Sexual Health Q&A

What is autonomic dysreflexia?

Autonomic dysreflexia is a dangerous situation that can happen to men with spinal cord injuries located at T6 or above. When autonomic dysreflexia occurs, the nervous system has an exaggerated response to stimulation below the level of injury. Symptoms include sweating, headache, nasal congestion, vision problems, and chills. Autonomic dysreflexia can dramatically increase blood pressure, which in turn can lead to stroke, seizure, and death.

Autonomic dysreflexia is life-threatening. It can be triggered by sexual activity and artificial ejaculation methods, so men are strongly advised to discuss their risk with their doctor. Men experiencing symptoms of autonomic dysreflexia are usually told to stop sexual activity.

Some men can take medication to lower the risk of autonomic dysreflexia.