Erectile Dysfunction in Men with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. It is an attack in nervous system disorder that disconnects the brain and other body parts. It usually affects the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, or balance. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves. 

It is a chronic disorder that can occasionally be mild and it can also cause extreme disability. It is most often diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s, but it can occur at any age. For women, it is around 2 or 3 times more likely than for men.

What are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

Signs and symptoms can widely differ from person to person and can affect any part of the body. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and other symptoms include

  • Muscle stiffness and spasms.
  • Problems with balance and coordination.
  • Fatigue.
  • Difficulty in walking.
  • Problems controlling the bladder.
  • Problems with thinking, learning, and planning.

Among these, sexual dysfunctions (SDs) are common, but often underestimated symptoms, even if their impact on the quality of life is remarkably high. The reported rate of sexual dysfunction (SD) in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients ranges from 50% to 90%, depending on the clinical characteristics of the studied population and the duration of follow-up. The most common sexual complaint in multiple sclerosis (MS) male is erectile dysfunction (ED), which can be found in 23% to 91% of patients. Sexual dysfunctions (SDs) in multiple sclerosis (MS) are a complex set of conditions, associated with anatomic, physiologic, biologic, medical, and psychological factors.

How Multiple Sclerosis can cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erections normally occur as the brain sends a sexual arousal signal to the penis, causing blood to circulate to the genital region in two chambers. And the penis swells and becomes erect as it occurs.

A patient who has multiple sclerosis cannot achieve an erection because of damage to the nervous system as the signals do not normally travel to the penis due to damage to the nerves. There will also be no nocturnal or early morning erections. The quality of sperm produced is not unaffected so fertility is possible, but achieving an erection and ejaculation may be challenging.

Sexual excitement or physical stimulation of the penis contributes to male erection and acts through two distinct neurophysiological processes:

  • When an erection occurs due to erotic thoughts, some visual signs, or due to some touch then they are processed by the brains after which it moves to the spinal cord for erection
  • When erections occur due to genital stimulation then it uses nerves in the lower part of the spinal cord and bypasses the brain

But the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells impairs the nervous system with the patient with MS, and because of this, brains and other body parts do not receive the message. Therefore, men suffer from ED when the brain struggles to transmit a sexual arousal response to the penis. Because of this, the communication line between nerves is affected badly.

As Multiple Sclerosis implies attack in nervous system disease that disconnects brain and other body parts from certain organs that contribute to sexual function, it may occur due to bad message communication. It completely means that men will get sexual stimulation, but because of inadequate communication of the message, their brain is not ready to begin erection.

Depression or anxiety is yet another reason for people with MS to suffer from ED. They get worried about their partner’s reaction and feeling about the condition. At the same time, libido reduces and arousal will be more difficult.

Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis Erectile Dysfunction

Achieving an erection with MS patients can be difficult but there are ways to cure this condition and lead a better sexual life. The best treatment option available for this condition include

Oral Medication:

Medications such as phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors or PDE5 inhibitors which include Viagra and Cialis are very useful. These work by relaxing blood vessels and at the same, they also increases blood flow to the penis, thus helping men to produce an erection. Remember that Viagra will not produce an erection without physical stimulation of the penis.


Many people have difficulty with oral medications, so self-injection is a better option for them. In this, either a single drug or a combination of drugs is used. Papaverine and Phentolamine are the drugs that can be taken to get rid of erectile problems and achieving blood flow to the penis.

Penile Implants:

Penile implants are gaining much popularity in treating ED when other treatments like oral medications and injection therapy have failed. But remember that penile implants also require a permanent surgical procedure and cannot be reversed.

In this process, the spongy tissue is replaced with rigid or semi-rigid cylinders. After it is successfully done, men can produce a rigid erection and can have a successful sexual relationship.

Talk to your partner:

The best way to cope with such unwanted conditions is to talk about them with your partner. You need to talk to her and try to make her understand the changes in your sexual life. She might feel the same thing, too, but she hesitates to open up. So it’s better to talk to your partner about feelings and try to solve the sexual intimacy.


Multiple sclerosis and erectile dysfunction are both linked with each other and it’s often that men suffering from MS will develop ED. The situation is not easy to manage as ED is the worse condition that men never want to come across.

But taking proper treatment can ease out the situation and help to treat the condition effectively.

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