- Prostate removal is called a prostatectomy. It is a serious operation, often conducted on cancer patients.
- Men who had a prostatectomy can suffer from side effects, including erectile dysfunction.
- A catheter and a urine bag are necessary for only a few days after the procedure.
- Many men suffer from ED and orgasm changes after prostate removal.
- Prostatectomy affects fertility, but it is still possible to conceive with the use of assisted reproductive technology.
- Viagra and other ED medication are the first line of treatment for erectile dysfunction after a prostatectomy.
No man wants to hear those words: “We have to remove your prostate”. Yet, thousands undergo this often life-saving procedure each year.
Radical prostatectomy means a complete removal of the prostate gland. It is used in the treatment of cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Here are the answers to top ten questions about prostate removal:
1. Is prostate removal major surgery?
Yes, radical prostatectomy is a serious operation. It involves general anesthesia and there are certain health risks involved. Complications can include:
- Injury to nearby tissue or organs
- Blood clots
For some patients, especially those with heart conditions, the procedure can be risky. Look for an experienced surgeon with a low rate of complications.
2. What are the side effects of removing the prostate gland?
Radical prostatectomy has an impact on the functioning of your body and your quality of life. The good news is that some of the issues will be short-term. Here are the most common problems following the removal of the prostate:
- Urinary incontinence. For a few weeks or months after your procedure, you may leak urine when coughing, sneezing, or jogging. You can reduce the incidence of those uncomfortable accidents by exercising your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises.
- Erectile dysfunction. All men have to deal with ED at least for a few weeks after surgery. For some, the problem lasts longer. This is caused by nerve damage, which cannot be always avoided. Viagra is usually the first-line treatment.
- Changes in orgasms. While you can still orgasm after prostate surgery, you will not ejaculate. Some men produce a little fluid, but it will feel different from what you used to know.
3. Will I need a catheter or a bag after prostate cancer?
Yes, prostate removal requires using a catheter but just for a short time. A catheter is a tube that helps drain urine from your bladder.
The fluid goes into a bag that can be attached to your leg during the day. Your physician or nurse will explain how to use and care for the catheter. Prostate patients usually need to use the device for up to ten days after surgery.
4. How can I get hard after prostatectomy?
Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect of prostate removal. For some patients it’s only temporary. Others have to learn to live with ED. For most men, medication is the first option to try out. Other methods of treating erectile dysfunction are vacuum devices and penile implants.
5. Will I be able to ejaculate after prostate removal?
When the prostate gland is removed, so are the seminal vesicles. This means your body will no longer produce semen and you most likely have dry orgasms during orgasm. This may impact the way you experience sexual pleasure.
6. What are the side effects of not ejaculating?
Most men who have prostatectomies experience dry orgasms. The lack of ejaculation is not dangerous, but it does affect the way you feel pleasure.
Most guys enjoy the feeling of fullness and the ejection of semen, and you won’t feel these sensations with non-ejaculatory sex. The lack of ejaculation is also an obstacle to natural conception.
7. Can I still have orgasms after prostate surgery?
For most men, yes, though orgasms change after a prostatectomy. This is caused by nerve damage, weakened pelvic floor muscles, and the lack of ejaculation. Some guys will even find it difficult to orgasm at all. It may take several years to get your orgasmic feelings back.
8. Can you still have kids after prostate removal?
After a radical prostatectomy, you are not able to father a child through intercourse because there is no semen coming out of the penis.
Many guys can still become biological fathers through assisted reproduction methods, for example, sperm extraction processes. If you still want the option of becoming a father, consider sperm banking before getting a prostatectomy.
9. Can a man produce sperm after prostate removal?
Yes, in a regular prostatectomy the man’s testicles are spared, and he will still produce sperm cells. Only the more radical procedures (when the cancer has spread) may require the removal of testicles. Sperm can be extracted from testicles by surgical extraction.
10. Where does the sperm go after a prostatectomy?
Your testicles will still produce sperm cells after the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles have been removed. The sperm your testicles produce will be reabsorbed by your body. This is in no way dangerous to your health.
Getting Help After Your Prostatectomy
Removal of the prostate gland is a serious but necessary procedure for some men. As scary as it may sound, the aftermath of the operation is manageable. Don’t be afraid to mention any sexual dysfunction to your doctor. He or she can prescribe ED medication or any other treatments that can help you go back to a satisfying sex life.
Some men may benefit from psychological counselling after prostate removal. This is a huge life change, and it can impact your confidence and sexual functioning.
To get your intimate life back on track, you might also want to consult a sexologist or a sex coach. Finding new ways of enjoying sex without the pressure achieve an erection or ejaculate can be liberating.
For more information on prostate health, see our Users Guide to the Prostate.
eDrugstore Can Help
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction following a prostatectomy, we can help. Browse our medication guide, or call 1-800-467-5146 for a free medical consultation. One of our U.S.-licensed physicians can help you choose an ED medication, such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and more, and provide a prescription. Virtual health visits and shipping are always free.
Anka Grzywacz is a sexologist, reproductive health expert and Certified Sex Coach