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Lumbar Stenosis with DDD, mens health question

jamiebjjamieb Posts: 2
edited 10/20/2013 - 7:10 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I have a question I've been sitting on for a week because I didn't want anyone to think I was crude or looking for laughs. If this bothers anyone I apologize in advance and feel free to delete the question if it is off topic.

I'm a 43yr old male who was first diagnosed with Lumbar Stenosis 5 years ago after many trips to the doctor and finally a surgeon who pinpointed it. Lumbar Stenosis in l4-l5 with herniated disc in the region. While it bothered me it wasn't overly debilitating and I was sent for PT then Shots then even acupuncture and trigger point therapy. None of it did anything so the general conclusion from both my primary and 2nd surgeon was to take pain meds (vicodin) until the pain was bad enough to merit surgery. I currently am prescribed LORTAB 10/500 4 times a day though try to only take 3.

The pains continued to worsen and this summer I went back to the surgeon who ordered up another MRI and another xray scan (cant remember which, ultrasound maybe?) This showed the Stenosis worsened to a degree but also shown I blew a couple more disc in herniation. Also now with L4-L5, S1 was affected.

He showed me the 2 different forms of surgery I could get, one going through the stomach and inserting a rod around the spine or something (I kind of got queasy and mind drifted, lol) and would keep me out of work for around 8 months. The other was a lapro-something where they went in through the back and shaved the spine or something and would be a 6-8 week outage. Neither of which is an option at the moment as my wife and I have an 8 week old newborn and she isn't working right now. To be honest, I am currently looking for a part time job to go along with this one, but that's another topic. SO he basically said, deal with the pain the best you can and when you can't come back and well schedule one of the surgeries.

So, my pain is basically feeling like a board going across my lower spine too tight, it goes into my buttock and down my left leg causing (at times) intense hip pain and pains in my thighs, back of knee and shin. A lot of times my butt and leg will numb out as well. Sometimes pain into my anal region too but not that much thankfully.

Ok, now finally after all the background my question is this. And once again if this type of question bothers anyhone I apologize, just at my wits ends.

For the past 2 months, I get waves of nerves rolling from my back around into my groin. It causes erections a lot. I mean, sometimes for an hour or two at a time, then it will go away for a bit and come back. This is very stressful as they happen at any time, in work, at home, at church the store no matter where. I've learned to wear baggy pants and long shirts. I've heard and read the Stenosis can cause E.D. and cause no erections, but the opposite? It's starting to put a strain on my sanity and marriage because it constantly feels like someone is teasing me. Has anyone had anything similar to this.
I did mention this to one of my doctors about the time this started who basically shrugged it off as a nerve thing and suggestion to alleviate the issue myself, which I thought was odd. I mean, if I were to go back to the doctor would I go to the primary or back surgeon or a urologist? I mean, I just don't know.

I'm also finding I don't know until the last minute when I have to urinate. Like, by the time I have to go, I need to be there in 15-30 seconds. Anyone with this issue. I find im starting to go into bathroom just to check because i am petrified of wetting myself. I'm just so depressed and numb to it all. Just having a baby I should be on cloud 9 but the state I'm in now I just cant deal with the way my future looks. I'm hoping that come next summer I may be able to take off from work to get the surgery, the shorter surgery. Sorry if this is so long, just have been looking for the right forum to post in.

All the best,


  • At somebody...if it is a nerve problem they can probably give u something for it.

    Somebody will answer this post that knows more than I .
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,836
    edited 10/22/2013 - 4:05 AM
    Most of the things I have read about regarding Stenosis in the lower disc and medications is a problem with any type of erection. Your situation is quite the opposite of what I know about. I do believe you need to question your doctor more about this. Any time nerves are involved you do want some answers. Waiting too long could create additional problems
    The situation about urination, I have heard of from several man. I currently have some additional L5/S1 problems and I am set for a hip replacement next week, so many times, I have no clue until the last minute regarding urination.

    I would take a loot at Back Surgery to get a better idea of the various types of back surgeries, the pros and cons, etc
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • thank you for the input. its appreciated.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 10/23/2013 - 12:27 PM
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • JamieB, I have pretty much the same lumbar stenosis issue that you do ( minus the herniated disc ). I have been taking hydrocodone for over 3 years, and per doctors instructions, I drink a lot of water ( hydrocodone CAN slow down your bowel movements ) . As a result, I have found that I do have to hit the bathroom to urinate a lot more than I used to. I have noticed that if I eat more than just a little bit, my pain increases, the more full my stomach feels, the more pain I feel in my back. I'm not a doctor, but it sounds like your erection problem could be connected with the meds. Just because it's not one of the issues people complain about, doesn't mean it's not a possibility. I've had two surgeries and so far, no relief. I had the bone removal ( kinds like using a file to remove enough bone to relieve pressure from the nerve ). But don't let that discourage you, if you get to the point you have the surgery, hopefully you will be one of the one's that gets some relief.
    Just don't let this get you down, it's very important to think positive, and try to find the bright side.
    I have found that using a tens unit can help, even though it's temporary relief, it sure beats no relief at all ! If you don't have one, you can get them online for as little as 30 or 40 dollars. I sure hope your able to find some relief, like me ( 48 ) your to young to have to be dealing with this. Let me know how things go, it's nice to be able to interact with someone who knows what your dealing with.
    Take Care !!
  • Mine has just recently got to the point of the male area. I have been getting i guess muscle spasms causing me to have to hurry to do number 2 and causing my testicles to jingle or bounce.The drs i have seen just kinda blow me off please let me know if you find something that helps.Ive not had any sexaul dsyfunction yet. Im like you it works fine too good. I also take pain meds but really not enough relief to mention. But your definatly not the only one with this problem !
  • Stenosis at the levels you are talking about can most certainly cause erection or erectile problems- either the inability to get or maintain an erection or cause one to occur. The nerves in the spine run in pairs and exit at each level of vertebre. They also innervate different areas of our bodies, mostly similar in the larger population but in some people there is a bit of variance.
    It may be that the nerves at the l4-5 level are the ones effecting the erection and depending on where, and how severe the compression is, may be causing the problem . The recent onset of not knowing you need to urinate ( also innervated by those same spinal nerves) leads me to suspect that you may be having an intermittent cauda equina compression......it is time to call your surgeon as soon as possible and an honest, frank discussion about all of the symptoms you are having.....including the pain , numbness, erection and urinary dysfunction.....those are serious symptoms and need to be addressed as soon as possible.
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