Radical prostatectomy, a surgical procedure for removing the prostate gland to treat localized prostate cancer, can cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Men who undergo prostate gland removal can lose their ability to achieve erections because the surgical procedure can damage the nerves that control erection.
However, erectile dysfunction is not the only side effect associated with radical prostatectomy. The surgical procedure can also cause urinary incontinence. Continue reading to learn more about radical prostatectomy and how it impairs your erectile and urinary function.
Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy
In the past, doctors used to perform open radical prostatectomy. This means that the doctor will either make a single cut on your stomach or on your perineum to open you up and take out your prostate gland. However, this surgical approach is no longer commonly performed and has been replaced by less invasive surgical procedures.
Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy involves smaller incisions. Your doctor will either hold the tools directly to manually perform the operation or use robotic arms that are controlled using a computer.
Prostate Surgery Risks
There are many risks involved in any type of prostate cancer surgery. During the operation, just like during any major surgery, there are risks of reactions to the anesthesia used. Bleeding from the surgery may also happen and the surgery site may become infected.
Damage to nearby organs may also occur during surgery. If part of the intestine gets injured during the surgery, it can cause an infection in your abdomen. The risks of intestine damage are higher in laparoscopic and robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy compared to open radical prostatectomy.
If the lymph nodes near your prostate gland are also removed during radical prostatectomy, a lymphocele may form. This happens when lymphatic fluid collects in your retroperitoneal space. This complication is actually commonly associated with extensive pelvic surgeries.
As with many major surgeries, there are always risks involved. Your risk will greatly depend on your age, your doctor’s experience and skill, as well as your overall health. Before you go through the surgery, it’s best to discuss these risks with your doctor so that you’ll know what to expect.
Prostate Surgery Side Effects
You should also ask your doctor to discuss the potential side effects that are linked with radical prostatectomy. Studies on radical prostatectomy indicate that there are many cases wherein the patient’s expectations were not properly set regarding what will happen after the surgery.
A lot of men who underwent radical prostatectomy did not know that the surgery would cause them to lose control over their erectile and urinary functions, which are the two most common prostate surgery side effects.
On either side of your prostate gland, you will find two bundles of nerve fibers. These nerves actually control your erection. If these nerves get damaged during your radical prostatectomy, your erectile function will be impaired. Doctors usually use a nerve-sparing approach which allows them to perform the surgery without causing damage to your nerves.
However, if the cancerous growth in your prostate is located very close to the nerves, then your doctor will also need to surgically remove the nerves to prevent the spread of cancer. If the bundle of nerves on only one side of the prostate is removed, then you may still be able to recover your erectile function some time after your surgery.
That is if you were able to achieve erections without any problems prior to your surgery. If you already suffered from erectile dysfunction even before you had your surgery, your chances of recovering your erectile function will be a lot lower.
On the other hand, if the bundle of nerves on both sides of your prostate were removed, then you will no longer be able to achieve spontaneous erections. This means that you will need to take oral medications to help you achieve erections. You may also opt to have a penile implant installed, or you can use a penile vacuum device.
After radical prostatectomy, it may take weeks or months before you regain your ability to achieve spontaneous erections. There have been some cases, though, wherein it took a year or more before normal erectile function was restored. Make sure to discuss penile rehabilitation with your doctor so that your doctor can help you regain your erectile function.
Aside from erectile dysfunction, radical prostatectomy also causes urinary incontinence as a side effect. When you have urinary incontinence, it means that you’re unable to control your urination. This is a very inconvenient and embarrassing side effect and it can affect your emotional well-being and social life as well.
When you have urinary incontinence, you either leak urine or you experience dribbling while you’re urinating. Stress incontinence means you leak urine when you exercise, laugh, cough, or sneeze. This happens when the nerves controlling your bladder sphincter get damaged during radical prostatectomy.
Overflow incontinence happens when there’ something blocking your bladder outlet or if scar tissue has caused your bladder outlet to become narrow. If you have overflow incontinence, you’ll experience problems emptying your bladder.
Because of the narrow or blocked bladder outlet, you may experience dribbling or it may take you a long time to finish urinating. On the other hand, if you have urge incontinence, you’ll frequently have a sudden urge to urinate. Urge incontinence happens when your bladder becomes too sensitive.
Just like erectile dysfunction, it may take weeks or months before you regain normal urinary function.
Regain Your Erectile Function Naturally
After your radical prostatectomy, you’ll surely need help when it comes to achieving erections. You should try all-natural male sex enhancement supplement that can help you regain your erectile function faster.
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