Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. In fact, 1 out of 7 men will be diagnosed with this disease, so if you have been diagnosed, know that you are not alone! It is common to have many questions about this type of cancer and how its treatments will affect your life, especially your sex life. The good news is that the survival rate of prostate cancer is very high. However, since the prostate is located near your penis, you may be concerned that it will affect your ability to have sex and father children. Here are some tips for a healthy sex life after prostate cancer treatment.
Prostate Cancer and Sex
The prostate is a walnut sized gland located below your bladder and wraps around part of your urethra. It is responsible for making fluid in semen, which helps transport your sperm when you ejaculate.
Prostate cancer rarely causes problems with sex, but the treatments for prostate cancer often effect penile function and sex. Surgery and radiation are the two most common treatments for prostate cancer. Both of these can affect the nerves in your penis and could cause problems like erectile dysfunction (ED). Cryotherapy and ultrasound therapy can also cause ED. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy, as well. This therapy can lower your sex drive.
In addition to ED, you may also find that your orgasms are different after prostate cancer treatment. They may not feel as strong and you will not see as much ejaculate. You may also be unable to father children naturally because of the lack of semen produced by the prostate. You will still be able to ejaculate, but they will be “dry.” If you want to have children later in life, you can use a sperm bank to store your sperm until you and your partner are ready to conceive.
All of these treatments can change your body, causing you to feel differently about yourself and your relationship to your partner. However, many men are able to have a happy, fulfilling sex life after prostate cancer. Here is how.
The first thing to consider is that sex is about more than your sex organs. Your brain also plays a big role in your sex life! When you are diagnosed with cancer, you may have feelings of anxiety or experience depression. Both of these will lower your sex drive.
You may also be scared to have sex or fear that you are no longer attractive to your partner or potential partners. If you are in a relationship, it is very important to communicate with your partner how you are feeling. Let them know what concerns you have and that your change in sex drive has nothing to do with them.
If you are unable to have erections at first, remember that you can still feel close to your partner while cuddling, kissing, and using other stimulations. You can focus on your partner’s pleasure and enjoy being intimate without penetrative sex.
It also important to communicate your feelings, thoughts, and needs to your doctor. It may be embarrassing to talk about sex with your doctor, but there are a variety of medications and procedures they can use to help you. Be open about what issues are you having and answer their questions honestly.
If talking to your partner and doctor have not helped with sexual issues, then you can seek therapy. A licensed sex therapist can help you overcome any anxiety you may have about the act.
They can also help you talk through any feelings of doubt, guilt, or sadness that you may feel. Couples counselling is also a great option. Your partner can support you during sessions and you can come up with other activities to promote intimacy if you are not ready to have penetrative sex.
Many men have trouble getting an erection after surgery and radiation, however, most will be able to have erections again. Sometimes, ED is more permanent. When this happens, there are a variety of options to help. You can take medications, like Viagra, to help you get an erection but it should be noted that ED drugs can have a number of side effects.
Penile injections are also an option, if oral medication does not work. These require you to inject yourself before a sexual encounter. However, these treatments do have side effects that you should be aware of.
The side effects related to the injected alprostadil include bleeding from the injection site, thickening of the skin (fibrous tissue) and the injection site and a prolonged erection (priapism). Side effects of the suppository include bleeding from the urethra, development of fibrous tissue inside the urethra and pain when urinating. This is further discussed in our article Drugs For ED: Everything You Need To Know.
There is also a non-medication option available. A vacuum constriction device can be used to help get your penis erect without worrying about side effects from medications. Some couples have found that incorporating this process into their sex life works as foreplay.
Finally, penile implant surgery is possible. Once the device is installed, a button is pushed that will cause the penis to erect. This option is usually saved for last after other options have not proved successful.
Various studies have also shown natural supplements to offer a natural and safe way to help treat ED without the need to medical intervention and without side effects. For example, Ben’s Testo-Booster contains an herb that has been proven to help increase the body’s testosterone levels and help to produce stronger erections naturally.
As good blood flow is essential to getting and maintaining an erection, taking a 100% natural and organic treatment to make capillaries open and blood flow easier, such as Ben’s Organic Concentrated Garlic Extract, can help treat ED effectively and safely. With no side effects to note for any of these natural supplements, they are an option to be strongly considered when looking for a treatment for ED.
Sex after prostate cancer might not seem possible, but it is. It is important to be patient with yourself and understand that your body is going through a lot. Once treatments have been completed, take your time getting back into sex. If you have a partner, talk to them about your feelings about sex and intimacy. Once you are comfortable and medically cleared for penetrative sex, then seek advice from your doctor and therapists so that you can enjoy a healthy sex life.
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