Many patients have questions about problems with their prostate and impotence. The simple answer is that prostate cancer does not cause impotence. However, the treatments for the disease can oftentimes lead to impotence, otherwise known as erectile dysfunction.
All of the common treatments to prostate cancer can result in impotence. The most frequently used prostate cancer treatments are surgical removal of the prostate, radiation therapy, cryosurgery, and hormone therapy.
When will a cancer patient who has had treatment experience impotence? Depending on the treatment, the experience of the surgeon, and the progress of the cancer, it may be right away.
What treatment options are there available for prostate cancer treatment patients with impotence? The most common treatment is oral medications. If they do not work, other solutions include injections, suppositories, vacuum pump usage, and implants.
What are the oral medications? There are three oral medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate), Levitra (Vardenafil hydrochloride), and Cialis (Tadalfil). All three of them are what are known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which cause blood to flow to the penis during sexual arousal after the pill has been taken. Viagra and Levitra typically work within an hour after taking the pill and can last about four hours. Cialis, on the other hand, can last upwards of 36 hours.
What if PDE-5 inhibitors do not work? Unfortunately, PDE-5 inhibitors do not work for everyone. In fact, they do not work for about thirty percent of patients. Men may look into other methods. One method is intracavernous injection. This is the injection of medications such as Papaverine, Regitine, or Prostaglandin E-1 into the penis before intercourse. Another method is medicated suppositories that are inserted into the urethra. Alprostadil is the most common suppository and is also called medicated urethral system for erection, or MUSE for short.
Are there any other options? Vacuum pumps may appeal to some men. These work by constricting the blood into the penis resulting in an erection. Another method some men seek is penile implants. Implants come in two forms, inflatable and semi-rigid rods. Inflatable implants utilize cylinders and inflatable tubes that fill with a solution, making the penis erect. Semi-rigid rods are rods that are implanted into the penis that can be bent into erect or non-erect positions. These are substantially cheaper than inflatable implants, but can be uncomfortable.
A variety of solutions are available to men with prostate and impotence problems. This is a basic guide to some of the treatments available, but you should consult a medical professional for further information and suggestions for the best treatment for you.