Erectile Dysfunction Help after Prostate Surgery: The Basics
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that currently affects about one in seven men. However, if this cancer is caught early on prior to it developing, it is very treatable in many different ways. Sometimes, prostate surgery is recommended, as this surgery helps remove cancer and damage in your prostate gland.
However, like any surgery, there is a rehabilitation period and other parts of your body may be affected. Many patients experience erectile dysfunction (ED) after prostate gland surgery due to restricted blood flow to the area, even if they didn’t experiencea problem getting an erection prior to treatment.
In this article, we will discuss why you may experience problems with erectile function after your prostate surgery, as well as all the basics that you need to know regarding this issue.
Prostate Surgery: What You Need to Know
To really understand why sexual dysfunction may be a side effect after prostate surgery, we need to first talk about the surgery itself. Prostate surgery, a radical prostatectomy, removes the prostate gland. This gland is just below your bladder and surrounds the urethra, which carries both semen and urine through the penis.
However, like any serious treatment, there are risks for patients. First, there are nerves that surround this whole area of your body, which, in turn, can become damaged through the surgical process. There is now a surgery that is considered “nerve sparing,” but not everyone can have this surgery as it just depends on where the cancer in your prostate is.
Nerves can also be damaged if the cancer in your body has already spread to them. The damage of these nerves, in turn, can result in erectile dysfunction.
Does Every Man Experience ED After Prostate Surgery?
The short answer: no. Not every single man that has prostate surgery will experience erectile dysfunction. However, it is a verycommon occurrence and it should be talked about more because prostate surgery has become a very common procedure for men who have prostate cancer.
If men have experienced erectile dysfunction prior to the surgery, they will more than likely experience ED after the surgery, as well. The surgery will not fix this issue at all.
Certain factors also come into play. If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction after a prostate surgery, this could be for many different reasons:
- Age: Older men tend to experience erectile dysfunction more than younger men; this also applies to men who have had prostate surgery.
- Diabetes: Men with diabetes have been known to have higher counts of erectile dysfunction. This is only increased if they have had prostate surgery.
- Heart Disease: Heart disease or heart complications have always been linked to erectile dysfunction, as this can stop the natural blood flow in your penis. If you have heart disease, you may experience erectile dysfunction after your prostate surgery.
- Excessive Drinking of Alcohol: As you may know, excessive alcohol drinking is a factor for immediate erectile dysfunction. However, you may not know that continuous excessive drinking of alcohol over a long period of time can result in erectile dysfunction, too.
- Obesity: Obesity and erectile dysfunction have been linked for a long time, as an unhealthy or sedentary lifestyle leads to ED. Erectile dysfunction only increases for those in this situation after prostate surgery.
Recovery After Surgery
After surgery, the first step is to recover and attempt to be as healthy as you were prior to the surgery. This also goes for any sexual activity. For the most part, men who experience erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery tend to gain back their full capacities by about a year after the initial surgery.
However, recovery time differs for each individual man, just like any other surgery. If you had a lot of nerves that were damaged during surgery, and this is why you are experiencing problems with erectile function, it could potentially take longer for you to get back to the health that you were in prior to the surgery. This is because your body is trying to help create new nerves that are healthy and work as they should.
With that said, if you had a nerve-sparing surgery where no nerves were damaged in the process, you may gain back your health completely within less than a year and you should start to experience a normal erection again. However, it is hard to know just how each man will recover from surgery, as everyone is different and it may take a little time for your sexual function to return to normal. Always make sure to have open communication with your doctor so that you can recover in a healthy manner.
To gain back your full ability to become erect, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle after surgery. Healthy lifestyles are always the first step to helping with erectile dysfunction and can make the recovery process much easier.
ED Medications and Treatment
As we discussed above, while healthy men should be recovered and hopefully rid of their erectile dysfunction no longer than a year after their surgery, some men may want to consider using medication specifically for their erectile dysfunction. Prescription drugs like Viagra are commonly used, but there are also great over the counter medications that can be used as well. Alternatively, if you’d rather keep it as natural as possible, there are even some herbs that have been known to help stimulate and sexually arouse men.
Prior to taking any medications or herbs, however, you should definitely see your doctor. Every man is different, and everybody is different. There are some medications and herbs that don’t do well with other medications or health conditions. For example, you may not be able to take Viagra if you have any heart problems, as this can really worsen your health. See your doctorto understand what option would be best for you and your current situation.
There are many factors associated with erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery but it’s important to remember that this isn’t something that just you alone face. This is a common side effect and, through a healthy recovery period, you will hopefully be able to gain back all of your capacities in about a year’s time. However, every man is different, so you should always talk to your doctor to learn more about what your recovery process looks like, and how your erectile dysfunction can possibly be remedied.