Continuing our series of discussions on topics of particular interest to our XY Wellness community, today Dr. Geo and I focus on the treatment of erectile dysfunction due to prostate cancer treatments.
David: Is it true that all invasive treatments for prostate cancer will likely result in some degree of diminished sexual health and function?
Dr. Geo: Yes. That said, when treating a life-threatening condition like prostate cancer, the primary emphasis must, of course, be to choose a treatment option that provides the highest survival rate. Given comparable survival rates across a number of treatment options, men will then have an opportunity to choose based on quality of life issues.
David: As we have discussed in the past, at the time of diagnosis, a man is likely so focused on survival that the quality of life implications of various treatment options are not properly explored, discussed, and factored in.
Dr. Geo: There is definitely a sense of urgency on the patient’s part to take action to rid the body of the cancer, which can lead to treatment decisions with quality of life implications such as incontinence or impotence that are only discussed and understood after the fact. In the case of surgery, some men may come out of anesthesia with one or both of these new conditions. In the case of radiation, one or both of those conditions may emerge over time.
Men need to ask their doctors the right questions to ensure that they understand upfront the benefits and risks associated with their various treatment options. With a little bit of research and patience, better treatment decisions can be made.
David: Today, our focus is on post-treatment degradation in sexual function, and what options are available to men who have or will be undergoing an invasive treatment for prostate cancer. First of all, what triggers the treatment-related erectile dysfunction?
Dr. Geo: There are two bundles of nerves, one on each side of the prostate, that activate the physiological process needed to achieve and maintain an erection. When one or both of these nerve bundles are damaged or removed, the result is a materially diminished sexual function. The degree of damage to these bundles determines the degree of degradation in sexual function.
David: In other words, a man left with one undamaged nerve bundle has more to work with than a man that has had both of his nerve bundles removed or damaged by his prostate cancer treatment.
Dr. Geo: Correct. The more we have to work with and to build upon, the more successful we can be in helping a man to regain and retain a satisfactory level of sexual function.
David: So let’s start with lower degrees of damage and work our way up to the more severe cases. Assuming one or more working nerve bundles, what are your baseline recommendations?
Dr. Geo: First of all, all men need to have realistic expectations knowing that their pelvic region has just experienced a traumatic event. They should also understand the concept of a “dry orgasm” in which his sensation of orgasm will be comparable, but the absence of a functioning prostate will mean a lack of ejaculate.
Thirdly, I recommend that men start with natural, side-effect-free options before considering pharmaceuticals, injections, or devices. In my clinical practice, I find that many post-treatment men will achieve their goals with a healthy combination of diet, exercise, and XYVGGR.
David: Why XYVGGR?
Dr. Geo: Well, I formulated it! So I have every confidence that it will help many post-treatment men rebuild and maintain their sexual health. My goal with XYVGGR was to address the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction rather than to “pave over it” for a few hours.*
XYVGGR is a combination of botanicals designed to work together to support a number of critical aspects of male sexual health and function. My intent is to boost nitric oxide levels, improve circulation within the blood vessels involved in an erection, and to reverse the physiological damage due to age or cancer treatments such as radiation therapy. My patients are also reporting improvements in their energy level, their mood, their ability to manage stress, and in their ability to recover after exercise.*
David: So for many post-treatment men, the combination of diet, exercise, and XYVGGR might be all that is needed. Let’s go up the scale to men dealing with more treatment-related damage, and therefore have less to work with. If they need something more, what do you recommend?
Dr. Geo: Atop the earlier, baseline recommendation, for these men I then suggest adding a PDE-5 drug such as Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra. That said, you need to work closely with your doctor to ensure that cardiovascular and drug interaction issues are examined and managed. Get a prescription, and in no case should you ever buy these PDE-5 drugs online.
I have a number of patients dealing with a fair amount of damage due to prostate cancer treatment who have found that this combination of diet, exercise, XYVGGR, and a PDE-5 drug works best for them. Once again, every patient is starting from a different point due to varying degrees of sexual health and function.
David: If a man follows all the above recommendations and is still unable to regain a satisfactory level of sexual function, what additional options do you recommend?
Dr. Geo: In these more severe cases, personal guidance from a sexual health doctor is the best option. There are a number of viable options for the practitioner to work with, but once again work with a qualified specialist to prescribe and monitor this process, which will require some trial and error.
For example, a penis pump works for a number of these men, and penile injections have been proven to be very effective for a number of my patients with this degree of erectile dysfunction. An implanted penile prosthesis is an option for even more severe cases. Once again, seek out, listen to, and work closely with a sexual health specialist if the earlier recommendations do not overcome the degree of erectile dysfunction that you are dealing with.
David: This has been insightful. To summarize, men undergoing invasive prostate cancer treatments should expect some level of degradation in their sexual health and function. Depending on the degree of treatment-related damage, there are a number of progressively aggressive erectile dysfunction treatment options available to them.
Dr. Geo: Yes, the options available today are so superior what was available just a few years ago. If you have lost some or all of your ability to enjoy a satisfying sex life, do not give up. Instead, start with the natural, side-effect-free approach, and then if needed, see your doctor about adding a PDE-5 drug to your regimen. If more is needed, seek out a sexual health specialist who will work directly with you to build a customized approach to helping you reclaim this important aspect of your quality of life.
David: And tend to the psychological aspects. You need to recognize that your body has gone through a traumatic event, and is now different and at minimum needs time to adjust and recuperate. Be patient, but be persistent.
Dr. Geo: There are indeed plenty of good resources available to you. We are here to help, so take advantage of the offer.