Overwhelmed is the only word to accurately describe your emotions on the day your life seemed to change. Test results established your PSA levels were elevated, this led to a biopsy. The biopsy was positive… you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
It’s normal and natural to experience anxiety, but here is the good news. You have countless reasons be optimistic about the future. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in its early stages, you likely have a very treatable condition.
This year alone 161,360 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Deaths related to prostate cancer continue to decline in the United States. Successful prostate cancer treatments are changing fears from concerns about mortality, to thoughts around the quality of your life after treatment.
A man who has been treated successfully shifts his thinking from loss of life, to his sex life and potential loss of intimacy with a loved one. Once the cancer is gone, the question quickly becomes can I keep my erection after prostate cancer?
Sex after prostate cancer
Having realistic expectations is a good starting place for men and their partners. The following key factors will determine how to keep an erection after surviving prostate cancer.
- The type of prostate cancer treatment administered and side effects if one or bother nerve bundles are removed or damaged.
- Whether a man had good erectile function prior to treatment
- Age plays a role in sexual health after prostate cancer
Sex after a radical prostatectomy
The prostate gland is removed when undergoing a radical proctectomy by a urologist. Nerve bundles that effect erectile function are intertwined with blood vessels so “nerve sparing” techniques are commonly used to assist in the ability of men undergoing a radical prostatectomy to preserve healthy sexual function after the surgery.
The way in which men experience orgasms and changes in ejaculation are also very different after a radical prostatectomy.
A minimally invasive surgical procedure, called robotic prostatectomy, uses finely controlled robotic instruments to perform nerve sparing surgery, while enhancing patient recovery and outcome. Even so sexual problems can include dry ejaculation, penile shrinkage, and erectile dysfunction.
Almost all men experience erectile dysfunction for several months to a year after a radical prostatectomy. Post-operative treatments can improve the return of natural erectile function.
Prostate cancer rehabilitation
Penile rehabilitation programs after radical prostatectomy are used by urologist to improve erection problems after surgery. Penile rehabilitation programs (PRPs) are like a form of physical therapy or erectile dysfunction exercises to induce penile erections for sexual recovery. This process keeps erectile tissues healthy while the remaining nerves heal from surgery.
The use of an erectile dysfunction pump or vacuum erection device in penile rehabilitation is reportedly effective. According to a clinical study published in May of 2016, the use of a vacuum pump may prevent loss of penile length following a radical prostatectomy. This is good news for men who want to know how to keep an erection naturally.
Sex after prostate cancer radiation treatment
A radiation oncologist is likely to administer radiation treatments. External beam radiation is a treatment delivered through a machine used to aim high-energy rays (or beams) from outside the tumor into the tumor. Brachytherapy or seed implant treatment places small radioactive seeds within the prostate itself, giving the prostate gland localized radiation therapy. Forty percent of men report ED after radiation treatment.
A clinical study was conducted to determine if tadafil (Cialis) preserved erectile function in men treated with radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Among 221 participants it was observed that daily use of tadafil (Cialis) did not improve sexual activity. The findings did not support the use of Cialis (tadafil) to prevent ED. While men may not have positive results with Cialis, penile injections and erectile dysfunction pumps are usually successful treatments.
Sex after Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is the use of very cold temperatures to freeze and kill prostate cancer cells. Despite being called cryosurgery, it is not actually a type of surgery. The doctor uses transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) to guide several hollow probes (needles) through the skin between the anus and scrotum and into the prostate. Very cold gases are then passed through the needles to freeze and destroy the prostate.
Erectile dysfunction is more common after cryotherapy than after radical prostatectomy. According to a study in The journal of sexual medicine, the impairment of ED is considered a serious complication of whole gland prostate cryoablation. Erectile dysfunction pumps are one of the only effective treatments when freezing bilateral cavernous (chambers within the penis) nerves occurs.
Sex after Hormone replacement therapy or chemotherapy
Doctors who treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy are typically medical oncologist. Both of these treatments come in the form of drugs and/or chemicals. Often hormone replacement therapy and chemotherapy are useful when other prostate cancer treatments have failed or the cancer has spread.
Seminal vesicles invasion means the tumor has spread to the seminal vesicles which are attached to the prostate gland. To prevent the spread of cancerous tumors Seminal Vesicle-Sparing procedures are often employed.
Hormone replacement or chemotherapy are sometimes used to complement other prostate cancer treatments and are not necessarily treatments of last resort in all cases. Because of the variety of drugs and chemicals, the impact on sexual function differs tremendously.
Hormone replacement medications for prostate cancer
- Leuprolide (Lupron, Eligard)
- Goserelin (Zoladex)
- Triptorelin (Trelstar)
- Histrelin (Vantas)
- Abiraterone (Zytiga)
Chemotherapy drugs for prostate cancer
- Docetaxel (Taxotere)
- Cabazitaxel (Jevtana)
- Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
- Estramustine (Emcyt)
The drugs listed above are only a sample of what is available and is used to illustrate a truth. Because of the range and variety of drugs used in both these treatments the impact on sexual function can range from sever to insignificant.
Hormone replacement therapy for prostate cancer, for example, can often impact sex drive rather that create erectile dysfunction. It is important to work with your physician to explore all available treatment options. How to keep a healthy erection?
How to keep an erection after prostate cancer
The following treatments for erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer should be reviewed by you and your physician. These treatments are listed from the least invasive to the most invasive.
- Vacuum Therapy
- Oral medications
- Urethral Suppositories
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Penile Injections
- Penile revascularization
- Penile Implants
Augusta Medical Systems manufactures Soma Therapy-ED which is the best in class erectile dysfunction pump or vacuum therapy device. AMS has filled prescriptions for over half of the urologist in the United States. You can purchase now without a prescription!
If you can questions please call customer support at 1-800-827-8382.