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Does Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer Cause Erectile Dysfunction

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Different Radiation Treatments And Ed

Erectile Dysfunction from Prostate Cancer Treatment | Prostate Cancer Staging Guide

In addition to the timeline, another important factor in determining the likelihood of erectile dysfunction is the type of radiation treatment the patient undergoes. As more advanced treatments are developedsuch as brachytherapy , intensity-modulated radiotherapy , and 3-D conformal radiotherapyrates of ED decrease.

For example, only 25 to 50% of men who undergo brachytherapy experience long-term erectile dysfunction. Those who undergo traditional external beam radiation, on the other hand, experience ED at a rate of some 50%.

The experience of the radiation oncologist can also influence the likelihood of long-term erectile dysfunction in patients. More experienced radiation oncologists are able to deliver more precise radiation and spare surrounding tissues, protecting delicate blood vessels and nerves and preserving erectile function.

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Erectile Dysfunction Following Radical Prostatectomy

Assuming the management of erectile dysfunction requires expert diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis includes sexual function history, general medical history, psychosocial history, medication history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory testing.

Psychological treatment is an important adjunct to managing erectile dysfunction. If our diagnosis suggests a psychological association with your erectile dysfunction, we may recommend that you pursue counseling with a qualified psychologist available through the Clinic.For instance, there may be relationship problems that negatively affect sexual functioning with your partner. Referrals can be made to the Johns Hopkins’ noted Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit.

Erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer is a known potential complication of the surgery. With the advent of the nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy technique, many men can expect to recover erectile function in the current era.

However, despite expert application of the nerve-sparing prostatectomy technique, early recovery of natural erectile function is not common. Increasing attention has been given to this problem in recent years with the advancement of possible new therapeutic options to enhance erection function recovery following this surgery. Visit Dr. Burnett’s Neuro-Urology Laboratory

Are There Things I Can Do To Help Myself If I Have Erectile Dysfunction

Yes, there are changes you can make in your life that may help with your erectile dysfunction. Remember to speak with your doctor or healthcare team before making any of these changes.

Some changes you may want to consider are:

  • Try to exercise on a regular basis.
  • Try to eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink responsibly. Long-term, heavy drinking lowers your ability to have an erection.
  • Try to lower your stress and fatigue . Being diagnosed with prostate cancer and working in all the changes it brings to your life can be stressful. Stress and the tiredness caused by your prostate cancer treatment, can make it difficult for you to get in the mood. Many men going through prostate cancer treatment feel this way. Talking with your partner might help lower your stress. You may also speak to your doctor or healthcare team about how you are feeling. They are there to help you through this time.
  • Stop smoking. Research studies show that smoking can harm your ability to have sex. If you need help to stop smoking, speak with your doctor or healthcare team.
  • Practice your Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder and bowel. These muscles also help with erections. For more information, please see the IMPACT booklet, Kegel Exercises for Men.

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Prostate Cancer And Erectile Dysfunction:

The prostate is an exocrine gland that is responsible for the urine control and the secretion of fluids which are useful outside the body. It produces a fluid that transports and nourishes the sperm to fuse with the female ovum or egg. Prostate cancer is the cancer in the cells of the prostate gland, prostate cancer by itself does not cause erectile dysfunction, it is the treatment methods that result is this problem.

While prostate cancer is not the cause of erectile dysfunction, the treatment for this disease can lead to this complication. The following are the treatment methods in which erectile dysfunction is a common side effect.


Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect in people that have undergone prostate cancer surgeries. Prostate surgeries involve removing the prostate gland, nearby tissues and even lymph nodes if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Radical retropubic prostatectomy and radical perineal prostatectomy are the two types of surgeries depending on how the prostate is approached.

Radiation therapy:

Hormone therapy:

Hormone therapy is also referred to as androgen deprivation therapy or androgen suppression therapy. It aims at reducing the male hormones, called androgens and restrict their impact on prostate cancer as androgens help the growth of prostate.

How Soon After Prostate Cancer Treatment Can I Be Sexually Active Again

Prostate cancer breakthrough to save your sex life

This will depend on what type of treatment you have had and how you feel. It could be several weeks, for others it may be a lot longer for erections to return. Some men will never be able to keep an erection without the help of artificial methods like medicines or medical devices . If you were having problems having erections before treatment, this will not get better after treatment.

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Swelling Bruising Or Tenderness Of The Scrotum

Symptoms generally resolve on their own within three to five days. Oral anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are usually sufficient for pain relief, if necessary. You should avoid hot tubs and Jacuzzis for at least two to three days after the procedure. Postpone bike riding until the tenderness is gone.

