I would be ultra-grateful if you could give your opinion on this, and thank you in advance. The questions at the end are fairly short, but I've had to give a bit of background...
I am a healthy, uncircumcised 29-year-old male, but about 12 months ago I noticed the following:
1) Huge loss of sensation in the glans head of the penis
2) Significant tackiness/ moisture on the glans - most notably on the underside of the mushroom-like ridge which encircles the glans.
The level of sensation loss is as follows: I now have ZERO sensitivity on the top side of the head (I can put an ice cube on it and not feel it).
In fact, the only places I seem to have sensation left are the piece of skin usually most sensitive - i.e. the underside of the penis, just below the head - sensation here is aboout 70% of what it used to be - and the other skin which comprises the most forward half of my penis, once my foreskin is retracted.
I still have sensation on the mushroom-like underside of the head - the part I have said is now tacky - but it is not 'pleasurable' sensation. It is just like touching my hand, or whatever, and is moist/ tacky.
I can still achieve 'sufficient' erections without too much problem, though far more work is needed to achieve them than previously - i used to be ULTRA-sensitive. I also seem unable now to gain an erection simply by looking at something without touching (say, porn). Previously, I could.
Previously, I could masturbate say three times in two hours and maintain identical erections each time. Now, however, it seems like I have to go 36-48 hours without masturbating to achieve a really full erection, and even then the sensation on the head does not return.
Now the crucial point: I used one of the very common ADHD drugs (I will not name it, in case you are worried about the implications of commenting on it) for 18 months up until 12 months ago (Typically about 30mg per day, 5 days a week). This was the only time in my life I have used such a drug.
When on this drug, my (usually very high already) sex drive became ASTRONOMICAL, and I simply had to masturbate 2-4 times a day to stop thinking about sex.
I noticed enhanced sensation when on the drug.
I'm now worried that I have caused permanent nerve damage with these sessions - that my penis was not designed for such frequent, ADHD-drug-enhanced sex.
I did see my doctor, explaining the tackiness as the main symptom and the sensation loss. He thought it was a bacterial infection because of the tackiness). I did have a girlfriend around the time I started noticing the problem - but I think that's coincidence - i.e. I imagine gradual nerve damage crept up on me unnoticed, until one day you really notice a huge, accumulated sensation loss.
However, he also said that a bacterial infection should not affect sensation levels. I didn't mention the drugs to him, as this didn't then occur to me.
He said the sensation might just be aging. However, the drastic reduction in sensation is not to me expclicable as mere aging.
I used antibacterial cream, and it did make things a bit dryer, and the moisture problem on the top of the head became greatly reduced, but still persisted on the underside of the head.
However, I'm reluctant to keep putting it on as the one area of my head that still had sensation seemed to lose it AFTER the bacterial cream - Canesten cream. I'm worried the cream cured a bit of moisture but itself reduced sensation. Indeed, I read on another site that a chemical sounding very similar to one of canesten's ingredients could cause nerve loss (the chemical ended in the letters 'zole', but I can't remember what it was).
The main thing is that previously, if i made two fingers into a V and rubbed the underside of the mushroom-like ridge of the head, it was extremely pleasurable. I would be erect in no time and my penis would become shiny, fully engorged, and there was no friction.
But now, if I do that same thing, there is a lot of friction owing to the tackiness, hardly any sensation, and even if I become erect, the heads does not become shiny, but instead simply soft, albeit slightly larger.
So here are my questions:
1) Could the moisture I have been experiencing on the underside of the head itself be a function of drug-induced damage? Or is that very unlikely?
2) Could my explanation of nerve damage as a result of drug-assisted masturbation sessions be plausible
3) Could it be that I have also damage penile tissue in this way?
4) Is the nerve damage most likely permanent?
5) Can leaving one's penis untouched for extended periods of time genuinely improve its 'repairability' in such cases?
6) Could a bacterial infection cause this type of reduced sensation?
Finally, I should mention how much 'rest' I have given my penis. The short answer is that I still masturbate 1-3 times daily, and have done so in the 12 months since noticing this problem. It's just nowhere near as pleasurable. At best, it is 60% as pleasurable.
Apologies for the length of this, but I would be ETERNALLY grateful for your feedback.
I had a diagnostic exam done by a noted urologist that checks the neuroglical function and response of the penis. Bascially he put something around the glans and got a reading on a graph. He was surprised by the LACK of response. Eventually, he orded a two day rigidscan which he claimed that I passed with flying colors.
