Prostate cancer does not usually cause sexual dysfunction. However, all the standard treatments for prostate cancer are known to have adverse sexual effects. The effects of prostate cancer treatments range from reduced sexual drive to infertility.
Erectile dysfunction is also common among men who have had prostate cancer surgery. Here are sexual problems you should expect when you’re undergoing prostate cancer treatments.
- The nerves that are involved in controlling your erection are very delicate. When you’re being sexually stimulated, these nerves send signals to your penile tissues so that they will relax. Once your penile smooth muscles are relaxed, blood will then flow into your sex organ, resulting in an erection.
- Unfortunately, when you radiation therapy or surgery for prostate cancer, these sensitive nerves may get damaged. The blood vessels that transport blood to your penis may also be affected. When these delicate nerves and blood vessels become damaged, it will lead to an impairment in your erectile function.
- Today, doctors use nerve-sparing surgical techniques in order to prevent permanent damage to your nerves. Even though the nerves are spared, you may still acquire temporary erectile dysfunction.
- In some cases, erectile function is regained weeks or even months after the surgery. There are also cases wherein erectile dysfunction persists for years after prostatectomy. In addition, your urinary function may also be affected, and these adverse effects can last for years.
- Radiation therapy for prostate cancer can also result in damage to the blood vessels and nerves involved in the erection mechanism. As many as 50% of men who go through radiation therapy for prostate cancer experience erectile dysfunction after the treatment. When you undergo radiation therapy, the nerves in your pelvic area can get damaged.
- The likelihood that you will develop erectile dysfunction after radiation therapy will depend on how much radiation you receive. The higher the amount of radiation and the bigger the area affected, the more likely that you will develop erectile dysfunction.
- Studies also indicate that prostate cancer radiation therapy can cause urinary and bowel function problems. Men who undergo surgical prostate treatment experience significantly worse urinary function and sexual function. On the other hand, men who undergo prostate cancer radiation therapy suffer from significantly impaired bowel function.
Knowing that you have prostate cancer may make you feel too anxious about your health to even think about sex. Cancer patients also often suffer from depression. These psychological burdens can dampen your sex drive.
In addition, hormone therapy for prostate cancer can also reduce your sexual desire. Prostate cancer hormone therapy slows down the growth and proliferation of the cancerous cells by lowering testosterone levels. Since testosterone is necessary for a healthy sex drive, when your testosterone levels are reduced, your sex drive also nosedives.
Moreover, prostate cancer hormone therapy may also cause adverse effects on your self-esteem. When your testosterone levels are down, you’ll gain weight and lose muscle mass and strength. Your breasts may even become enlarged. All these physical changes in your body can negatively affect your self-esteem and can lead to reduced libido.
Reduced Penis Size
Reports indicate that as many as 7 out of 10 men who undergo radical prostatectomy experience a reduction in their penis length by 0.5-1 inch. This reduction in penis length is also common in men who undergo prostate cancer radiation therapy plus hormone therapy.
Your chances of recovering your penile length after radical prostatectomy will depend on three factors. Younger men tend to recover faster than older men. Those who had high erectile function prior to the surgery also have good chances of recovering their original penile length.
Interestingly, the researchers found that men who consistently used PDE5Is after radical prostatectomy also had high chances of recovering their penile length. Experts are still researching on the mechanisms that cause the penis to become shorter after radical prostatectomy.
Many doctors believe that urethral shortening during the surgery causes the penis to shrink. Neural damage during surgery may also contribute to both penile shortening and erectile dysfunction. Scarring in the penile tissues may also cause a reduction in penile length.
Radical prostatectomy can affect both your ability to orgasm and your fertility. That’s because your prostate gland is the one that makes your seminal fluid. The fluid that the prostate produces helps nourish and protect your sperm.
If your body is no longer producing any seminal fluid since your prostate has already been removed, it will result in dry ejaculation. This means that when you ejaculate, no sperm nor semen will be coming out of your penis.
This can affect the sensations you feel during orgasm. You will no longer be feeling the usual sensations that you experience when semen comes out of your penis during ejaculation. Right before you orgasm, you’ll no longer feel as if your penis is full and about to burst. You may still feel pressure in your penis, but it may no longer be the same.
Since there’s nothing coming out of your penis when you’re ejaculating, it means that you won’t be able to get your partner pregnant during vaginal intercourse. This is why banking your sperm before surgery is always recommended.
Restore Your Sexual Health
Before you begin your treatment for prostate cancer, you should first ask your doctor about these adverse sexual effects and what you can do to manage them. You may also want to ask your doctor about your options for naturally restoring your sexual health after your prostate cancer treatment.
For men who are worried about their sexual health, an all-natural male enhancement supplement can help enhance your fertility and improve your sexual virility. That’s because it contains natural ingredients such as maca and Tribulus terrestris.
Both maca and Tribulus terrestris have been scientifically shown to boost erectile function and improve sexual performance. In addition, maca is good for your prostate health since it can help reduce the size of an enlarged prostate.
The herbs used in the formulation of these supplements are known to help improve sexual desire, increase erectile function, and even improve sperm quantity and quality. It also contains Tongkat Ali, Butea superba, horny goat weed, damiana, and muira puama.