There are a lot of men in the world who suffer from erectile dysfunction. There are a lot of reasons why men may experience this particular problem and radiation therapy for prostate cancer is one of them. However, because this problem occurred quite a lot, experts are looking hard into the matter in order to reduce as much as they can the negative effects of radiation therapy. Radiation therapy has advanced quite a lot with advent of 3D conformal x-ray therapy and brachytherapy and erectile dysfunction does not occur quite as often but there are still some men who experience erectile dysfunction.
People need to know that the doctors are still unsure why brachytherapy causes erectile dysfunction. They are hoping that the newer techniques will reduce erectile dysfunction cases but it remains to be seen.
According to certain data, men who underwent external beam radiation therapy suffered from erectile dysfunction in quite a few cases. The percentage ranges from 38 to 62%. However, this information is not 100% accurate due to the fact that the men were questioned over the phone or were given questionnaires.
Ways in which radiation therapy can cause erectile dysfunction
Men need to know that there are three ways in which radiation therapy can cause erectile dysfunction. The first way is due to an arterial blockage that may occur because of the development of a certain condition known as endarteritis obliterans. In addition to this, some other changes may occur and direct damage to the lining of blood vessels is only one of them.
The second way is nerve damage. Various studies showed that there was a reduction in the number of erection-inducing nerves in the penis after a person underwent radiation. The doses of radiation even need not be high.
The third way in which radiation can cause erectile dysfunction is direct erection tissue damage. If that happens, it can lead to leakage of blood from the erectile bodies. Every person knows that in order to have a proper erection the blood circulation needs to be good.
Management of post-radiation erectile dysfunction
Men who experienced erectile dysfunction after radiation therapy need to know that they are in need of a proper treatment in order to treat their problem. In almost all cases they are treated according to the process of care model. That means that a person will firstly be involved in management of the particular medical condition and psychological support. Oral therapy is included as well. The second line includes vacuum erection device therapy or penile injection therapy. The third line is penile implant surgery.