Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of prostate cancer treatment, and it can have a significant impact on a man’s quality of life. Fortunately, there are several ED therapies available that can help men regain sexual function after treatment.
Prostate cancer treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. Each of these treatments can have an impact on a man’s sexual function, with surgery and radiation therapy being the most likely to cause ED.
Surgery for prostate cancer, known as a prostatectomy, involves removing the prostate gland and surrounding tissues. During the surgery, the nerves and blood vessels that are responsible for erections may be damaged, leading to ED.
High-energy radiation is used in radiation treatment to eliminate cancer cells. The radiation can also damage nerves and blood vessels in the penis, leading to ED. There are different kinds of radiation therapy available for prostate cancer treatment, such as external beam radiotherapy, permanent seed brachytherapy and high dose rate brachytherapy. In external beam radiotherapy, radiation from the outside of the body is focused at the prostate. Individuals who receive this therapy may experience pain during ejaculation. After receiving this type of treatment, patients may potentially experience erection issues as well. Permanent seed brachytherapy, on the other hand, involves implanting microscopic radioactive seeds inside the prostate and leaving them there indefinitely. Both infertility and erectile dysfunction in men may result from this medication. Thin tubes are inserted into the prostate during high dose rate brachytherapy. The tubes are removed after being exposed to radiation for a short period of time to kill the cancer cells. With this therapy, patients may experience erection issues, which might gradually worsen over a number of years. Individuals who receive this kind of radiotherapy might generate less sperm, although they might still orgasm, and they might also have trouble getting women pregnant.
Hormone therapy is used to lower the levels of testosterone in the body, which can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Individuals who receive hormone therapy for prostate cancer typically have erection issues and a loss of sex drive. Some patients’ testicles may shrink and their penis may shorten. They might not be able to orgasm or they might orgasm at a lower intensity. They might also make less semen. Also, individuals who receive this type of medication may have physical changes, such as weight gain or hot flashes, that may have an impact on how they feel about sex.
Chemotherapy is also used to kill cancer cells. While chemotherapy is not a primary treatment for prostate cancer, it may be used in advanced cases. Chemotherapy can also cause ED.
Fortunately, there are several Erectile Dysfunction treatment options available that can help men regain sexual function after prostate cancer treatment.
- Oral medications
Oral medication is the most popular Erectile Dysfunction treatment option across the globe. The most commonly prescribed ED medications are known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. These medications include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). PDE5 inhibitors function by enhancing blood flow to the penis, which can assist males in achieving and maintaining an erection.
PDE5 inhibitors are generally safe and effective, but they may not work for everyone. Men who take nitrate medications for heart disease should not take PDE5 inhibitors, as the combination can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
- Vacuum erection devices
Male vacuum pump is a device that uses a vacuum to draw blood into the penis, creating an erection. The device consists of a cylinder that is placed over the penis, and a pump that creates a vacuum inside the cylinder. A constriction band is positioned at the base of the penis once an erection has been attained in order to maintain it. Some men like the vacuum pump because it can be used as frequently as they’d like and doesn’t require tablets or injections. Vacuum pumps for Erectile Dysfunction can help a man get an erection in two to three minutes with a little practice. The nerves typically required for erections are not involved in the operation of the vacuum pump. The vacuum pump may therefore be a good choice if the nerves were damaged or destroyed during prostate cancer treatment. To achieve an erection that is strong enough to penetrate, the vacuum pump can be useful. Men who are satisfied with the pump will frequently continue using it, though satisfaction varies. Many men combine the vacuum pump with other medical procedures.
VEDs are generally safe and effective, but they may be less convenient than other ED therapies. Some men may also find them uncomfortable or difficult to use.
- Penile injections
Penile injections involve injecting a medication directly into the penis to create an erection. The most commonly used medication for penile injections is alprostadil (Caverject, Edex), which works by relaxing the smooth muscles in the penis and increasing blood flow.
