Prostate cancer is a serious health problem that kills around 25,000 men a year in the United States alone. Although this disease can be deadly, prostate cancer generally doesn’t affect male sexual function, but the treatments can. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate and is the leading cause of incontinence and prostatitis impotence in men over the age of 50.
Some treatments for prostate cancer and other prostate and ED problems have sexual side effects. The prostate itself doesn’t work to help men achieve erections. It simply produces an alkaline fluid that comprises over 50% of the seminal volume.
How Prostate Cancer Treatments Affect Erectile Function?
Prostate problems and impotence affect men’s ability to sustain a satisfactory erection. Erectile dysfunction often occurs as a result of nerve damage and poor blood flow to the penis. There are bundles of penile nerves that help create engorgement of the penis, causing satisfactory erections.
Nearly all men will experience some erectile dysfunction for the first few months after prostate cancer treatment. The severity varies on factors like contributing disorders, surgeons skill, and whether radiation therapy was used.
In some cases, penile nerves are damaged during radical prostatectomy. As a result, it can severely affect sexual function and may lead to erectile dysfunction and impotence.
For the most part, retrograde ejaculation is the most common problem after prostate treatment. This condition occurs due to false entry of semen into the bladder instead of the penis.
Here are several treatments that can result in prostate and ED problems:
This is a surgical removal of the prostate and the seminal vesicles from the body. The goal of the surgery is to help the patient regain urinary control and clear the pathway for the urethra. However, this procedure can cause serious prostate problems and erectile dysfunction.
Radical prostatectomy often results in sudden impotence for the patient. There is 20% of post-radical prostatectomy patients regain erectile function over time. Although, only 10% of men reported complete recovery of sexual function after surgery than those who did not.
For those who suffer from erectile dysfunction, some begin to experience erections after four weeks while other patients took four years to recover.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells. Radiation is seldom used as the initial treatment for low-grade cancer within the prostate gland and its nearby tissues.
About 70% of men undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer end up becoming impotent. Experts believe that it is due to the progressive damage of the nerves and small blood vessels near the prostate gland.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatments
Not all men who undergo nerve-sparing prostatectomy or other radiation therapy have reported successfully achieving erections after using the common ED pills. Additionally, some oral ED medications can have serious side effects, especially men taking medications with nitrates.
If oral erectile dysfunction drugs fail or can’t be used by the patient, injections (ICP) into the penis can be an effective form of treatment for men who have either undergone surgery or who have received radiation therapy (seed implants or external beam) for prostate cancer. Studies conclude that overall, up to 80% of men will regain erections with the use of these injection treatments.
There are several other ED treatments available in the market. This includes shockwave therapy, vacuum suction devices and hormonal replacements.
Therefore, it’s best to consult a physician before undergoing treatments for prostate and ED problems.