Prostate surgery and erectile dysfunction
Prostate surgery for prostate cancer can disturb or damage some or all of the nerves or arteries you need to get an erection. The chance of you having erections again after having a radical prostatectomy vary widely – between 25% and 80%. Even nerve sparing surgery can lead to erectile dysfunction in half of men who have it.
The factors which can make a difference to how much you’re affected include:
- your age
- how experienced and skilled your surgeon is
- where your tumour is
Even if the nerves aren’t permanently damaged it can still take six to 18 months for the tiny nerve fibres to recover from the trauma of surgery and for sexual function to return.
Non surgical prostate treatments and erectile dysfunction
There are treatments other than surgery which some men have to treat their prostate cancer which can damage the tissues which are involved in having erections.
For men who have external beam radiation the chance of this happening is between 30% and 70%.
For men who have radiation emitting seeds implanted in their prostate (brachytherapy) the chance of this happening is 30% to 50%.
These changes may not happen for up to two years after treatment.
Erectile dysfunction is also a side effect of some hormone therapy medications. These would usually be prescribed for men whose prostate cancer has spread beyond their prostate.