By Laura Bourdeanu, NP, PhD
Surviving any type of cancer is a life altering ordeal and prostate cancer is no exception. If youa��re reading this article, you may have suffered from or are suffering from prostate cancer. Congratulations on making it this far in your fight with prostate cancer. But now you may feel that your relationship with your significant other is an adversely affected aspect of your life among others. You may feel like you have lost the flair you once had in your love life and for that to return back to normal may seem like nothing short of a miracle.
Regardless of your sexual orientation, the struggle is stressful and traumatic. In this article, we will discuss how you can recover your love life and re-ignite that dying spark. This article will help you work through you or your partnera��s problems and keep the relationship alive.
In a study by University of Central Florida in association with American Cancer Society, more than 1500 cancer patients were asked to fill out a survey about their unmet needs. A third of those surveyed were concerned about the physical problems related to their cancer or its treatment. The research also concluded that sexual problems were common in prostate cancer survivors. You are not alone!
A study by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center of 88 prostate cancer patients and partners was done for one year after treatment. It suggested that 7 out of 10 women found their relationships to be adversely affected by the treatment of their partner. A very negative effect on relationships was reported at the 6 month mark after diagnosis by 12% and that number had more than doubled at the one year mark. The partners thought that their significant othersa�� condition would improve after an initial decline but it didna��t and that resulted in more disappointment. After the 5 year survival milestone, many people keep having continuing problems which raises anxiety about having a relapse of the cancer. Anxiety from relapse is one of the major concerns of survivors and hinders the quality of their lives. You may be facing a similar circumstance to what is described above.
The crux of the matter is that, no matter what, the problems discussed above will exist. You may not think you or your partner is suffering from frustrations over your love life, but they will tend to get worse unless you realize that you need to discuss them more openly. Both parties need to communicate openly with what is bothering them. Seek the help of a counselor and work through your problems with the help of a professional, so you understand the problems you are facing in a better way. It may just help you save your marriage in time and rediscover your relationship with your partner and why you were together in the first place.
The thing about sex is that the more it isna��t discussed, it becomes easy to avoid altogether, and that is not a good thing. Even if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, you need to find the same energy and mental sensation that comes with your orgasm, even if you are missing the prostate. Even though your physical processes that led to orgasm may be hindered or completely gone, the mental element to it is still there and you need to find it. You can pleasure your partner without full penetration and still reach orgasm (as long as the perineum nerves are still intact). Experimentation during intercourse can help figure out what is best, as orgasm nerve stimulation is not the only thing that helps achieve orgasm.
You also have some therapeutic options. If you do not want medications then you should try Kegel exercises, as they have been found to help regain or restore normal erectile function. They do so by strengthening the bulbocavernosus muscle which is responsible for allowing the penis to engorge with blood during erection, pumping during ejaculation, and helping empty the urethra after urination. Exercising is also key to recovery and maintenance of potency, as it helps the blood go to the erogenous zones that help maintain the viability of the penis. In addition, exercise has been linked to less cancer mortality and morbidity.
Reduce your stress level if possible, since sexual readjustment after prostate cancer therapy is already stressful.A� If life events that contribute to your high stress levels cannot be changed than try to meditate or perform stress relief activities.
If the above interventions dona��t work then discuss additional options with your physician. He/she may recommend oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, venous occlusive devices to retain blood in the penis during intercourse, venous constriction loop (such as the Enhance MagnaA� loop or ActisA� loop) and the vacuum constriction device, urethral suppository alprostadil (MuseA�) (Vivus, Inc., Mountain View, CA), penile injections, and/or a penile implant.
People who make love live longer and are happier. Since sex is a component of making love attempt to restore your sexual function with the some of these interventions