Various side effects occur with almost any type of cancer treatment. With prostate cancer in particular, the side effects from treatment can greatly impact a man’s sex life. From radiation or hormone therapy to surgery, prostate cancer treatments may cause erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, decreased blood flow or a loss in penis length. Despite the severity of these side effects, most men have a great chance to regain a healthy sex life even after serious prostate cancer treatments. Below, we’ll be discussing the links between prostate cancer and ED, and ways to recover from erectile dysfunction.
Different Prostate Cancer Treatments
The body is an interconnected web of organs and blood flow. Often, the first signs of erectile dysfunction may point to potential prostate cancer symptoms. Other times, erectile dysfunction becomes a symptom of prostate cancer treatment. Because of the proximity of the prostate to the penis, it makes sense that one issue can quickly lead to another.
When diagnosed with prostate cancer, the treatment options are abundant. Radical prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate gland via surgery. This surgery can sever nerves and arteries needed to gain and maintain an erection. While statistics are promising (as much as 80% of men regain erection ability), it can take up to 18 months for nerve fibers to heal enough to restore ideal sex function. There are “nerve-sparing” surgeries that may reduce nerve damage, however, factors like tumor location, a surgeon’s skill set, and a patient’s age greatly impact potential nerve impairment.
Radiation therapy is another form of prostate cancer treatment. External beam radiation, brachytherapy and stereotactic body radiation therapy are all possible treatment options. About half of those patients who receive a type of radiation therapy are likely to develop ED. When it comes to radiation, it may take months or years for ED to develop. However, in many cases, erection changes won’t be visible until two years post radiation treatment.
Hormone therapy is utilized to reduce hormones from fueling prostate cancer cells. Often, this type of treatment is recommended for men whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Low libido is a side effect most associated with hormone therapy. Other side effects include low semen levels, inability to reach orgasm, and ED.
Chemotherapy targets cancer cells by killing them and minimizing growth. Chemo can often affect testosterone production in the process which affects sex drive. Chemo can also be quite taxing on the body and cause serious fatigue directly affecting sexual desire and erection ability.
All-Natural ED Solutions
While regaining 100% erection function isn’t always possible for men who’ve received prostate cancer treatments, it is possible to be intimate again. At Giddy, we’ve created a wearable device aimed at improving the ability to have erections. Developed by top urologists, mathematicians, and engineers, Giddy is worn at the base of the penis. Its unique shape allows for non-painful pressure placed on veins, leaving arteries unencumbered for better blood flow and longer, stronger erections.
The preservation of erectile function is an important factor doctors consider when giving prostate cancer treatment recommendations. The best option for an individual is dependent on personal decisions. If a man is experiencing erectile dysfunction as a result of a prostate cancer treatment, there are options like Giddy available.