Cancer therapy for adult men: Feasible sexual side consequences

Uncover out if you happen to be at possibility of sexual side consequences following most cancers therapy and which most cancers treatment options can trigger these side consequences.

By Mayo Clinic Team

Cure for certain cancers can have an effect on your sexuality, causing a variety of signs and signs that can make sexual intercourse with your associate additional tough. But that would not necessarily mean you are unable to have a nutritious sexual intercourse lifestyle following most cancers therapy.

Being aware of additional about your most cancers therapy and how it might have an effect on sexual purpose can support you discover a solution if complications acquire.

Pelvic cancers: Extra probable to trigger sexual dysfunction than are other cancers

Adult males with most cancers in their pelvic space are additional probable than are adult men with other cancers to report difficulty resuming sexual intercourse following most cancers therapy.

Sexual side consequences are most typical following therapy for:

  • Bladder most cancers
  • Colon most cancers
  • Prostate most cancers
  • Rectal most cancers

More mature adult men are additional probable to experience sexual dysfunction following most cancers therapy. That is because most older adult men, together with all those who haven’t experienced most cancers, will experience difficulty with sexual intercourse at some time.

So older adult men who’ve experienced most cancers therapy might experience sexual side consequences similar to aging somewhat than to therapy. Or they might discover that most cancers therapy accelerates the sexual side consequences affiliated with standard aging.

Erectile dysfunction: Most typical sexual side outcome of most cancers therapy for adult men

A range of sexual side consequences can arise as a final result of most cancers therapy, together with:

  • Inability to reach or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • Issue climaxing
  • Orgasm with out discharge of semen (dry orgasm)
  • Weaker, significantly less satisfying orgasms
  • Decline of desire in sexual intercourse
  • Pain for the duration of sexual intercourse
  • Significantly less energy for sexual activity
  • Experience significantly less beautiful

Not each and every guy with most cancers will experience sexual side consequences. Your medical doctor can go over the amount of possibility you might come across for your distinct sort of most cancers and therapy.

Cancer can trigger sexual side consequences if the most cancers entails sexual organs. Cancers that do not have an effect on the sexual organs can also have an effect on your sexuality by shifting your human body impression, creating you really feel significantly less beautiful, or causing tiredness or melancholy and lowering desire in sexual intercourse.

Sexual difficulties can also final result from side consequences of most cancers and its therapy, these kinds of as tiredness, pain or panic about your therapy. In addition, frustrated inner thoughts about getting most cancers could trigger a loss of libido.

In some cases emotional elements might have sexual side consequences in addition to the bodily adjustments you go through for the duration of therapy.

How most cancers treatment options have an effect on your sexuality

Medical procedures, radiation remedy, hormone remedy, chemotherapy and other remedies can all trigger sexual side consequences.

Medical procedures

Nerves in your pelvic space regulate blood move to your penis. If you have a tumor in your pelvic space that requires to be taken off, your surgeon ought to operate carefully to avoid detrimental nerves. A severed nerve can lead to weakened erections or the inability to reach an erection.

Functions that can trigger erectile dysfunction consist of:

  • Colon and rectal medical procedures. If you have colon or rectal most cancers, you might require medical procedures identified as abdominoperineal resection to get rid of your reduce colon and rectum.
  • Bladder medical procedures. A technique identified as radical cystectomy for bladder most cancers entails taking away the bladder, prostate, higher urethra and seminal vesicles.
  • Prostate medical procedures. If you have prostate most cancers, you might think about radical prostatectomy to get rid of your prostate and seminal vesicles.
  • Penis medical procedures. However rare, medical procedures to get rid of all or element of the penis (penectomy) is an selection for adult men with penile most cancers. If the penectomy is partial, you might even now be capable to reach an erection.
  • Lymph node elimination. Medical procedures to get rid of numerous lymph nodes in the pelvic space (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection) might be made use of in adult men with testicular most cancers or certain sarcomas.

More recent nerve-sparing functions are significantly less probable to trigger erectile dysfunction, however regardless of whether you happen to be a prospect for that sort of medical procedures relies upon on the sizing and area of your most cancers. For some cancers, nerve damage are unable to be prevented if the surgeon is to get rid of all of the most cancers.

Adult males who go through nerve-sparing prostatectomy might experience short-term erectile dysfunction, whilst the consequences are long term in adult men who are not suitable for the nerve-sparing medical procedures.

Nerves weakened for the duration of medical procedures might trigger you to experience a dry orgasm — an orgasm with out ejaculation of semen. The semen your human body creates might not leave your testicles, or it might be pushed into your bladder (retrograde ejaculation).

Some adult men say that a dry ejaculation feels no unique and, typically, their associates will not see or will not thoughts the difference. Having said that, other adult men discover that dry orgasms are weaker or really feel significantly less pleasurable than their orgasms prior to medical procedures.

