Erectile Function after Prostatectomy What to Expect from Penile Rehabilitation

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    Apr 30, 2013
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Erectile Function after Prostatectomy What to Expect from Penile Rehabilitation Photo by John Dugan

A diagnosis of prostate cancer is frightening, and hundreds of thousands of men each year are forced to face the difficult decision about what to do next. In many cases, men are advised by their doctors to "wait and see" how the disease progresses, and some research indicates that, especially in older men, surgery is not always necessary. Other men choose to be proactive, choosing radiation therapy to attack the cancerous cells. Younger men who still have years of reproductive activity ahead of them often choose a full-on assault, opting for prostatectomy.

In the past, the surgical techniques used to remove the prostate frequently resulted in extensive damage of the nerve tissue and blood vessels that serve the penis, and loss of erectile function was an expected outcome of surgery. Fortunately, new approaches to surgery have helped to minimize the loss of nerve function and reduce the risk of diminished penis sensation. In addition, penile rehabilitation may help some men to retain, or even regain, their ability to have an erection.

The science behind penile rehab

In order for erections to occur, two main things are needed: nerve pathways to transmit signals between the brain and penis, and an adequate supply of blood to fill the erectile chambers. While the physiology behind getting an erection is complex, and other elements are at work here, it always comes down to these two basic things.

In order for the nerve and circulatory tissue to function well, adequate oxygenation is needed. Penile therapy is based on the simple theory of "use it or lose it." Some scientists believe - and some research supports - that nocturnal erections help to keep these tissues oxygenated, thus allowing them to repair themselves. Therefore, according to this idea, a penis that does not experience regular erections is not likely to be able to repair itself, and further loss of function will occur.

To reverse this cycle, erections are needed; so it is believed that administering ED medications, and in some cases using those in conjunction with a vacuum pump, can work to rehab the penis by boosting the oxygen supply to the nerve and circulatory cells.

Things to keep in mind

While there is some evidence that rehabbing the penis after surgery with use of ED meds can help to restore erectile function, men should also keep in mind that loss of function does not always mean loss of satisfaction. There are multiple other avenues that men can pursue towards sexual pleasure with a partner, as long as he is willing to change his expectations to a degree. Using toys, trying new oral or manual techniques, and making it about the process instead of the outcome can help men to enjoy what they’ve got, even when things aren’t working the way they might prefer.

In the meantime, men can promote their own chances of successful rehab by caring for their overall health, including quitting smoking, eating right, exercising, and learning to manage the stress in their lives.

A recipe for success

Penile tissues that are well-nourished and supplied with the tools they need to repairs themselves are more likely to regain their function. A penis vitamin creme (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) that is packed with nutrients such as vitamin C (for circulatory and connective tissue health), vitamin D (for overall cellular function) and amino acids like L-arginine (for nerve tissue regrowth) can help to provide the elements that are needed to put the punch back into the penis. Applying a vitamin formula on a daily basis can keep the penis well-nourished, as well as helping to maintain a soft, supple and youthful appearance.

Author's Profile

For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit: John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.

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