Erectile Aids: How Helpful Are They for Prostate Cancer Patients?

For many men who experience erectile difficulties after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, erectile aids (EAs) such as oral medications (PDE5i), vacuum erection devices (VED), and intra-cavernosal injections (ICI) offer a means of achieving an erection post treatment. However, even though the majority of prostate cancer patients experience erectile difficulties for months, years, or indefinitely after treatment, some choose never to use EAs, and some who use EAs ultimately end up abandoning them.

Why is this? The authors of a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study used a self-report survey including validated questionnaires to assess the use and perceptions of helpfulness of EAs, as well as the psychological and sexual well-being of 260 North American men who had been treated for prostate cancer. They found the following:

Interestingly, the lesser used ICI treatments were generally perceived to be more helpful for participants than the more widely used oral medications and VED. While the majority of the participants had used PDE5i, approximately 30% reported it to be helpful, and an even smaller proportion of the VED users (22.8%) found the treatment to be helpful. In contrast, 57% of those who tried ICI found the injections to be helpful.

Through an open-ended question (“Do you have any other comments about the use of these treatments (oral medications, vacuum erection device, penile injection, etc.)?”) the researchers unearthed reasons why participants were satisfied/dissatisfied with EAs.

According to the results of this study, the men who tried EAs and found them unhelpful reported poorer psychological and sexual well-being than those who had never tried EAs and those who had tried EAs and found them helpful.

This group’s discouragement with EAs could potentially be mitigated through enhanced pre- and post-treatment patient education efforts. When a person has realistic expectations of the benefits and possible drawbacks of treatment, they are better equipped to make informed health decisions for themselves. Additionally, EA experiences could be improved through ongoing, case-specific problem-solving approaches in which the patient could work with a provider to address any issues that may arise.


You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Factors That Fuel Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can prevent you from having the sex life you desire. But although it can be embarrassing, it’s also treatable. Learn about common factors that increase your risk of ED and what you can do to improve your health.

Why Can't I Have an Orgasm?

Everyone deserves a satisfying sex life. And if you can’t orgasm, sexual activity can be frustrating and embarrassing. Instead of suffering in silence, it’s time to learn more about sexual dysfunction and the treatment options to fix it.

What Can I Do About My Impotence?

Struggling to perform in the bedroom is embarrassing. But if you have problems getting or maintaining an erection, you’re not alone. Millions of men suffer from impotence — and treatment can help. Learn what your treatment options are here.

Understanding Male Menopause

Menopause is a process that every woman experiences with age, but did you know hormonal imbalance (and its symptoms) aren’t just a women’s health issue? Male menopause is triggered by low testosterone, and it can impact your life in a number of ways.

How the O-Shot® Can Improve Your Sex Life

Low sex drive. Painful intercourse. Inability to orgasm. Sound familiar? You could be suffering from sexual dysfunction. It’s a real condition, and it’s treatable. Find out how the O-Shot® — a platelet-rich plasma therapy — could help you.

My Hormones Are Out of Balance

Hormones are important chemical messengers in your body. When they’re out of balance, you could experience a range of unpleasant symptoms. Learn the signs of hormone imbalance and what you can do to relieve your symptoms.