Does surgery for colon cancer cause ED?

Surgery for colon cancer can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). The surgery can affect a man's ability to get an erection in two ways. First, the surgery can damage nerves that send signals to the body resulting in an erection. This problem has become less common as surgeons have developed more precise techniques that allow them to avoid the nerves. Second, the surgery can cause a man to become less interested in sex because of discomfort or concerns about sensitive areas near his penis.

Talk to your doctor about treatments and drugs that may help restore your ability to get an erection.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Men who undergo surgery for colon cancer may develop erectile dysfunction as a result.  The reason:
Surgical procedures that remove tumors from the colon often damage nerves needed to produce an erection.

Younger men with colon cancer surgery may be candidates for so-called nerve-sparing surgery. This technique causes little or no damage to those critical nerves needed to achieve an erection. Following this procedure, a man may experience a period of erectile dysfunction, but will usually regain full sexual functioning over time.

While not all men are candidates for nerve-sparing surgery, studies show that the majority who develop erectile dysfunction after having surgery for colon cancer respond well to oral medications and other treatments for this frustrating condition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.