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How Does Cancer Affect Men’s Sexual Health?

How Does Cancer Affect Men’s Sexual Health?

During and after cancer treatment, men's sexual lives may change. While you may not have the same amount of energy or enthusiasm for sexual activity as you did before treatment, being intimate with and feeling close to your spouse or partner is likely still vital.

Your doctor or nurse may discuss how cancer treatment may affect your sexual life with you, or you may need to be proactive and ask questions like What sexual changes or problems are prevalent among men undergoing this sort of treatment? During treatment, what types of birth control or protection are advised?

Whether or not you will have sexual health issues is determined by a variety of factors, including:

  • Different cancer types
  • Treatment's nature (s)
  • Treatment’s quantity (dose)
  • Treatment's length (duration)
  • Age you were when you started therapy
  • How long it's been since you've been treated
  • Other factors affecting your health

Chemotherapy Following:

Chemotherapy can harm testicular tissue and cause a reduction in testosterone levels. You may experience diminished desire as a result of this. This is particularly true for males who have undergone high-dose chemotherapy, often used in bone marrow or stem cell transplants.

Radiation Aftermath:

Erection problems can potentially be exacerbated by radiation to the pelvic area. To begin with, it may scar and harm tissue in the veins that drive blood into the penis, causing an erection difficult. It could also harm the nerves that cause an erection to form. Unfortunately, this form of harm usually takes a long time to manifest itself, and it can even be irreversible.

After Transplantation of Stem Cells:

Graft versus host disease, which can occur after allogeneic stem cell transplantation, can cause erectile dysfunction in men.

After Treatment, Immune System Compromise:

Keep in mind that your immune system will be weaker than usual while treating leukaemia or lymphoma. In addition, if you've had genital herpes or warts in the past, you may be more susceptible to getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or experiencing a flare-up. The use of a condom may reduce the risk.

Erectile Dysfunction with Cancer Patients: Treatment Options:

It is unlikely that your physical ability to have an orgasm or experience pleasure from sex will be harmed. If you're interested in sexual activity but have trouble keeping an erection, try experimenting with your partner or by yourself to determine what works best for you. Penetrative sex is still feasible even if you can only get a partial erection. Sexual contact, oral sex, and the use of sex toys can all be enjoyable.

Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are among the drugs available to treat ED. They function by producing a more robust erection by boosting blood flow to the penis. In addition, your doctor might prescribe testosterone replacement therapy depending on the reason for your ED treatment.

Behavioural therapy has also proven to be successful. But, again, consult your doctor to see if these treatments are appropriate for you.

How to Talk to Your Healthcare Provider and Your Partner About Sexual Side Effects

It might be uncomfortable and challenging to discuss erection difficulties and sexual side effects with your doctor or spouse. In addition, you may feel self-conscious about the changes your body is undergoing, which can be detrimental to your self-esteem. However, sexual side effects are no different than any other side effect, and you have a right to know everything there is to know about the health ramifications of your medication. You might also wish to inquire about being referred to a sexual health specialist.

It is most beneficial to be upfront about your feelings when talking with your partner. This may make you feel uneasy, and you may be afraid of being rejected or being labelled "less of a man." On the other hand, your partner is devoted to you and loves you. With or without changes to your sexual life, the stress of a cancer diagnosis can damage even the healthiest of relationships. It's critical to express yourself, communicate your anxieties, and listen to your partner's sentiments and fears. Take your time, go carefully, and listen to your body.


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