At Ontario Men’s Health (OMH), we welcome men who have been treated for prostate cancer. Actually this is one of our special interests. Prostate cancer is an increasingly common diagnosis, and, unfortunately, will become even more common as the baby boomers age and live longer lives than their fathers. If you have been treated for prostate cancer you are likely aware that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of treatment.
Even “nerve sparing” surgeries or radiation treatments of the prostate usually result in Erectile Dysfunction. Sometimes the Erectile Dysfunction diminishes several months after prostate cancer treatment, but often not to a degree which is satisfactory. Studies have shown that there is more to the problem than just nerves. Less oxygen to the erectile tissue of the penis after surgery can lead to a form of scarring or loss of elasticity. Radiation has a similar effect.
If the vascular channels of the penis are put to work again soon after surgery or radiation, then potentially the chance of maintaining erectile function in the future will be enhanced. This concept is referred to as Penile Rehabilitation, or Penile Rehab. Indeed, studies have shown that men who use medication to restore erections, or at least to increase the blood flow to the penis, quickly after treatment for prostate cancer have less Erectile Dysfunction later on compared to men who just waited it out.