If you’ve undergone a prostatectomy, radical prostatectomy, or surgery for prostate cancer, it is likely you will experience some degree of erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, as you recover, there are things you can do to reduce the effects of ED. Here’s how using a vacuum pump after prostate surgery can make a difference on your journey back to the life you love.
Understanding prostate surgery and ED.
Prostate cancer affects approximately 1 in 7 men, and surgery to remove prostate cancer is a common treatment if the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate area. The main type of surgery is called a radical prostatectomy, which is where the surgeon removes the prostate, as well as some of the tissue surrounding it.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, nearly all men will experience some level of ED for the first few months after treatment. This is because any trauma to the area affects the delicate nerves and blood vessels that control the physical aspect of an erection.
If the nerve clusters in the area are unable to be spared during the surgery, the resulting erectile dysfunction can be a chronic condition lasting the rest of the patient’s life. The chances of the nerves being spared during a radical prostatectomy depend on the stage of the cancer, the type of surgery and the skill of the surgeon.
Some patients also may experience a loss of penile length following a radical prostatectomy. This Comprehensive Guide to Sex After Prostate Removal provides more information on what you can expect.
How can a vacuum pump after prostate surgery help?
There are several ways to treat erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery. Each option has its own unique benefits and side effects, making them more or less suited for each patient’s individual needs.
Vacuum therapy is an effective solution to treat erectile dysfunction because it relies on physical forces to gently draw blood into the penis, rather than working with the body’s own systems, like oral medications. Because of this, vacuum therapy solutions will still work, even if there is nerve damage.
A tool for penile recovery.
Experts at the Prostate Cancer Foundation encourage men to think of vacuum therapy or a penis pump as an exercise bike–a piece of equipment that can get you back in shape. The penis pump creates negative air pressure that draws blood into the penis, creating an erection. Once the erection is achieved, a flexible tension ring is placed around the base of the penis, holding the erection in place. Learn more about how to use a penis pump.
A vacuum pump after prostate surgery can help by giving the penis much-needed activity, which can reduce scar tissue and prevent shrinkage. It gets the blood pumping and stretches the collagen, preventing the loss of length in the penis.
Experts cite a study that looked at 74 men who used a penis pump at least twice a week starting one month after surgery for nine months. Of those, only 23% complained of decreased length and girth, compared with 83% of men who did not use a penis pump at all. And, 63% of men who didn’t use it at all reported a decrease in length and girth.
Do penis pumps work? And can you get an erection after prostate removal? Yes! A penis pump can be an important tool whether you want to return to sex after prostate removal, sex after prostatectomy, or even sex after radical prostatectomy. And, combined with finding ways to spice up your sex life and making lifestyle changes (like knowing what foods men should avoid), a penis pump can go far in reducing the signs of ED after prostate cancer. To learn more, download our free ebook Prostate Cancer and ED: What You Need to Know.