You need to have (or already had) prostate surgery and you’re worried about your sexual health moving forward. With rates of erectile dysfunction (ED) after a prostatectomy as high as 85%, you have very good reason to be concerned.
While it may take some time for your sexual function to get back to normal after prostate surgery, board-certified urologist Dr. Robert Cornell wants you to understand that there are solutions.
Here’s a look at post-prostatectomy ED and some ways in which we can help restore your sex life.
Why the ED?
The primary reason why most men experience some issues with achieving an erection immediately after prostate surgery is due to nerve damage. When we remove your prostate, there may be some collateral damage to the nerves in the area — your cavernous nerves. While we make every effort to spare these nerves during the procedure, some disruption might be inevitable.
The thing about nerves, however, is that they do grow back.
Another issue that can affect a man’s sexual health is the fact that there’s no more semen output after a prostatectomy, which can affect them psychologically. Not to mention, you may be encountering post-prostatectomy incontinence, which may be making you feel less than sexy. These psychological challenges can be as great as the physical ones.
Treating ED after prostate surgery
In the months following your prostate surgery, our frontline treatment for related ED may be through erection pills or injections that increase the flow of blood to your penis. These techniques bypass the need for nerve involvement and create an erection through blood flow alone. This approach doesn’t work for everyone, and we can’t use pills if you’re on certain heart medications.
If pills aren’t an option for you, there are vacuum or ring devices that can help encourage an erection.
We want to underscore the importance of remaining optimistic and patient after your prostate surgery, as it may take some time for your sexual function to reboot itself. We encourage you to get creative during this time and perhaps think about sex as something that doesn’t always have to involve penetration. The key is to remain sexually active.
Research shows that 40% to 50% of men return to presurgery function after one year and up to 60% by year two.
If you’re still struggling with ED after a year or two, you haven’t run out of options here, either. We’ve had great success with penile implants in helping our patients to regain their sex lives after prostate surgery. After we install the implant, your erections are at your command.
If you’d like to learn more about erectile dysfunction after prostate surgery and how you can best manage the issue, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.