Sexual Health Q&A

Will a man develop sexual difficulties after a pelvic fracture?

Some men do. Much depends on the severity and location of the fracture. But research suggests that about a third of men who fracture their pelvis develop some degree of sexual dysfunction, particularly erectile dysfunction (ED).

A pelvic fracture is the result of a severe trauma to the pelvis, such as from a car accident or a bad fall. Some fractures can heal on their own, but others require surgery.

In addition to bones in the pelvis, a pelvic fracture can damage nearby organs, like the the bladder, rectum, prostate gland, penis, and testicles.

Nerves surrounding these organs can be damaged, too, including nerves needed for an erection. Normally when a man is sexually aroused, a network of nerves sends signals from the brain to the penis to trigger an erection. If the nerves don’t work properly, he might get a weak erection or no erection at all.

If the nerves are not severed, the man will likely have normal erections again. But it could take some time. The recovery period depends on the extent of the injury.

Treatments for ED, which may include pills, vacuum devices, or penile implants, may be needed for men with more severe injuries.

Men who think they have sustained a pelvic fracture should see a doctor immediately, especially if they find blood at the tip of the penis or have trouble urinating.