Don't let erectile dysfunction caused by prostate cancer surgery get you down; there are plenty of treatment options to help you deal with impotence. See which one is right for you.
- Step 1: If you're healthy enough for surgery, consider getting a penile implant. A narrow, flexible plastic tube is inserted along the length of the penis; a balloon-like structure filled with fluid is attached to the abdominal wall; and a release button is implanted in the testicle. When the release button is pressed, fluid is released into the tube, creating an erection.
- TIP: 70 percent of men who have penile implants are happy with them 10 years later.
- Step 2: Stay positive. Medical intervention aside, it's one of the best ways you can deal with erectile dysfunction caused by prostate cancer surgery.
- FACT: A study estimated that 2 out of every 5 men whose prostate cancer was caught through a PSA test had tumors too slow-growing ever to be a threat.
- Step 3: Ask your doctor if you're a good candidate for a vacuum pump; it allows men with erectile dysfunction to create an erection mechanically by forcing blood into the penis using a vacuum seal.
- TIP: The medication in MUSE is also available in a liquid form that's injected directly into the penis; called Caverject, it was effective in 90 percent of men who tried it.
- Step 4: Ask your doctor about pills for erectile dysfunction, like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra. They relax the muscles in the penis, allowing blood to flow in. About 75 percent of men who had nerve-sparing prostate cancer surgery or precise forms of radiation therapy have achieved erections with these drugs.
- : Don't take any erectile dysfunction medication without consulting your doctor. The drugs are dangerous with certain medical conditions.
- Step 5: Ask your doctor about MUSE, a tiny medicated pellet that you insert into your urethra using a disposable plastic applicator. Like oral medications for erectile dysfunction, MUSE helps get blood pumping to the penis. It has been successful for about 40 percent of men who've tried it.
- Step 6: Don't despair: erectile dysfunction caused by prostate cancer surgery often resolves itself on its own, even though it may take a year or 2. 97 percent of prostate cancer surgery patients were able to achieve an erection adequate for intercourse a year after surgery.