Penile injections may be less convenient than other ED therapies for some men. Some men may also find them uncomfortable or difficult to use. But often times, penile injections are effective. They work immediately since the medicine travels straight to where it’s needed, and they create a natural looking erection. This procedure should be started as soon as the patient completes his prostate cancer treatment. Even if a guy has little to no sexual desire, injections should still be effective; nevertheless, they work best when the patient exhibits some sexual interest and stimulation.
- Penile implants
Penile implants are devices that are surgically implanted into the penis to create an erection. Penile implants come in two different varieties: inflatable and malleable.
Inflatable penile implants consist of two cylinders that are placed inside the penis, a pump that is placed in the scrotum, and a reservoir that is placed in the abdomen. When the pump is squeezed, fluid is transferred from the reservoir to the cylinders, creating an erection. When the erection is no longer needed, a valve on the pump is released, and the fluid returns to the reservoir. The lifespan of the inflatable implant is typically at least 12 years. Nonetheless, in some circumstances, patients may require replacement after five or six years.
Malleable penile implants consist of rods that are implanted into the penis. The rods can be bent into a position for sexual activity, and then bent back into a more discreet position when not in use.
Penile implants are generally effective, but they are a more invasive option than other ED therapies. Some men may also find them uncomfortable or difficult to use, and there is a risk of infection or mechanical failure. According to studies, 3 out of 100 males with implants experience an infection. It implies that the implant needs to be removed. To avoid this, doctors administer antibiotics following surgery.
- Lifestyle changes
Making certain lifestyle changes can also help improve ED. These changes include:
- Stopping smoking: Stopping smoking can help prevent ED since it can harm blood vessels and limit blood flow.
- Losing weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of ED.
- Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can improve blood flow and reduce the risk of ED.
- Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help improve overall health, which can in turn improve sexual function.
Psychotherapy can be helpful for men who are experiencing ED as a result of psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, or stress. Psychotherapy can help men identify and address the underlying psychological issues that are contributing to their ED.
- Shockwave Therapy
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), often known as shockwave therapy, uses high-intensity sound waves to encourage tissue regeneration. The goal of shockwave therapy for ED is to increase blood flow to the penis and encourage the development of new blood vessels, both of which can enhance erectile function. With encouraging results, several studies have looked into the effectiveness of shockwave therapy for ED in patients who have received prostate cancer therapies. There are few clinics available that offer shockwave therapy as a Erectile Dysfunction treatment. Among those clinics, Shockwave Clinics Ltd which is a London based men’s health clinic, provides the best shockwave treatment for ED. They also offer other ground breaking technologies as treatment options for ED and other sexual issues, such as NanoVi, Tesla Chair and EMTT therapy. All these therapy options have shown great efficiency in beating Erectile Dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment.
- Sexual therapy
Sexual therapy can be helpful for men who are experiencing ED as a result of relationship issues or performance anxiety. Sexual therapy can help men and their partners improve communication and intimacy, which can in turn improve sexual function.
It is important for men who are experiencing ED after prostate cancer treatment to discuss their options with their healthcare provider. Each man’s situation is unique, and the best treatment approach will depend on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of the ED, the man’s overall health, and his personal preferences.
In addition to ED therapies, there are also several strategies that men can use to improve sexual function after prostate cancer treatment. These strategies include:
- Being patient: It can take time for sexual function to return after prostate cancer treatment. Men should be patient and allow themselves time to heal.
- Communicating with their partner: Open communication with their partner can help men and their partners navigate the changes in sexual function that may occur after prostate cancer treatment.
- Exploring new sexual activities: Men and their partners may need to explore new sexual activities that are comfortable and enjoyable for both partners.
- Using lubricants: Lubricants can help reduce discomfort during sexual activity.
- Using a vibrator: Vibrators can be used to stimulate the penis and improve sexual function.
So, ED is a common side effect of prostate cancer treatment, but there are several ED therapies available that can help men regain sexual function. These therapies include oral medications, vacuum erection devices, penile injections, penile implants, lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, and sexual therapy. Men who are experiencing ED after prostate cancer treatment should discuss their options with their healthcare provider and be patient as they navigate the changes in sexual function that may occur.