Prostate cancer and partnership – How the diagnosis can affect life afterwards.
After a cancer diagnosis, the most important thing is to focus on your recovery and beating the cancer. In the case of prostate cancer, treatment can affect life and partnership, because there are therapies that can affect sexual well-being. Therefore, it is recommended to learn about the possible effects of the methods beforehand. This post collects useful tips to cope with the physical challenges, as well as the emotional difficulties that you may encounter with prostate cancer and sexless marriage.
A cancer diagnosis fundamentally changes one’s life. Many things that were previously taken for granted are suddenly called into question. Illness and treatment can demand one’s full attention for an extended period of time and make one’s thoughts revolve almost exclusively around it. Some men feel encouraged by the knowledge that the cancer is treated or under control. Others are concerned that they will feel less “manly” after treatment or surgery, or that the disease will continue to affect their lives, especially their partnership, even after successful treatment. However, depending on how you feel and how you feel yourself, it is important to know that there are different ways to deal with the effects of the disease, prostate cancer and sexless marriage.
Different treatments – influence on love life
Once diagnosed, there are several options suitable for you to combat the disease. Unfortunately, an impairment of the sexual life is not uncommon – especially for men with prostate cancer, because in very few cases a nerve-preserving surgery is possible. If this is not feasible, nerves and blood vessels close to the prostate, which play an important role in sexuality, may be severed. After surgery, seminal fluid often does not form because seminal vesicles and ducts are removed.
As with nerve-preserving surgery, there is a small risk of damage to nerves and blood vessels with conventional radiation therapy. However, the risk here is much lower due to innovative radiation therapies, such as that of the Cyberknife – a high dose of radiation with precise sub-millimeter accuracy enables targeted radiation of the tumor and minimizes side effects on surrounding healthy tissue. Hormonal therapy can also affect sexual sensation: in many men, sexual interest diminishes significantly. Even if erectile function can be preserved, your sexual interest and therefore your love life may change.
Accepting yourself with the facts of prostate cancer and sexless marriage
In addition to anxiety about the future, many cancer patients also experience problems with self-esteem. The disease and therapy often leave traces, both physical and psychological, that can change you: Quite suddenly and abruptly, prostate cancer and sexless marriage an essential part of one’s life. Uncertainty and anxiety are not uncommon before an intimate moment of togetherness with another person. Perhaps you feel the same way and wonder how your partner will react to the physical changes or whether you will still be perceived as attractive. If you find yourself in a similar situation, it is important to talk to your partner about these feelings of prostate cancer and sexless marriage.
Although these questions can be scary, the following is true: Regardless of the particular procedure or treatment, every patient has the chance to have a satisfying sex life. The crucial hurdle of the erectile function lies in overcoming one’s own inhibitions. An important step in this direction is to accept oneself with all the traces that cancer has left behind and to learn to live with the changes. Usually this does not happen overnight. Therefore, take your time and do not put yourself under pressure.
Involve your partner in the topic of prostate cancer
Even if the cancer primarily affects you as a patient, it is important not to close yourself off and to talk to your partner about living with prostate cancer and sexless marriage. Most of the time, you are so focused on fighting the cancer or are so stressed by the side effects that sex becomes secondary.
Even after treatment is completed, it often takes some time before sexual desire returns. Sooner or later, however, this is the case for many patients. Then it is important not to let fear or insecurity control you, but also not to rush to resume your sex life before you are even ready. You and your partner may also need a little more time at first, or your love life may change after therapy: You may feel pain when you are touched in certain places, have difficulties with your erectile function, or self-esteem and self-image may have been damaged by the difficult period of illness.
The most important thing is to talk openly with your partner about your worries, fears and needs and also to experience the other point of view because you may imagine the situation to be more problematic than it is. Often “the man’s silence” of prostate cancer and sexless marriage causes more problems for the partner than the supposed difficulties themselves. For many people, it takes an enormous amount of effort to talk about sexual feelings, lusts and desires, even if you are very close to each other.
However, it is worth overcoming inhibitions. It is easier to adapt to your partner’s needs if he or she communicates fears and concerns openly. If you have problems opening up or notice that some difficulties arise despite everything, you can turn to counseling centers or self-help organizations. These can be points of contact to help you cope with fears and increase your own self-esteem.
A fulfilling love life – despite impotence
In general, men who suffer from impotence after treatment for prostate cancer should talk to their urologist. This is because nowadays men have a number of options available to help them have a fulfilling love life even after prostate treatment. The use of such aids, which we list below, may take some getting used to at first. However, they often become a natural part of the relationship after some time. It is important to take into account the general state of your health, your concerns and your personal preferences, and to get detailed advice about the different methods.
One way to improve erectile function and duration is through medications that can be taken orally or administered through the urethra. For example, on the advice of their doctor, some patients resort to prescription tablets of the PDE-5 inhibitor class of active ingredients. These active ingredients do not increase sexual desire, but do cause an erection during sexual arousal. However, this is only possible in men with prostate cancer after surgery or radiation therapy if the corresponding nerves and blood vessels are partially preserved.
In addition, there are drugs that are injected directly into the shaft of the penis and cause an erection. However, it requires the man or the partner to learn how to use the syringe. However, this is not particularly complicated and is comparable to learning how to inject insulin if you have diabetes.
In addition, mechanical erection aids are available for patients for whom the medication methods cannot be used. It is often sufficient to stimulate the penis with the help of a massager and to prolong the erection duration with the help of a penis ring.
If the effect of the massager is not enough, the penis pump is a possible alternative. Here, the member is inserted into a transparent plastic cylinder. A vacuum is created by means of the pump so that more blood can flow into the erectile tissue. Once the desired erection strength is reached, a rubber ring prevents the blood from flowing back too quickly.
Another method, but one that requires surgery, is the penile implant. The most widely used consists of two soft, inflatable cylinders that are inserted into the erectile tissue. By operating a pump, which is not visible but easily palpable in the scrotum, the cylinders can be filled with a liquid. This can cause the penis to stiffen, or the fluid can be drained again, so that the penis becomes flaccid.
The effect of support condoms is also based on this principle. In this case, the negative pressure is created by sucking out the air through a custom-fitted condom that remains on the male member during intercourse.
Not alone with your worries about prostate cancer and sexless marriage
Don’t be afraid to talk to your family and your doctor about your worries regarding prostate cancer and sexless marriage. Family members can provide moral support and accompany you to medical checks, for example, or work with you to make sure you comply with therapy. However, the disease can also lead to stress, depression, loss of intimacy and changes in lifestyle for your partner. Therefore, talk openly with him. He can be a great source of emotional support. Exchanging ideas with other sufferers can also encourage you. Self-help organizations such as the Peer Support Network encourage such encounters, and our Internet forums are another possibility.