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Does radiation therapy for rectum cancer cause ED?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Radiation therapy for rectum cancer may cause erectile dysfunction. Radiation used in the treatment can cause damage to nerves that carry the signals to the penis. It can damage vessels that supply blood to the penis. It can also cause testosterone, a hormone involved in sexual function, to be produced more slowly.

Radiation may make it harder for a man to ejaculate and make it harder for him to achieve an erection. All or some of the sexual function may return in the months after the radiation treatment.

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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.