How Long Does Erectile Dysfunction Last After Prostate Surgery
Is erectile dysfunction a possibility after prostate surgery?
Many patients are concerned about it and prefer other prostate cancer treatments.
However, they should know that most erectile issues are temporary and improve after a while.
These patients usually recover from this problem after a few months.
In this article, we cover sexual function after prostate cancer surgery thoroughly, tell you how long ED can last, and how to cope with erectile problems.
After Prostate Cancer Surgery
After your operation, you will wake up in the recovery room. Once its safe to do so, you usually go back to the ward. Recovery rooms and wards are busy and often noisy places that some people find strange and disorienting. You’ll feel drowsy because of the anaesthetic and painkillers.
It takes a few weeks for you to recover after your operation. You will need to spend a few days in the hospital and then give yourself time to recover once you are home. Most people can go back to normal activities between 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
What Is A Radical Prostatectomy
Surgery to remove the prostate is called a radical prostatectomy. Before the operation, the surgeon will explain what will happen and tell you about the possible side effects. They may also tell you about other treatments that may help in your situation, such as radiotherapy.
The aim of the surgery is to remove all of the cancer cells. It is usually only done when the cancer is contained within the prostate and has not spread to the surrounding area.
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What Are The Long
As per the American Cancer Society, there are two common long-term effects when the prostate is removed urinary inconsistency and erectile dysfuction.
Both these issues are quite common and will last at least three months in all the cases. Most will see improvement in about 12 months.
Nevertheless, some urinary issues and erectile dysfunction may be chronic and last for a few years, requiring continuous care and treatment.
Things To Do After Prostate Surgery
After prostate surgery, you will not be allowed to stand up, as a requirement of postoperative care. During this period, a washing solution in the form of serum will be applied to your bladder and it will be continuously drained through a catheter. This solution is intended to prevent coagulation of minor bleeding that can develop after surgery, and keep the urinary tract open.
Your doctor may end this procedure the next day or the same night, depending on his/her preferences. This process will be ended once you stand up and walk. From that moment on, the water you drink and the urine you pass will take over the task of this washing solution, and will protect you from coagulation that can occur after surgery.
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Making Changes To Your Sex Life
After prostate surgery and during this recovery period, you might need to make a few changes.
Certain sex positions require a very hard erection to work.
Others will do the trick, even if you cant maintain an erection. The downward doggy, the morning spoon, and the reverse cowgirl are just a few examples.
Just be creative and try something new.
This moment can also become an occasion to learn about yourself and experience sex differently.
You can try new types of stimulation, sex toys, and various kinds of non-penetrative sex.
The whole idea behind this is to enjoy the moment and feel satisfied even if nothing goes as expected.
Remember that sex is much more than penetration, and you can feel pleasure in many ways.
Patients with severe psychogenic erectile dysfunction sometimes need to take this approach.
They need to stay clear from penetrative sex for a while.
This period will allow them to look for alternative methods and other types of stimulation.
Then, resuming penetrative sex feels more satisfying than ever, and erectile dysfunction starts to resolve.
Psa Testing For Detection Of Prostate Cancer
The introduction of prostate-specific antigen testing into clinical practice has greatly increased the detection of localized prostate cancer and, by doing so, has decreased the diagnosis of regional and metastatic disease. PSA testing has had such a profound clinical effect that questions have arisen regarding the significance of the cancers that are being detected.
Stage, grade, tumor volume, and PSA testing are used to determine whether a prostate cancer is clinically significant or insignificant. However, there is no generally accepted precise definition for this distinction.
The goal of early detection of prostate cancer is to identify clinically significant cancers at a time when treatment is most likely to be effective. The risk of death from prostate cancer is significant in those with moderate- to high-grade tumors. This is especially true in younger men. Long-term survival is compromised when the cancer has spread beyond the confines of the prostate, into the regional lymph nodes, and to distant sites.
Several studies have shown that with a PSA cutoff of 4.0 ng/mL, clinically insignificant cancers are detected in fewer than 20% of men, but nearly 50% of all the cancers detected because of an elevated PSA level are localized, and these patients are candidates for potentially curative therapy. Only a small proportion of prostate cancers detected by PSA testing and treated with radical prostatectomy are low-volume and low-grade tumors.
Prostate Surgery Recovery Timeline
Prostate surgery recovery varies from person to person depending on how their body heals naturally and how severe the condition was prior to surgery. Here are some tips to help you through your recovery.
Prostatectomy typically requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay of 1 to 4 days. Your physician will have you walk around the day of or the day after your procedure. You may also be instructed to do little exercises while you are in the bed. All prostate cancer patients will be discharged from the hospital with a urinary catheter in place. A catheter is a thin flexible tube that is usually left in your bladder for 1 to 2 weeks to help drain your urine. Your doctor will give you specific guidelines about how to care for your catheter at home. Bladder control may be difficult for a few months after the catheter is removed. Some males will need a urinary catheter for 5 to 10 days after surgery.
