Dealing With Erectile Dysfunction After Prostate Surgery

prostate-cancer-ultrasoundThe prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system that has a role in semen production. Medical conditions affecting the prostate-like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer-are very common in men worldwide, especially those older than 50. Prostate surgery is the preferred treatment option for many prostatic problems, in particular cancer.

There is a major downside of the surgical option, however, and that is the reduced sexual ability you are likely to suffer from after undergoing the procedure. Even though you may feel relieved after having prostate surgery to remove cancer from your body or to correct another issue; dealing with erectile dysfunction after the surgery can prove more difficult than you had anticipated.

The impact that prostate surgery can have on your sex life can be traumatic and hard to deal with, especially if you were leading a perfectly normal sex life until then. One of the first things you need to do is speak to your doctor about your options. Including your partner in the discussion or at the very least keeping her informed about what you and your doctor have come up with is important, because your new situation affects her as well. It is also important to remember that the erectile dysfunction may not be permanent depending on the type of surgery you had. In some cases the surgeon is able to spare the nerve that is responsible for erections. Even in cases when the nerve cannot be spared, some men do regain the ability to achieve an erection after some time. In most cases, dealing with ED is something that you can expect for the first year following the surgery.

What You Can Do About It

Along with talking to your doctor and your partner, there are things that you can do to treat the erectile dysfunction while your body is healing from the surgery. Here are a few of those options that can help you get it up.

1. Prescription Medications

Medications such as Viagra and Cialis are made to treat erectile dysfunction and help a man achieve an erection. These are commonly prescribed to men following prostate surgery. While these drugs do have a high success rate when it comes to improving erectile function and rigidity, they are also known to have their fair share of side effects, particularly for patients who have heart problems. Speak to your doctor about the risks before starting one of these medications.

2. Penis Pumps

These are relatively inexpensive devices that work by creating a vacuum seal around the penis and pumping blood into erectile tissue using a hand or electric pump, which results is an instant erect penis. Both the manual and electric pumps offer the same effects, but the electric ones provide better control over the amount of “suction” produced. Pumps can be used right before sex to achieve an erection so that intercourse is possible. You will have to wear a rubber band around the base of your penis to keep the blood trapped inside and maintain a hard erection, otherwise it may go flaccid quickly.

A study published in the “National Journal of Andrology” (China) found that vacuum pumps improve erectile function after radical prostatectomy. See study summary at PubMed.

Penis pumps are generally safe and easy to use and are easily found at drugstores, adult toy retailers and wherever male enhancement products are sold. You should be careful not to overuse the pump to avoid causing serious injury to your sex organ. Each product should come with a user manual and safety instructions that you need to follow.

3. Herbal Remedies

The use of herbs to treat erectile dysfunction is something that has been practiced for centuries in traditional medicine. There are some herbs known to enhance male potency by increasing blood flow to the penis as well as improving stamina and desire. Some of the best known herbs for combating erectile dysfunction include Korean Ginseng, Damiana, Epimedium (Horny Goat Weed), and others.

Although many men use these natural sexual remedies every day, there is no concrete scientific proof of their effectiveness and none of them has been approved by the FDA so far. Trying won’t hurt as long as you consult with your doctor first and only get them from a reputable retailer.

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