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Sex after Prostate Cancer

Sex after Prostate is something couples are interested in

The prospects of Surviving prostate cancer have never been better. Due to advances in the  Treatment for prostate cancer and awareness around the need for men over the age of 50 to participate in annual screening for prostate cancer, the 5-year survival rate for most men with local and regional stage prostate cancer is almost 100%. With successful treatment outcomes so high it is natural that men and their partners want to understand what to expect from sex after prostate cancer.

Side effects of prostate cancer

Side effects of Prostate cancer treatment typically depend in great part on how the cancer is treated.  In general, depending on treatment choice, the following side effects may be expected after treatment for prostate cancer:

How is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Beyond how prostate cancer is treated, other variables determine if known side-effects materialize and how severe the occurrences are. Not every man will either avoid or have a guaranteed side effect based solely on a treatment regimen.  Any number of the following factors may determine prostate cancer recovery:

Prostate cancer treatments and side effects

Prostate cancer treatments and side effects for men's care

Prostate cancer treatments and side effects were evaluated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) who started a health-related steering Committee.  The board was established to identify side effects from different prostate cancer treatments and make recommendations regarding a core set of patient-reported symptoms and health-related quality of life treatment outcomes. The committee consisted of Physicians, researchers, and patient advocates. 

A methodical literature review initially consisted of 1164 articles, 295 articles were disqualified for lack of prostate cancer data, 555 studies were rejected because they had less than 200 patients, 165 papers were then excluded because pre-treatment data was not studied, 72 studies were struck for being a single institute study and 77 clinical studies were used for critical review which provided the basis for observations by the NCI committee.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute  published their findings in a study titled “Recommended Patient-Reported Core Set of Symptoms to Measure in Prostate Cancer Treatment Trials.”

Sex after prostate surgery

At a minimum you can expect some reduction in the ability to keep an erection after surgery.

Your ability to have an erection after surgery depends:

  • on your age;
  • your ability to get an erection before the operation;
  • whether the nerves were cut or merely handled in the procedure;

Nerve sparing prostatectomy surgical procedures are intended to preserve the soft tissue around the prostate and prevent the surgical procedure from leaving a potent man with erectile dysfunction.

Despite going through this type of procedure many men still have erectile dysfunction. One study found that one year after prostatectomy, 66 percent of men experienced erectile dysfunction after having a nerve-sparing procedure versus 75 percent who did not have nerve-sparing surgery.

Sex after prostate radiation therapy

Radiation treatment of the prostate is described as external or internal. internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy), is a procedure in which radioactive seeds are implanted into the prostate.  External-beam radiotherapy is a procedure in which a machine is used to aim high-energy rays from outside the body into the tumor with radiation therapy.  Both procedures are known to produce significantly high cases of erectile dysfunction.

Sex after brachytherapy prostate cancer

According to a study published in the Journal ONCOLOGY approximately 50% of men who undergo brachytherapy experience erectile dysfunction within 5 years of implantation. Several factors including pre-implant potency, patient age, the use of supplemental external-beam irradiation, radiation dose to the prostate gland, radiation dose to the bulb of the penis, and diabetes mellitus which appears to exacerbate brachytherapy related erectile dysfunction.  Many clinical studies cite even higher rates of erectile dysfunction following brachytherapy, some less.

Sex after external radiotherapy treatment

A clinical study titled Sexual function after external-beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer: What do we know? Published in Critical Oncology and Hematology  summarizes data on the etiology of erectile dysfunction after external-beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer going back 40 years. In summary 60-70% of men experience post radiation ED.

Sex after cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a process of freezing prostate cancer cells to kill them. Freezing usually damages nerves that are responsible for erections. In fact, as many as 90% of men who experience cryosurgery leave the procedure with erectile dysfunction.  Erectile dysfunction is the most commonly reported side effect of cryotherapy for prostate cancer.

Sexual dysfunction disorders

Sexual dysfunction disorders

In addition to the ability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse the following sexual dysfunction disorders are also common in men who have experienced radiotherapy treatment for the prostate:

Ejaculation and prostate cancer

A radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that completely removes the prostate.  Sex after prostate removal is going to be different. Orgasm after prostate surgery does not consist of ejaculation. There is no ejaculation after a radical prostatectomy because the prostate which makes the semen has been removed.  With the prostate gone, there is no semen and fluid build-up in the urethral, this is also known as a dry ejaculation. Most men report that orgasms can be satisfying, just somewhat different.

Side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer

Sexual side effects are very common after hormone therapy for prostate cancer.  Erectile dysfunction often develops over time if not experienced initially.  Loss of interest in sex is one of the most typical side effects of men who utilize hormone therapy.

Can you have sex after prostate cancer?

Depending upon your age, your erectile function before being diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer, how far the cancer has progressed, and the treatment employed to remove the cancer it is possible that you will be able to achieve natural erectile function post treatment.

Even with a focus on preventing erectile dysfunction and related sexual dysfunction issues, the chances that medical interventions will be necessary to have sex after treating prostate cancer is greater than 50%.  It then becomes a question of which medical interventions you are a candidate for.  The following medical interventions are available:

Erectile Dysfunction Exercises

erectile dysfunction exercises

Erectile dysfunction exercises also known as penile rehabilitation is frequently recommended after surgery.  Nerves can take as little as six to nine months to heal or sometimes up to several years after surgery. During the period in which severed nerves heal known as neuropraxia you will not be able to achieve erections. 

Using a medical intervention to create erections and mimic the healthful benefits of nocturnal erections directly after prostate surgery will increase blood flow to the penis.  This is thought to significantly improve your probability of regaining spontaneous erections and normal erectile function.

The two most reliable medical interventions following prostate cancer procedures for the treatment of erectile dysfunction are surgical implants and external penis pumps.  A penis pump is considered as the first-line treatment of choice for penile rehabilitation by many physicians. So, it may make sense to start with an Augusta Medical Systems vacuum therapy device.  You can purchase directly from the manufacturer without a prescription!