How May Erectile Dysfunction Affect My Sexual Relationships

Prostate cancer and its treatment can affect your desire for sex. Every man is different but the feelings caused by having cancer and the physical stress of treatment can affect the way you feel about your body and your relationships. Some men talk about feelings of a loss of their role within the partnership or family. This can sometimes affect a mans self esteem and confidence. For others, the physical effects of treatment may lead to tiredness and a lack of energy. Physical changes after some treatments can also affect the way you feel about your body and appearance . All of these things may result in a lack of interest in sex.

If you are feeling tired or under stress, tell your partner how your feel. Loss of interest in sex does not mean you lose interest in a loving and supportive relationship. There are ways to remain physically intimate without having sex. If you are used to a close physical relationship, it is important to remember that hugs, cuddles and kisses maintain intimacy, provide support, and do not have to lead to sex.

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Choosing Sero For Your Prostate Cancer Treatment

The potential of erectile dysfunction is only one of many factors youll likely consider when deciding on a prostate cancer treatment. The cancer care teams at SERO are here to help.

Our 30+ board-certified radiation oncologists have combined decades of experience in treating prostate and other cancers. Our expertise allows us to identify the best treatment for your cancer and apply it with precision, our compassionate care teams will help you navigate any side effects and symptoms that may arise.

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What Have I Learned By Reading This

Radiation Treatment and Erectile Dysfunction – The Nebraska Medical Center

You learned about:

  • Why prostate cancer treatment can cause erectile dysfunction
  • What can be done about erectile dysfunction
  • How erectile dysfunction may affect your sex life
  • What your partner can expect

If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important that you understand what is going on with your prostate cancer treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control. It will also help you manage any side effects you may have from your treatment.

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The Connection Between Prostate Cancer And Erectile Dysfunction

Prostate cancer is a condition that begins in the prostate, often resulting from genetic mutations. There are many options for diagnosing prostate cancer, and its progress or stage determines treatment options. Symptoms or complications of prostate cancer include progressive problems with urination, blood in urine, body pain and erectile dysfunction .

When a patient experiences ED as a complication of prostate cancer, there are new aspects to their treatment that must be considered. Because this topic is often private for patients, physicians are trained to discuss this condition with the greatest level of sensitivity and work alongside patients to achieve positive outcomes.

Causes Of Ed After Prostate Removal Surgery For Prostate Cancer

During a radical prostatectomy, the or sometimes removed with cancer. Nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy seeks to preserve as much of the nerves as possible. Most prostate cancer surgeries performed nowadays as nerve-sparing surgeries. In my practice, I perform nerve-sparing procedures for around 90% of my patients.

However, in patients with high-risk, aggressive prostate cancer , it is important to remove all cancer tissue and sometimes that requires removal of cavernous nerves running in nerve bundles around the prostate gland.

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Is Erectile Dysfunction After Prostatectomy Permanent

Many men recover at least some erectile function after surgery but many require medications to achieve erections. Younger men are more likely to recover sexual function.

It is important to understand that most men will require treatment for erectile dysfunction after radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy for prostate cancer even with nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy. When surgeons quote that they have a high success rate with maintaining erections, it is important to understand that .

Nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy helps to decrease the risks of erection problems but does not entirely prevent them.

Are There Any Surgical Techniques That Have Been Developed To Improve Erectile Function Outcomes

Prostate Cancer Risk Does Not Increase with Vasectomy, Study Reports

At this time, there are several different surgical approaches to carry out the surgery, including retropubic or perineal approaches as well as laparoscopic procedures with freehand or robotic instrumentation. Much debate but no consensus exists about the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches. Further study is needed before obtaining meaningful determinations of the success with different new approaches.

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Erection After Prostate Cancer Treatment

Following prostate cancer treatment of any kind, it is a possibility that you will no longer be able to have an erection. If you are unable to have an erection following treatment, this condition may last only for a short time or could be permanent.

All of the currently available, potentially curative treatment options for prostate cancer can result in temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction , though many men who undergo treatment for prostate cancer see little or no ill effects to their erectile function. Radiation therapy, prostate surgery, cryotherapy, hormone therapy, and others can all result in ED.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to determine which men will have ED following treatment. In general, men with vascular conditions, diabetes, obesity, or pre-existing erectile problems are at greater risk for ED.

Studies that have sought to determine the chance of men having ED following prostatectomy, radiation, and other prostate cancer treatments have resulted in widely varying numbers. Some studies seem to show that only a small percentage of men have long-standing issues with ED, while others have shown much higher numbers.

Additionally, for men being treated with hormone deprivation therapy, the symptoms of ED often end after stopping the treatment.

