Whether you’ve had surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to treat prostate cancer, chances are, you have suffered some changes in sexual function. After a radical prostatectomy, men may have nerve and blood vessel alterations to their erections that make it more difficult to achieve and maintain erections. Additionally, because the prostate gland and seminal vesicles make the majority of semen fluid, men after prostatectomy will no longer ejaculate. They can still have the pleasurable sensation of orgasm, just no ejaculate fluid. Ejaculate fluid also greatly diminishes after radiation therapy. Erections tend to lessen after radiation as well although it is often a more gradual decline.
UCLA Health—The Men’s Clinic offers a penile rehabilitation program for men after prostate cancer therapy. You do not have to have your cancer care through UCLA Health to see the specialists at The Men’s Clinic. The idea of penile rehabilitation is to optimize blood flow to the erectile tissue as it is recovering from surgery or radiation therapy.
There are medications and therapies that have strong clinical data to support the concept of erectile restoration. A mainstay of this therapy is daily use of medications such as Viagra and Cialis. Additionally, there are medications that act directly in the penis that can improve erectile function during the recovery period after surgery and radiation.
The important thing about sexual function after prostate cancer treatment is to not give up. Despite the best skills and efforts of your surgeon, you may have a significant reduction in your ability to achieve a full erection. There are multiple therapeutic options available to you. Feel comfortable at The Men’s Clinic that you are getting state of the art care in a relaxing environment that ultimate should lead to good sexual outcomes.
During your visit at The Men’s Clinic, you may meet with a few professionals that will discuss various treatment options for erectile dysfunction with you. The doctors at UCLA may order blood work and a penile ultrasound to better characterize the severity and reversibility of your condition. You may have a teaching visit scheduled to learn how to give yourself penile injections to improve erections and blood flow to the penis. You may also meet with a representative from the penile prosthesis company to discuss how implants work and how to best obtain insurance coverage for the procedure. There is no pressure for you to make any decisions on any treatment modalities. The goal of your visit is to get the best information from world experts on male sexual dysfunction so you and potentially your partner can make the best decision possible for you.
Board-certified urologists staff The Men’s Clinic at UCLA and you can be assured you are getting an experienced physician performing your evaluation and procedure in a relaxed and comfortable environment. For more information and to schedule an appointment, please call the UCLA Urology Appointment line at (310) 794-7700.