Cancer and cancer treatments can take a toll on a man’s body. Even when you have recovered from active cancer, the side effects of this condition—and its treatments—can leave behind a devastating health aftermath in its wake.
Among these changes is your sexual health status. Many men find themselves having lower libido and sex drive after a battle with cancer. Others find themselves unable to keep up with their partner in sexual intercourse due to an absent erection.
The sad truth is that these sexual side effects are common among cancer survivors. In fact, one study has shown that the rate at which cancer has brought upon sexual side effects like erectile dysfunction is as much as 1 in 2 male patients.
If you are one of the many male survivors of cancer whose sex life has taken a hit, there are luckily some ways you can improve your sexual health after cancer.
Let’s take a look at the common sexual dysfunctions that follow a cancer battle, as well as the ways men can restore their sexual prowess using both natural and clinical interventions.
5 Common Types of Sexual Dysfunction After Cancer and Treatment
Sexual dysfunction can come in various forms, such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunctions. A past or active fight with cancer can cause one or more of these sexual conditions to arise.
Here are some of the most common types of sexual dysfunctions, as well as the types of cancers or cancer treatments that may lead to them:
- Erectile dysfunction: This is a type of condition wherein the penis is unable to reach or maintain an erection, which makes sexual intercourse impossible. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have been marked as the primary cause of this condition in cancer patients, specifically prostate cancer patients.
- Decreased libido: This is the condition wherein the person feels an overall decreased desire for sex or has difficulty becoming sexually aroused. Androgen deprivation therapy and chemotherapy—like those used to treat prostate cancer and breast cancer—all have been linked to decreased libido.
- Low testosterone: When testosterone levels fall below 350 ng/dL, it can be considered low testosterone. A low testosterone reading from a T test can lead to decreased muscle mass, reduced red blood cell production., and lower libido. This may occur in patients with prostate cancer and hormonal treatments that reduce the body’s natural stores of hormones.
- Premature ejaculation: Premature ejaculation is a condition in which a man ejaculates faster than he or his partner would like to. While occasional events like this are normal, some people consistently face this problem. Urological cancer and prostate cancer can lead to this condition.
- Retrograde ejaculation: In this condition, semen is redirected to the bladder instead of being expelled through the penis during orgasm. This can occur due to damage to the nerves, testicular cancer, or prostate surgery due to prostate cancer.
Each of these sexual changes is best addressed by a professional medical team. They will be able to give you more personal advice on how to address and manage your very serious illness.
If your quality of life has taken a dip because of these sexual problems, consult a urologist to improve your sexual life. You may also consult more resources from the American Cancer Society.
5 Ways to Improve Male Sexual Health After Cancer
It’s standard for doctors to provide palliative care (or supportive care) for patients who continue to face side effects after their fight with cancer.
You may want to talk to your primary physician to address concerns pertaining to your sexual health. More often than not, these medical staff will prescribe a mixture of clinical and natural remedies to your sexual health after cancer.
Here are some of the safest and most reliable ways to improve your sexual health after cancer.
1. Consult a Mental Health Professional
While many cases of erectile dysfunction and low libido are physiological by nature, there are a few cases wherein the source is psychological.
For instance, erectile dysfunction can stem from unmanageable feelings of stress in one’s current life, low sexual activity, or performance anxiety. Low libido could be rooted in severe depression, low self-esteem, and a negative body image.
In such cases, seeking treatment from a sex therapist or a counselor would be the best course of action. These trained mental health professionals can tackle underlying mental issues and help both male and female cancer survivors.
2. Consider Pelvic Floor Exercises
Chemotherapy and cancer can cause a rapid loss of muscle mass. This doesn’t only affect the muscles in your arms and legs—it also affects the muscles surrounding your pelvis.
The pelvic floor is a set of pelvic muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and reproductive organ. As you age or get cancer, it can atrophy. However, this can be slowed or even reversed by tightening the groin to hold in your urine, then immediately releasing it.
Doing this strengthens your pelvic floor muscles and helps you gain control of your bladder control, erections, and premature ejaculations. It’ll also increase your sexual desire.
3. Begin RestoreWave Therapy
Also known as shockwave therapy, RestoreWave therapy is a non-invasive therapy that stimulates the corpus cavernosa and eliminates plaque build-up with the help of a special wand-like device.
Plaque typically impedes the flow of blood to the penis, so having this removed can improve erections and sexual performance.
4. Try a Vacuum Device
This device—which looks like a cylinder with a pump attached to it—is inserted into the penis by medical staff.
When turned on, it creates a suction that draws in blood and simulates an erection.
5. Improve Your Daily Habits
As much as we desire to get back the energy of the pre-cancer days, life doesn’t always work that way. However, it’s always possible to make subtle changes to our lifestyle in order to improve our sexual health.
Here are a few lifestyle habits you can undertake to improve your sexual health:
- Eat a proper diet
- Exercise regularly
- Sleep a full 8 hours a night
- Manage stressors
- Manage your weight
By taking care of yourself properly, your sexual health and overall health can improve. You just need to be consistent in your efforts.
Reclaim Your Sexual Function with the Best Male Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida
Cancer and cancer treatment can be a pain in the backside, both during an ongoing diagnosis and post-treatment. With that said, there’s no need to let it take the joy out of your life.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sexual health, contact the health care team at Prime Men’s Medical Center in Jacksonville for some solutions.
Schedule a consultation with us and together let’s help you improve your cancer and sex symptoms today.