06/19/2009 - Questions and Answers

Prostatectomy & Sex

By: Mark Castleden



I am 70, and was operated on 3 years ago for prostate enlargement. Since surgery, I have completely lost my sex drive and I cannot get an erection. Is this common after this surgery at my age? Is there any remedy - for instance, Viagra?



There are two basic prostate surgeries. One involves removing the entire gland plus the seminal vesicles. This operation is typically done for cancer of the prostate. Since the prostate lies on the nerves to the penis that cause erection, it is common to have some difficulty with erections after this surgery. Erections may return with time alone, if a "nerve sparing" surgical approach is used; however, sometimes medications such as Viagra or injections of a substance that dilates blood vessels are necessary to aid or induce an erection.

Surgery for benign (i.e. non-cancerous) enlargement of the prostate can, very rarely, cause a difficulty with erections, but sometimes it may actually be associated with an improvement in erections. Therapies are the same as for the cancer surgery. As a last resort, penile implant surgery is highly effective at restoring a man's ability to have full erections.

As far as sex drive is concerned, urologists usually explore this issue by checking the hormone profile and probing into possible psycho-social stressors, such as marital conflict, job stress or depression. Treatment by an appropriate expert may well result in your getting both your sex drive and your erections back.


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Created on: 02/05/2002
Reviewed on: 06/19/2009

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