The fact that you still have full functioning should be relaxing. When I passed the rigidscan it relaxed me. As I feared Venous leakage, a problem that reconstructive surgery has bought mixed results.
You should see a specialist and get some of those neurological tests. If you can't feel an ice cube, than you would want to know if it is a permanent or temporary condition, and what the origin is?
Some ADHD treatment drugs, such as Ritalin or Adderall, have been known to have significant side effects in adults and children.
Adderall has a spectrum of side effects that include numbing or loss of sensation over peripheral structures.
If you could identify the drug you used, it would help identify whether it caused the problem.
Canesten is an antifungal ointment and you should continue its use until resolution of the problem, especially in view of the fact that it was prescribed by the doctor who examined you.
Too frequent masturbation need not cause local effects on the penis. However, it may cause irritation of the prostate which can then result in inflammation or infection.
The cause of the loss of sensation could be attributable to a nerve disorder, such as peripheral neuropathy if you are a smoker, nerve injury due to compression along the spinal cord if you are overweight, etc.
If you believe you may have caused damage or irritated underlying structures mediating sensations in the penis and surrounding structures, it would be best to desist from further abuse of any prescription drugs and avoid other irritants.
Ejaculation should be only as frequent as tolerated by the prostate gland or the epididymis.
You should consult with a urologist after resolution of the infection (do rule out diabetes as it predisposes to fungal infections and can cause neuropathies) to identify cause of the loss of feeling.
Additionally, you may be required to consult with a neurologist.
Do keep us posted on your doubts and progress.
Thanks for your response, Dr. Matthews,. And also thanks to the other poster.
To answer your question, Dr. Matthews, the drug was Ritalin. I did however use Dexedrine also, but far less. I'd say 95% of the time it was Ritalin, 5% Dexedrine.
I did however notice that on Dexedrine I was not as aroused - it even inhibited arousal. I might have 'forced' masturbation a couple of Dexedrine, so that makes it conceivable that those Dexedrine occasions were the 'damaging' ones. But I think it's more likely it was just over time that it all accumulated from both drugs.
I've never been a smoker, and am extremely UNDERweight actually, so diabetes is, hopefully, unlikely - and nor have I noticed lack of energy.
I will try the cream again for the underside of the head, but I don't think it's the moisture as such causing a lack of sensation - surely a good functioning nerve would be properly sensate regardless of moisture coverage?
Nevertheless, the moisture problem did seem to begin during a very hot, very humid summer when I was living abroad, and during which I had no air conditioning for the first several weeks.
Is it the case that the pleasure/ sensation decrease could actually be owing to depleted dopamine activity as a result of my brain changing its dopamine system in response to the ADHD drugs?
i.e. I am asking is it DOPAMINE that jumps to the nerve, or does nerve function have nothing to do with proper dopamine function.
Could it be that 18 months of ADHD drugs have induced medium-term dopamine dysregulation since coming off the drug, and that this is the cause of my decreased pleasure?
I have heard that it can take one or more years for the brain to return to 'normal' forllowing discontinuation of such drugs. Is that indeed plausible?
It is likely that the use (or abuse) of drugs altering dopamine release and receptor binding can result in tolerance or other mechanisms to help the brain and the body deal with extraneous sources of dopamine.
Dopamine mediates sexual function and prosocial behavior at the brain level. It also works at the level of the spinal neurons to mediate sexual sensation and function.
Any infection of the skin, especially fungal infection, can cause altered sensation of the affected skin.
Resolution of the infection can give a better idea of what the cause of the problem could be, by eliminating one of the factors.
You've already written more than I'd expect, but if I had one more question, it would be this: do you think if these issues are caused by dopamine-related tolerance that my brain will eventually return to 'normal', and if so, how long might be realistic for this to occur, bearing in mind I was taking Ritalin approsimately 30mg daily, five days a week, for 18 months.
It has already been a year since I quit the drug (save maybe 20 days on which i've taken very small doses).
How long the body takes to recover from any insults or injuries is difficult to predict accurately. This is especially true of structures such as the brain and the nervous system that are slow in recovery. Recovery in these structures may take a long time, years even.
The best option would be to let your body detoxify for a while, while supplementing your diet with supplements that have been known to aid nerve repair and mediate sexual function.
These include fish liver oil supplements that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, wheatgerm, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, etc. (that are rich in zinc, avoidance of caffeine and alcohol.
Chocolate mediates the release serotonin and can aid sexual stimulation and function.
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