For men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, it is normal to have sex problems after prostate removal. What’s also normal is to question what effect those problems can have on your health and relationships. Understanding the procedure and the treatment options can help in overcoming challenges and getting you back to a satisfying sex life.
Sex effects of prostate surgery.
Experts cite that problems after prostate removal can include both urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Urinary incontinence can vary in severity and can last several weeks or months after surgery, depending on your age and how the procedure is done.
Erectile dysfunction happens because there are two small nerve bundles that run along the sides of the prostate that control erections. During prostate removal, these bundles can be damaged or removed altogether, based on how much of the prostate has been affected. Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect and it can last for a few months up to two years depending on:
- Your age
- How strong your erections were before surgery
- Whether the nerve bundles were damaged
It’s been found that half of men who have nerve-sparing prostate surgery or radiation therapy see improvement in their erections within a year after treatment.
What you can do.
To help offset sex problems after prostate removal, experts recommend trying to get regular erections again as soon as your body heals. This penile rehabilitation raises oxygen levels and improves blood flow to the penis, which can heal the penile tissues.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to experiment with vacuum therapy or a penis pump. A pump allows you to practice getting an erection on your own or without a partner.
The pump involves placing an acrylic tube over the penis. One end is held secured to the base of the penis, while the other end is attached to a manual or battery-operated pump. The pump creates a vacuum suction drawing blood into the penis creating an erection. Once the erection is attained, a support band or “penis ring” is placed around the base of the penis, holding the erection in place, and the acrylic tube is removed.
Using a penis pump helps you practice drawing blood into the penis and promoting that healing blood flow. It can be used to create erections suitable for sex after prostate removal, or it can be used without the penis ring just to stimulate responses and gradually build your penile strength.
In the meantime.
As you recover from prostate removal and work toward penile rehabilitation, it’s important to stay focused on your overall health and relationship.
A healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and reducing stress can go far in reducing the effects of ED. Make an effort to limit alcohol and if you smoke, take active steps to quit. A nutritious diet of vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains can also help.
It’s also beneficial to expand your understanding and appreciation of intimacy and not put all your emphasis on your penis. Sex is about kissing, touching, and building a close bond with your partner, all of which do not require a firm erection. Through this process, keep communicating and invest in your time together. Rethink sex and orgasm and concentrate on greater closeness.
Indeed, it is common to have sex problems after prostate removal. But they don’t have to last forever and there are solutions to returning to the sex life you love. Setting expectations and taking the time to regain your penile strength can make a difference.