If you have recently had prostate cancer surgery, you may be concerned that your sex life could be impacted. So, what can you expect post-surgery and how can you tackle problems? Read on for more information.
Sexual function following prostate cancer surgery
Radical prostatectomy can affect sexual performance in a number of ways:
- the nerves around the penis may be bruised or even removed as part of the surgical procedure
- arteries that supply blood to the tissues of the penis may be damaged
- veins inside the penis can leak
- the tissues in the penis that contain blood during erection may be damaged
Any or all of these side effects can prevent a man from achieving and maintaining an erection. It should be stressed here that most men's sexual function returns to a relatively normal level in time, when the nerves have regrown or recovered. However, you (and your partner) may be pleased to learn that there are some treatments that offer you the potential for a fulfilling sex life while you are waiting for your body to recover fully from surgery.
The idea of penile rehabilitation is to re-establish blood flow to the penis, allowing the patient to achieve an erection and improve sexual function. There are a number of penile rehabilitation options including:
This procedure entails undergoing injections directly into the penis. The success of this option depends on how quickly the patient undertakes the treatment. In essence, the sooner you commence having the injections, the more likely it is that you will be able to achieve and maintain an erection that is firm enough to allow full intercourse.
Oral drug therapy
The most usual form of drug therapy used for erectile problems following prostate cancer surgery is sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra. In order to be sure of achieving an erection that is firm enough for intercourse, you'll need to take the drug daily.
Urethral pellets are inserted into the penis several times a week. The pellets usually enable patients to achieve a satisfactory erection so that intercourse can take place.
Vacuum pumps work by drawing blood into the erectile tissue of the penis, enabling the patient to achieve a natural erection that is firm enough for intercourse.
All of the above methods when used in isolation or in combination are effective to some degree in allowing post prostate cancer surgery patients to return to an active sex life. However, you should also be aware that you may not be able to achieve an orgasm during sex until your body has fully recovered from the effects of the surgery, and this can take several years.
There are several ways of helping prostate cancer surgery patients to return to a normal sex life. If you and your partner have any concerns in this regard, always discuss them with your doctor or medical team who will help you to find a solution.