Erectile dysfunction occurs when a man cannot achieve or sustain an erection for sexual activity. There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, including various prostate cancer treatments. Due to the location of the prostate, treatment for prostate cancer can cause a man to develop erectile dysfunction. Treatments like radiation direct different types of rays at the prostate to eliminate the cancerous cells. These rays can often affect the surrounding tissue.
Regardless of the specific prostate cancer treatment, over three-quarters of men experience varying degrees of erectile dysfunction because the nerves and vessels of the penis are delicate, so treatment inevitably compromises erections. Patients who use less radical treatments and surgeons with more experience tend to experience less problems with erectile dysfunction, but it can still occur. Men who undergo prostate cancer treatment who already have other conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems, typically have extended trouble with erectile dysfunction post-treatment.
Although erectile dysfunction is not a life-threatening condition, it can affect a man’s mental health and quality of life. Being unable to produce a firm erection can cause rifts in a relationship and emotional distress. Embarrassment and decreased self-confidence are common reactions to struggles with erectile dysfunction. To combat these feelings, men should talk with a sex therapist or a support group. In the beginning, it may be difficult to discuss these intimate details, but over time, men will overcome these reservations.
Erectile dysfunction is a manageable condition with numerous treatment options. Men most commonly use prescription medicines because they are easy and inconspicuous. Men can take these pills prior to intercourse to achieve the full effect. Aside from pills, men oftentimes utilize a constriction device. Although the device is helpful, men may find it inconvenient and hard to master. In addition to pills and pumps, men can use personal injections, pellet insertions, and surgical implants. The management of erectile dysfunction is constantly evolving, so men should consult with their doctor about possible treatment options.
Learn more about managing erectile dysfunction after treatment.