essential.

What Causes Penile Numbness?

There are many potential causes of penile numbness, including physical injury to the penis, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions. In some cases, psychological factors such as anxiety or depression may be responsible.

Take a look at some of the most common causes of penile numbness:

1. Physical Injury to the Penis

A direct blow to the penis or repeated trauma to the area can damage nerves and lead to numbing. This is particularly common in men who play contact sports such as football or rugby.

If you suspect your numbness is due to an injury, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may require surgery or other treatment. Delaying will only increase your risk of permanent tissue damage.

2. Medications

Certain medications can cause temporary or permanent penile numbness as a side effect. Some common culprits include certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, and blood pressure medications. If you’re taking any medication and experience numbing in the penis, talk to your doctor about changing prescriptions.

The numbing effect of some medications may be increased if you’re also taking other drugs that have a similar effect. For example, combining an antidepressant with alcohol can amplify the numbing sensation.

3. Underlying Medical Conditions

There are several underlying medical conditions that can cause penile numbness. These include diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and certain types of cancer.

Diabetes: Diabetes can damage the nerves in your body, which can lead to numbness. This is known as diabetic neuropathy, and it’s a serious complication of diabetes. If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels under control so that you can prevent or delay the onset of diabetic neuropathy.

Multiple sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis is a condition that damages the nerves in your body. This can lead to numbness, tingling, and pain in different parts of your body including your penis. If you have multiple sclerosis, it’s important to manage your condition so that you can prevent or delay the onset of these symptoms.

Cancer: There are several types of cancer that can cause penile numbness. These include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and bladder cancer. Treatment for cancer often includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. These treatments can cause damage to the nerves in your body, which can lead to numbness. If you have cancer, it’s important to talk with your doctor about ways to prevent or delay the onset of these side effects.

4. Injuries to the Spine or Nerves

Spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, and other conditions that compress or damage the nerves in your spine can cause numbness. Injuries to the pelvic region can also damage the nerves that control sensation in your penis, which can lead to numbness anywhere in the body. The spine is a complex structure and any damage to it can lead to serious complications. If you have an injury to your spine or nerves, it’s important to seek medical attention so that you can prevent further damage.

5. Drug Side Effects

Selegiline (Atapryl, Carbex, Eldepryl, L-deprenyl) is used to treat early-stage Parkinson's disease. It is known to cause penile numbness. Penile numbness is also a side effect of some antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and paroxetine (Paxil). If you are taking any of these medications, talk with your doctor about the possibility of penile numbness.

6. Low Testosterone Levels

One cause of penis numbness is low testosterone levels. Symptoms of low testosterone include fatigue, bone and muscle loss, mood swings, depression, and erectile dysfunction.

A blood test is required to determine if someone has low testosterone levels, which can be treated with hormonal therapy

Testosterone levels tend to naturally decline with age, so older men may be more susceptible to penis numbness due to low testosterone. If low testosterone is the cause of penis numbness, other symptoms may be present as well.

Who Is At Risk?

Penile numbness typically affects men who are over the age of 50, as sexual function and sensation gradually decline with aging. However, numbness can also affect younger men if it is caused by an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or nerve damage from surgery.

Spinal cord injuries can cause both erectile dysfunction and penile numbness. Diabetes is the most common cause of nerve damage that can lead to sexual problems. Diabetic neuropathy often causes loss of sensation in the feet and legs first, but it can also impact the genitals.

Additionally, men who cycle for long distances may be at risk for penile numbness. This is due to the pressure that cycling puts on the perineum, which can compress the pudendal nerve and disrupt blood flow to the penis.

Ways To Increase Penis Sensitivity

If you think your penis has become numb due to an illness, injury, or "overuse", there are ways to increase penis sensitivity. Depending on the cause of your numbness, you may be able to treat it with home remedies, medical treatments, or a combination of both.

Treating Injuries or Illnesses

If an injury or illness is causing your numbness, treating the underlying condition may help. For example:

  • If you have Peyronie's disease, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the curvature of your penis.
  • If you've undergone prostate surgery, your doctor may recommend penile rehabilitation exercises to help improve blood flow and sensation.
  • If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels under control can improve nerve function and sensitivity.
  • Nerve damage may improve over time. In the meantime, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help increase sensation.
  • If your testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may improve sensation.
  • If you have death grip syndrome, simply take some lengthy breaks from masturbation.


Testosterone Treatment

Testosterone replacement therapy may help to treat penis numbness. Low levels of testosterone can lead to reduced sensation and erectile dysfunction.

If you have hypogonadism, your doctor may recommend testosterone injections, patches, gel, or implants. Testosterone treatments can cause side effects, such as acne, headaches, and changes in mood or behavior.

You'll need to see your doctor regularly for monitoring if you're taking testosterone treatments.

For Cyclers and Bikers

Sitting on bike seats for long periods of time may increase the risk of penile numbness. Wearing well-fitting, padded bike shorts can help to minimize this risk.

If you have numbness while cycling, take a break from riding and avoid sitting on hard surfaces. Apply ice or heat to the area for pain relief and see your doctor if the numbness persists. You may need to adjust your cycling position or the type of bike seat you use.

For Diabetics

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels, leading to reduced sensation in the penis. Managing diabetes with medication, diet, and exercise can help to improve nerve function and blood circulation. Diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction.

If you have diabetes, it's important to see your doctor regularly for monitoring and treatment. Treating penis numbness may require a combination of therapies, such as medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Conclusion

Penile numbness is a medical condition that can be caused by various factors. It may occur due to an injury, diabetes, or nerve damage. In some cases, it is also seen as a side effect of certain medications like chemotherapy drugs and antidepressants. Penile numbness can lead to sexual dysfunction and loss of sensation during sex. It is important to seek medical help if you experience any kind of penile numbness so that the underlying cause can be diagnosed and treated accordingly.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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