For many men fighting prostate cancer, a prostatectomy is a necessary, life-saving surgery. At FullMast, we get visits and calls from men who have questions about one particular side effect of this surgery: erectile dysfunction.

ED is a very common side effect of a prostatectomy, and many men are eager to know their options to regain their sex life after the surgery. Always discuss concerns with the urologist who can explain the risks and can help with penile rehabilitation. Here are some of the most important things we share with our patients when they come to us with erectile dysfunction after a prostatectomy.

How Common is Post-Prostatectomy Erectile Dysfunction?

Experiencing erectile dysfunction after a prostatectomy is incredibly common. According to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Cancer, as many as 88% of men who undergo this treatment experience erectile dysfunction afterwards.

It may be common to experience erectile dysfunction after a prostatectomy, but that doesn’t make it easy. Many studies have concluded that the majority of men who face this issue find it greatly affects their lives. This impact is heightened by the fact that this particular side effect can last much longer than some of the others involved in the surgery.

Why is Erectile Dysfunction a Side-Effect of a Prostatectomy?

Simply put, the two bundles of nerves which control erections are very close to the prostate. Your ability to get an erection will depend on the state of these nerves following the surgery.

Depending where a patient’s cancer is, it can be difficult or impossible for even the most careful surgeon to avoid them during the surgery. It is a good idea to ask your doctors and surgeons key questions about where the cancer is located and what their success rates are with avoiding these nerves (a practice known as nerve-sparing) before the surgery.

Will both bundles removed? Just one? Neither? The severity of any potential erectile dysfunction and you treatment options will be influenced by what has and hasn’t been affected during the prostate surgery.

How Should I Treat Erectile Dysfunction After My Prostatectomy?

It is important that your doctor and surgeon, including an erectile dysfunction specialist, are aware of your unique situation so the best post-prostatectomy treatment can be provided for you. Treatment options will depend largely on your pre-existing health and the details of your surgery.

It is best to address the issue as soon as possible. Men who speak with a specialist about their sexual health before the surgery have the most options to maintain their penile health. If you have already undergone the surgery, the sooner you contact an erectile dysfunction clinic the more treatment options will be available to you.

Erectile Dysfunction Support in the Toronto and Vancouver area

At FullMast, our multimodal, personalized erectile dysfunction treatment model has helped many men undergoing a prostatectomy take control of their sex lives.

If you are preparing for a prostatectomy or have already had the surgery, our clinics in Toronto and Vancouver are available to help you. Contact us online today or call 1-844-500-1177.

Written by Dr. Ron Mayer, FullMast’s Chief Medical Officer