Refrain from driving for 1 week after your prostate surgery. Do not drive until your catheter is removed. Also, be aware that you should not drive on prescribed pain medications unless a doctor says its ok. After one week, it should be safe to resume driving and begin most daily activities.
What Are The Risks Or Complications Of Radical Prostatectomy
- Urinary incontinence: Some people experience urinary incontinence, although most people recover continence. Your provider can help you manage loss of bladder control and urine leakage.
- Erectile dysfunction: Many people have problems maintaining erections after this surgery. The likelihood of recovery of erectile function depends on your erections before surgery and your surgeons ability to spare the nerves that control erection at the time of surgery. You may need to use erectile dysfunction medications or other treatments. The older you are, the more likely problems may occur.
There is also a small risk that you may experience:
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Urination And Incontinence In The Postoperative Period
People who have undergone a prostatectomy will be taught how to operate the catheter before they leave hospital after the operation. The operation of most catheters is relatively similar and involves collecting the urine in a drainage bag, which can then be emptied into the lavatory. The drainage bag must be changed at appropriate intervals.
All men normally experience some level of incontinence after the catheter has been removed, particularly after involuntary bodily actions such as sneezing or laughing. It is also common to experience sudden impulses to urinate while the catheter is in place. This is called a bladder spasm. Bladder spasms should ideally not be particularly painful or occur very often. Therefore, it is wise to consult the doctor if they occur frequently enough to be bothersome or are accompanied by acute pain.
For most men, urinary problems are temporary and are effectively resolved by practicing pelvic floor and Kegel exercises regularly, as recommended by the doctor. Pads should be worn whilst urinary leakage is occurring and changed throughout the day as needed.
What Are The Patient Criteria For Robotic
The decision to surgically treat prostate cancer involves many considerations. UC Davis urologic surgeons will discuss your treatment options and help you decide the best course of action. Nearly all patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer will have the option of choosing robotic-assisted surgery. It is the now most commonly selected prostatectomy approach in the United States. Patients with significant abdominal adhesions or obesity, however, may not be appropriate candidates for the this procedure.
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Urinary Problems After Surgery
Most men cant control their bladder properly when their catheter is first removed. This is because surgery can damage the muscles and nerves that control when you urinate.You might just leak a few drops if you exercise, cough or sneeze . Or you might leak more and need to wear absorbent pads, especially in the weeks after your surgery.Leaking urine usually improves with time. Most men start to see an improvement one to six months after surgery. Some men leak urine for a year or more and others never fully recover, but there are things that can help and ways you can manage it.
A few men may find it difficult to urinate after surgery . This can be caused by scarring around the opening of the bladder or the urethra .Some men find they suddenly and painfully cant urinate. This is called acute urine retention and it needs treating quickly to prevent further problems. If this happens, call your doctor or nurse, or go to your nearest accident and emergency department.
Watch Pauls story for one mans experience of managing urinary problems after surgery below.
Sexual problems after surgery
How To Prepare For Your Surgery
Your urologist or doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your surgery. Typically, they will want to send you for a few diagnostic tests, like blood draws or X-rays, to verify your general health prior to surgery. Your doctor will also advise if you need to stop taking any of your normal medications.
Dont make any sudden changes without first consulting your doctor. However, there are several easy lifestyle changes you can start doing right now to help your surgery go smoothly and speed up your recovery time.
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After Prostatectomy: What To Expect
At the hospital : You should expect to be in the hospital for one night. At Johns Hopkins, all rooms on the urology floor are private. Here, nurses help patients get moving shortly after surgery to prevent blood clots and other postoperative risks.
First few days at home : After youre sent home, you might find that regular ibuprofen or acetaminophen will be sufficient pain management for the first few days. If over-the-counter medications arent enough, your doctor can help you with alternatives.
One week after surgery : After your surgery site heals, your catheter will be removed. This is usually seven to 10 days after surgery. This can easily be done at your doctors office. Some people decide to take out their catheter at home. If thats the case, ask your doctor for instructions first.
This is also about the time your surgeon will call you with the final pathology results. He or she will discuss what you should know and whether further treatment is necessary.
One month after surgery : Doctors recommend no strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least one month after surgery. Most people take off work for three to four weeks. If you work from home, you could return to work sooner.
- Urinary incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction
Recovery from surgery takes time. These side effects are often temporary. However, if they are affecting your quality of life, ask your doctor about options that can help.
Improving Sensitivity Of Psa Testing
Prostate-specific antigen testing with a cutoff of 4.0 ng/mL has a sensitivity of 67.5-80%, which implies that 20-30% of cancers are missed when only the PSA level is obtained. Sensitivity can be improved by lowering the cutoff or by monitoring PSA values so that a rise in PSA level of more than 20-25% per year or an increase of 0.75 ng/mL in 1 year would trigger performance of a biopsy regardless of the PSA value.
