Suffering from erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer surgery? Here’s help…

There are therapies to help regain sexual function after prostate surgery.

Prostate cancer is plaguing our community! African American men have a 60 to 80 percent higher prostate cancer incidence than their white or Latino counterparts. One in 4 Black men will get the disease in their lifetime, and if someone has a father or brother with it, their risk will more than double.

Getting diagnosed with prostate cancer and opting for radical prostatectomy or the removal of the prostate may affect the ability to achieve an orgasm or to have an erection. The surgery’s outcome depends on the surgeon’s skill and the equipment they use, as less experienced surgeons may inadvertently cause more extensive inflammation and nerve damage.

It is also important to note that men who enjoy receiving anal sex may notice differences during intercourse, as there is no longer a prostate to stimulate.

As with any major surgery, first, a patient should be fully healed before thinking about engaging in sexuality. EARLY postoperative medical therapy can also help to regain sexual potency.

A conversation must take place between doctor and patient to come up with strategies that can help regain some measure of sexual function. Here are a few therapies that have helped with regaining sexual function after the prostate surgery healing period:

Medication: Medical therapy may aid in return to erections, but this has not as of yet been fully substantiated. Using sildenafil (Viagra) and newer erectile medications (such as Cialis and Levitra) may potentially increase potency. A 2003 study found that daily doses of 50mg or 100mg sildenafil (Viagra) for nine months increased full erections by sevenfold when compared with a group who did not receive any medication. These medications support blood flow to the penis and can ease many causes of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Penile injections: A tiny needle into the penis, and medicine is injected. The injection will result in an erection that will remain ‘at attention’ long enough for sex. And sex and orgasm will practically feel as good as always. There may be nervousness about doing self-injection at first. But with practice, it will get easier. A healthcare provider can work with a patient on how to do self-injection.

Penis pump: A penis pump functions by pulling blood into the penis, which can help induce an erection. It consists of a plastic tube that fits over the penis, a hand or battery-powered pump attached to the tube, and a band that fits around the base of the penis once it is erect (constriction ring). A penis pump is sometimes called a vacuum pump or a vacuum erection device.

Penile implant: Penile implants are devices placed inside the penis to allow men with erectile dysfunction to get an erection. Penile implants require surgery and are typically recommended after other treatments for erectile dysfunction have failed. This surgical procedure may restore a male’s ability to get erections through the use of silicone rods or inflatable devices.

Sexual and physical therapies: Besides the strategies mentioned, sex therapy can help folks enjoy sex, learn new sexual strategies, and communicate more effectively following surgery. Physical therapy can help a man overcome any physical injuries associated with the removal of his prostate.

Do not be afraid to speak up about your feelings and to ask for help! A good urologist will work with you to get the erectile dysfunction help you need.