Sex And The Prostate: Overcoming Erectile Dysfunction When You Have Prostate Disease

Erectile dysfunction can have many causes, including some forms of prostate disease and medications and surgery for prostate cancer. Fortunately, in many cases, this problem can often be effectively addressed. Some men find relief by taking medications to treat erectile dysfunction. If these arent effective for you, a number of other options, including injections and vacuum devices, are available. The possibility of finding the right solution is now greater than ever.

This article explores why men may develop erectile dysfunction as a consequence of some prostate diseases, and details the current treatment options to restore sexual functioning.

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Erectile Dysfunction After Prostate Cancer Treatment

  • Original: May 2, 2020

Erectile dysfunction is the most common side effect after prostate cancer treatment irrespective of precision dose and delivery of radiation therapy or if the nerves were spared during surgery. Sexual dysfunction occurs because the nerves and blood vessels that control the physical aspect of an erection are incredibly delicate, and any trauma or stress to them can result in temporary or permanent damage.

Within one year after treatment, most men with intact nerves that were not significantly damaged will see a substantial improvement in sexual function. The skill of the surgeon or radiation oncologist can have a significant impact on long term sexual function, so its important to select your treatment and team very carefully.

When selecting treatment make sure your doctor explains the type and probability of side effect from their treatment facility. Sometimes treatment selection will depend on which side effects are most tolerable for you age and lifestyle.

Age, obesity and the ability to spare the nerves are the major determinants of the type and severity of side effects. In general, it is more challenging to spare the nerves in men with higher risk disease because the prostate cancer may have already spread past the nerves outside the prostate capsule.

What Is Prostate Cancer

Management of erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer treatment – Dr Gregory Malone

Prostate cancer develops in the prostatea small gland that makes seminal fluid. It is the second most common type of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows over time and in the beginning stays within the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that is caught early has a better chance of successful treatment.

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Psychological Effects Of Cancer Treatment On Erections

Many men report disappointment, fear, and distress when they have trouble with erections. They report they feel that something important is missing. Men may report a general unhappiness with life and depression when they have problems with erections. These feelings are a natural part of coping with erection problems. And most men, if they are able find effective treatments to help with their erections, will start to feel better. If these feelings are severe or persist, most men find it very helpful to see a mental health professional who specializes in sexual issues or a psychiatrist who can help address these feelings.

Worries about self-image and performance can sometimes lead to erection problems, too. Instead of letting go and feeling excited, a man may focus on whether he will be able to function, and fear of failure might make it happen. He may blame the resulting problem on his medical condition, even though he might be able to have an erection if he were able to relax.

A therapist or mental health professional who specializes in helping patients with sexual issues can often assist in the treatment of erection problems caused by anxiety and stress. Any treatment for an erection problem should be based on the results of a thorough exam, which should include both medical questions and certain medical tests.

How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated

Current treatment options for erectile dysfunction for men who have received treatment for prostate cancer include:

  • Oral medications, such as tadalafil , vardenafil , avanfil , or sildenafil
  • Injections of medicine into the before intercourse
  • Use of a vacuum constriction device to draw blood into the to cause an erection
  • Penile implants

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Study Of Sildenafil Citrate During And After Radiotherapy/hormone Therapy For Erectile Function Versus Radiotherapy/hormone Therapy For Prostate Cancer

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
First Posted : September 2, 2005Results First Posted : October 20, 2017Last Update Posted : October 20, 2017

Radiation sometimes affects the ability for a person to have a normal erection. Complete loss of erections after radiation treatment can happen in 40-50% of treated patients. There are medications, like sildenafil , that can help the ability to get back erections in almost 70% of such patients.

Condition or disease
Drug: sildenafil citrate and questionairesDrug: placebo tablets and questionaires Phase 3
Layout table for study information

Study Type :
Official Title: This Protocol is a Randomized Prospective Study Comparing Prophylactic and on Demand Sildenafil Citrate Usage Administered During and After Radiotherapy With or Without Hormone Therapy Versus Radiotherapy With or Without Hormone Therapy Alone for the Preservation of Erectile Function After Therapy for Potent Patients With Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer
Study Start Date :
radiotherapy with hormones, questionaire assessments Drug: sildenafil citrate and questionaires

Duration Of Erectile Dysfunction After Nerve

  • Erectile dysfunction usually persists for at least 3-12 months even after a nerve-sparing prostatectomy, whether open or robotic/laparoscopic.
  • The patient may start to experience spontaneous erections during this period.
  • It is important to start the treatment for erectile dysfunction as soon as possible. There is no reason to delay treatment as delay can affect patient relationships and self-esteem

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