Chemotherapy affects every patient, who undergoes it. Yet, it affects them differently. Some people suffer from other major health complications, while others have sexual problems related to the treatment. One patient may suffer physically, while another faces emotional complications. Frankly speaking, it is really hard to say which one is worse.
Sexual Side Effects after Chemotherapy
There are some temporary and minor changes that may develop either during or after the treatment. A male may become:
- Anxious and low;
- Extremely tired;
- In low spirits;
- Sore and sick;
- Too weak to be active.
In most cases these symptoms remain unnoticed, because anxiety and stress seem to have nothing to do with sex. Most males worry about their money spent, the way each family member copes with the disease that they have or how successful the treatment is.
There are certain cancer types that may affect the pelvic region and lead to severe health problems:
- Bladder cancer;
- Prostate cancer;
- Rectum cancer;
- Colon cancer.
Those males, who are treated to fight any of these conditions, usually get erectile dysfunction as a side effect (75-85% of cases). The challenges get even greater when a male becomes older. For instance, around 75% of those above 70 experience impotence after chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
Nevertheless, doctors agree that there are also other factors that may trigger male dysfunction after cancer treatment:
- Smoking and alcohol consumption;
- Excess weight;
- High blood pressure;
- Kidney issues;
- Heart disease.
Cancer has a major emotional effect on a male. A sufferer gets really depressed or anxious, self-conscious, etc. Partners suffer, too, as they find it very hard to cope both with the physical and mental sides of the problem.
Loss of Libido & Loss of Erection after Chemotherapy
How libido loss is usually diagnosed? A male is no longer interested in intimacy. He never seems to be in the right mood for sex. The feeling is expected in many cases, especially during the treatment course. Why so? Chemotherapy makes a male feel really exhausted because of its adverse reactions, so little time and desire is left for sex.
As to erectile dysfunction, there are certain chemotherapy medications that lead to male impotence. However, it’s important to keep in mind that emotional stress can contribute to poor erections, too. Luckily, the condition is treatable.
How to Manage Sexual Problems?
If erectile dysfunction or low libido is the result of drugs and depression, coping with any condition is easy. If they are provoked by physical conditions, the treatment course will take much time and patience. The very first step is to have an honest conversation with a healthcare provider about your provoked impotence. Today there is vast number of medications that may be helpful in coping with the condition. And though dealing with chemo effects is never easy, it’s possible.
- PDE5 inhibitors: they are a very frequent choice due to their positive effects. Medications are easy to use, they are all-natural and cause minor side effects, if you administer them as prescribed. The only drawback is the fact they are not cheap;
- Penile injections: they are extremely effective and are chosen because of their fast action onset. No need to use them hours before sex. It’s enough to make an injection before intercourse. A male should learn the self-injection and get ready to some discomfort, too;
- Vacuum devices: they are very effective and very popular these days. Such devices are regarded as a one-time purchase. Yet, some males report their use is never convenient, leads to intercourse interruption, etc. Sometimes, erections aren’t firm enough and may bend at the penis’ base;
- Suppositories: these are tiny pills that are put inside the urinary opening. The suppositories melt and provide the same effects as the injections. However, as well as injections, they may cause discomfort and pain or fail in some ED cases;
- Implants/prosthesis: they always work, no matter what the ED stage is. With their help an erection looks and feels very natural. Many males feel as if it’s the part of their body. Erections may be a bit shorter than before;
- Vitamins: they are cheap and easy to obtain, but they are secondary treatment options that can’t bring positive results when administered alone. In additional, some of them interfere with other medications.
In case you want to have children after chemotherapy, you are to know that this treatment may lead to sterility or infertility. Most males are suggested to bank their sperm. Eggs and sperm can be fertilized and stored frozen in a lab until the chemo is complete.
Be sure that your healthcare provider will offer various treatment options before you start the chemo treatment course. Ways of enhancing sexual functions after the course are multiple, so your chances are always high.