The specificity of PSA at levels higher than 4.0 ng/mL is 60-70%. Specificity can be improved by using age-adjusted values, PSA velocity , and the ratio of free PSA to total PSA . Another method is to adjust the PSA according to the size of the prostate or volume determinations of the transitional zone, which produces most of the PSA, and the peripheral zone, which produces less PSA but a majority of prostate cancers.
In the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer, Schroder et al studied a strategy for the early detection of prostate cancer that excluded digital rectal examination results and used a PSA cutoff of 3.0 ng/mL as the only indication for a biopsy. This protocol was compared with one in which a PSA level of 4.0 ng/mL or higher or the presence of a positive DRE or transrectal ultrasound was the indication for a biopsy. In a follow-up study, Schroder et al confirmed a substantial reduction in mortality from prostate cancer as a result of PSA testing.
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Causes And Surgical Considerations For Prevention
Although the development of urinary incontinence can be explained by intraoperative injury to various structures affecting urinary continence, postprostatectomy erectile dysfunction has more simple causes, and the most important factor is injury to the cavernosal nerves. These nerves are the most important structures in maintaining healthy erectile function owing to their anatomical relationship with the prostate, running in the 3 and 9 oclock directions from the apex of the prostate, and along the posterolateral aspect of the prostate body, injury during radical prostatectomy is inevitable, and this results in postoperative erectile dysfunction. Mechanisms for this nerve injury include unintended physical damage to the nerve itself during surgery, but the extent of nerve injury is reported to differ, and neuropraxia, in particular, is known as a representative mechanism of nerve injury capable of recovery and rehabilitation . Owing to continual efforts to minimize intraoperative nerve injury, when complete resection is not oncologically necessary in patients with preserved preoperative erectile function, bilateral nerve-sparing surgery has become a major trend in modern surgery. Minimizing unintended intraoperative damage to the NBV is considered the most important principle in preserving erectile function.
Mri Technology Revolutionizes Screening Results
Advances in magnetic resonance imaging technology over the past five years have revolutionized the way we screen men for elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen a protein made in the prostate and released into the bloodstream.
Men with prostate cancer typically have elevated levels of PSA. Previously, when high levels were detected through a PSA blood test, we would conduct a biopsy to collect and test prostate gland tissue for cancerous cells. This process had several drawbacks:
- PSA tests can show elevated levels when no cancer is present.
- Elevated PSA can be a sign of other conditions, such as benign prostate enlargement, a urinary tract infection, or an inflamed prostate gland.
- Not all prostate cancers are life-threatening, since the cancer is slow growing in many men. Thus, the current goal is to identify patients at high risk of having clinically significant prostate cancer while avoiding unnecessary biopsies in men at low risk.
Using advanced MRI technology, weve reduced the number of biopsies we perform by almost half while detecting the same number of cancer cases. Getting sharper, clearer MRIs also helpsclinicians and patients make better decisions about who should undergo biopsy for prostate cancerand who might benefit from certain treatments, including nerve-sparing robotic prostatectomy.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer
Risk factors for prostate cancer include age, family history, race, and obesity. You may be at higher risk for prostate cancer if you are over age 50, have a family history of prostate cancer, are overweight, or if you are a Black man. See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- Trouble passing urine
Changes In Your Sex Life
Most men experience some decline in erectile function after their prostate is removed, but this can be managed. It can take six months or even up to a year for the affected nerves to recover from surgery. But with proper therapy and treatment, most patients can have good erectile function again, says Dr. Fam.
Treatment options include:
Work with your doctor to find a treatment that is right for you.
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What Changes Do I Need To Make To My Diet
Discuss your post-surgery diet with your doctor as you will probably want to avoid or at least minimize issues such as constipation. The lack of exercise, the medication, even the stress, might affect your bowel functions. Your diet will be focused on eating more vegetables, fruits, grains and avoiding meat, especially the red one, pasta, alcohol, fast-food, sugar and processed desserts.
Life After Treatment: Alan Weiners Story
When Alan Weiner found out he had prostate cancer, it was a huge and frightening emotional bomb blast.
The New York native was diagnosed in February 2014 at age 69. After seeking out opinions from various doctors, Weiner underwent robotic prostatectomy in April at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Because of the emotional toll his diagnosis took, Weiner says he found a support group that helped him through that uncertain time in his life. I joined Gildas Club after surgery, but if I had known about it, I would have attended sessions prior to deciding treatment, he says. I found a friend who went through the process and was understanding of my anxieties, fears, and projections.
I never thought that the emotional aspects of this would be so difficult to deal with, Weiner adds. I never believed that the mortality rate of prostate cancer was very low, and I believed that I would be the one who would not make it. I now know that my fears and negative thinking were things most men go through, however.
Today, Weiner goes for routine checkups, and two years after his initial diagnosis, his PSA level is undetectable. He deals with persistent sexual dysfunction, but the bladder control issues he first experienced after his surgery have resolved.
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