In addition, some functions might require placement of an opening (ostomy) that allows stool or urine to collect in a bag that attaches to your human body. Sporting an ostomy bag might make you really feel self-conscious and unattractive. Ostomy therapists and specialised clothes can support strengthen your self-self-confidence.

Radiation remedy

Radiation aimed at the pelvis can trigger erectile dysfunction, however it is not obvious why.

Radiation might damage nerves in your pelvic space, block blood move to your penis or minimize the amount of testosterone in your human body. Radiation’s side consequences start off slowly and gradually about 6 months to a year following therapy.

Whether or not you experience erectile dysfunction as a final result of radiation remedy relies upon on the quantity of radiation you obtain and how considerably of your pelvic space is being taken care of — a higher amount of radiation about a higher quantity of your human body is additional probable to trigger sexual side consequences.

Adult males who smoke or who have a historical past of heart sickness, superior blood force or diabetic issues also might be at a greater possibility of erectile dysfunction following radiation remedy. These conditions might have presently brought on some artery damage, which can be created worse by the radiation.

The quantity of semen you ejaculate might minimize following radiation remedy. You might really feel pain for the duration of ejaculation following therapy, however it typically goes away about time.

Hormone remedy

If you have prostate most cancers that has spread, your medical doctor may possibly check out to reduce the amount of the hormone testosterone in your human body by taking away your testicles (orchiectomy) or managing you with remedies.

Some prostate cancers count on testosterone for gasoline. By lowering your testosterone degrees, your medical doctor hopes to sluggish or quit your cancer’s development. Adult males who have large prostate cancers may possibly obtain hormone remedy to shrink the prostate prior to medical procedures to make it simpler to get rid of.

Hormone remedy most commonly triggers a loss of libido, but it would not come about to every person. Some adult men discover that they have a need for sexual intercourse but are unable to get an erection or are unable to achieve orgasm. Younger adult men are inclined to have less sexual side consequences from hormone remedy. Hormone remedy can also trigger you to deliver significantly less semen when you ejaculate.


You might experience a loss of libido and difficulty reaching an erection following chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy prescription drugs cut down the quantity of testosterone your human body creates. You can typically regain your sexual purpose within just a several months of ending therapy.

Chemotherapy can trigger tiredness, greater bleeding or an greater possibility of an infection. In the course of this time, your medical doctor might suggest you to avoid sexual intercourse, or you might not really feel the need for sexual intercourse.

Other remedies

Numerous other remedies are regarded to interfere with sexual purpose in adult men. Pain remedies, if taken on a regular basis, can lead to sexual dysfunction. A large range of remedies that are made use of to handle some of the side consequences of most cancers also can have an effect on sexual purpose. Request your medical doctor if any of your remedies might be major to a dilemma with sexual purpose.

What you can do to regain sexual purpose

Some sexual side consequences of most cancers therapy will solve in a several months. Some others might final for a year or two following therapy, and some will be long term.

Uncover out as considerably as you can about what is actually impeding your sexual purpose. This might support you really feel additional in regulate of the predicament and support manual you to therapy choices. You might also want to:

  • Do some experimenting. You might discover that certain cases reignite your sexual need or support you get an erection.

    Spend attention to what is effective — regardless of whether it really is stimulating your penis by yourself or imagining about sexual fantasies. You may possibly discover your orgasms are additional powerful if you commit additional time on foreplay. After certain functions or treatment options, unique sexual positions or routines might be beneficial. If tiredness is a major dilemma, permit your associate to get the additional bodily lively role.

  • Chat with your medical doctor. Your medical doctor can give you additional information and facts on what is actually causing any sexual dysfunction you happen to be encountering. From there you can go over therapy choices, these kinds of as remedies, implants or gadgets that can aid an erection.

    Preserve in thoughts, however, that some medical professionals might be just as reluctant or embarrassed as you are to communicate about sexual side consequences. If so, question your medical doctor for a referral to a professional, these kinds of as a urologist or a sexual intercourse therapist.

  • Chat with your associate. Allow your associate know what is effective very best for you. Be genuine about your considerations and inner thoughts. If you happen to be silent about what you happen to be encountering, your associate might really feel rejected.

    Your associate can give essential assistance as you recover from most cancers therapy. She or he may possibly also have tips on how to support you regain your sexual purpose.

  • Chat with other most cancers survivors. Your wellbeing care team may possibly be capable to steer you to a assistance team in your town. Usually, hook up with other most cancers survivors on the web.

    If you happen to be embarrassed about talking about sexual intercourse face to face with strangers, the on the web environment presents additional anonymity. Start out with the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network.

Adult males who have experienced most cancers therapy might discover that it simply just usually takes time to regain sexual purpose. Prescription drugs and other choices for therapy operate in some adult men and not in some others. In some cases it usually takes a year or two for nerves or blood vessels in your pelvic space to heal.