Erectile dysfunction is a common condition (52% of men aged 40-70 years of age and increases with age) and is linked to heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors. It is very distressing for some (not all) and generally treatable. It is important to note that erectile dysfunction can occur in young men, especially those with depression, drug and/or alcohol abuse.
Some men who were sexually active before their prostatectomy will be able to resume a normal sex life. However, some men may find that they have difficulties gaining or maintaining an erection. This may be due to a number of reasons;
- It may be that nerves had to be cut during the operation to remove your prostate or that nerves have been squashed from the swelling in the tissues following surgery.
- Damage to the nerves can change the blood flow to the penis and over time change the smooth muscle around the penis.
- Nocturnal erections that occur physiologically every night roughly 6 times – stop happening post-surgery. This equates to approximately 2000 lost housekeeping erections per year, regardless of sexual activity.
The good news is that nerves that have been damaged can regrow. Healing continues for up to 2 years after your prostatectomy.
Healing takes place better if there is a good blood supply. Pelvic floor exercises help to bring more oxygenated blood to the area and help to remove de-oxygenated blood.
The primary goal of penile rehab is to restore early oxygenation to the penile smooth muscle. This may be done in a number of ways;
- Skin stretching
- Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Oral Medications (most often cialis or viagra)
- Vacuum Pumps and constriction bands
- Injections into the penis