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What side effects can colorectal surgery have on my sex life?

If you are a man, an abdominoperineal (AP) resection may stop your erections or ability to reach orgasm. In other cases, your pleasure at orgasm may become less intense. Normal aging may cause some of these changes, but they may be made worse by the surgery.

An AP resection can also cause you to have "dry" orgasms (without semen) by damaging the nerves that control ejaculation. Sometimes the surgery only causes retrograde ejaculation, which means the semen goes backward into the bladder during an orgasm. This difference is important if you want to father a child. Retrograde ejaculation is less serious because infertility specialists can often recover sperm cells from the urine, which can then be used to fertilize an egg. If sperm cells cannot be recovered from your semen or urine, specialists may be able to retrieve them directly from the testicles by minor surgery, and then use them for in vitro fertilization.

If you are a woman, most colorectal surgeries should not cause any loss of sexual function. Abdominal adhesions (scar tissue) may sometimes cause pain or discomfort during intercourse. If the uterus is removed, pregnancy will not be possible.

A colostomy can have an impact on body image and sexual comfort level in both men and women. While it may require some adjustments, it should not prevent you from having an enjoyable sex life.

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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.