Prostate cancer treatments can
result in impotence, which is the inability to obtain
and sustain an erection satisfactory of sexual intercourse.
Impotence after prostate cancer cryotherapy
depends on a number of factors, including the patient's
age, his current sexual functioning, and the location
and stage of his disease. Younger men, who were able
to have intercourse without a pharmaceutical aid such
or a similar drug prior to treatment, are more likely
to retain sexual function after undergoing cryosurgery.
Prostate cancer patients should
not expect to be able to perform sexually in the days
or even weeks after receiving treatment. Because the
body has just undergone a medical procedure, sexual
function may be affected and may return to normal as
the body heals from the procedure.
What is the Relationship
Between Prostate Cancer and Impotence?
The nerves that cause erections are called the neurovascular
nerve bundles. These nerve bundles sit on either
side of the prostate gland. To ensure the destruction
of all the cancerous cells, surgeons freeze and thaw
the entire gland including these nerve bundles. Without
the nerves, the brain is unable to trigger the chemical
and physiological reactions that cause erection. Additionally,
the destruction of the prostate gland and some of the
surrounding tissues can damage or divert the flow of
blood to the penis.
The neurovascular nerve bundles,
however, are able to regenerate. Some of the men who
reported impotence in the months following prostate
cancer cryosurgery were eventually able to maintain
erections without assistance from medical devices or
Nerve-Sparing Prostate Cancer
Some doctors are beginning to investigate the effectiveness
of focused cryotherapy, during which they selectively
target the cancerous sections of the prostate to spare
one or both nerve bundles. This procedure is called
unilateral or bilateral nerve-sparing cryotherapy, similar
in the concept to the nerve-sparing prostatectomy.
Coping with Impotence after
Speak to your doctor about impotence side effects, especially
if you have not yet undergone treatment. To learn about
the physiological and chemical reactions that cause
erections, please click here. Listed below are some
of the common therapies for impotence:
Therapy after Prostate Cancer Treatment
After undergoing treatment, some men may experience
impotence as a result of the stress associated with
the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Sex therapy
is a worthwhile option for many couples, as it encourages
communication, intimacy, and human contact, all of which
can contribute to sexual confidence of the individual
and a more gratifying experience for both partners.
Impotence Medications: Pills
Sildenafil, tadalafil, and varendafil have all received
large amounts of media attention. These drugs are known
inhibitors and work to prevent a naturally-occurring
chemical from contributing to a loss of erection. Medications
are available in other forms such as urethral
suppositories and penile
injections which cause erections by relaxing the
smooth arterial muscle of the penis and allow blood
to flow in. Speak to your doctor about possible side
effects and which medication can help you.
Medical Devices and Surgical
Some patients who cannot rely on pharmaceutical treatment
may consider exploring medical devices. Vacuum
erection devices draw blood into the chambers of
the penis. Additionally, there are surgical options.
both mechanical and semi-rigid may be options for some
To read about coping with impotence,
please click here
or speak to your doctor about a therapy that may be
right for you.