Advertisement

Can medications for erectile dysfunction help after cancer surgery?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
For men, surgery for prostate cancer can cut nerves or arteries that are necessary for an erection. Even "nerve-sparing" operations lead to erectile dysfunction at least 20% to 50% of the time. Regardless of the type of surgery used, most men do not regain potency for six to 12 months.

However, evidence suggests that using erectile dysfunction treatments right after surgery can help. When the penis is flaccid for a long period, the lack of oxygen-rich blood can cause some muscle cells in erectile tissue to lose their flexibility and gradually change into something akin to scar tissue. This seems to interfere with the penis's ability to expand. Medications called PDE5 inhibitors, like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, help dilate blood vessels and promote oxygen flow into penile tissues. One study of 22 patients found that starting Viagra upon leaving the hospital after prostate cancer surgery, followed by penile injections (of what?!) several weeks later, aided the return of erections.

Continue Learning about Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Can I treat my ED by treating the condition that caused it?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often caused by lifestyle choices, but may also be a sign of a health p...
More Answers
How do medications treat erectile dysfunction?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
There are several different medications that may be used to treat erectile dysfunction. Some of the ...
More Answers
What Are Surgical Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction?
What Are Surgical Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction?
How Effective Are the Medications Used to Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
How Effective Are the Medications Used to Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

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.