It’s not always easy to bring up the subject of sex and erections with your doctor, yet doing this is one way to take charge of your sex life. Research shows that people who keep open and honest communication with their doctor tend to be more satisfied with their care.
It’s important to tell your doctor or care team what you’re going through, they’re there to support you and your needs.
If you find you're having sexual difficulties, try to ask for help sooner rather than later. It's very common for people to delay asking for help. Ignoring sexual difficulties can lead to other problems, including stress and relationship tension.
Remember, you (and your partner) are sharing a real medical concern, that is very common for most men who have been treated for prostate cancer.
How to talk to your doctor, nurse
or care team about sexual issues:
Even if you feel a bit awkward, start by letting them know that you appreciate being able to talk about this topic as it's important to you. This may seem odd, yet it can be a good way to start the conversation.
Use a list of questions. You may even want to send them ahead so that your doctor can think about them.
Make an agreement with your partner that you’ll help each other get the questions asked.
Ask them to be available for follow up questions after the appointment.
Take notes on the answers.
Take a moment to plan the conversation with your doctor. Think about what you really want to get out of the visit and what questions you’d like answered. It could help to write down your questions and bring them with you, so you don't forget.
what you want to say
what you hope they will do
any questions you have
where else you could get support (for example, at an erectile dysfunction (ED) clinic or online)
Which other healthcare professionals can help?
There are sex therapists and sexual health counsellors that specialize in helping men rediscover their sex lives. They can help you as an individual and as a couple to navigate through your new sexual 'normal'. Speak to your doctor or care team about a referral to a sex therapist or sexual health counsellor.
What else can I do to
prepare for the future?
Keep yourself healthy
Maintaining your overall physical and mental health is important for your sexual wellbeing.
During this time, it’s important to:
eat healthy foods and understand your nutrition needs
exercise to keep your body strong
get plenty of rest (sleep when you need to)
avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol
stay on track with your penile rehab activities - this will give peace of mind to know you’re doing everything you can to improve
do your pelvic floor exercises
Practice good communication
Don't forget the importance of good communication. Talking to your doctor or care team, as well as trusted friends, can help you mentally de-stress. How and when you decide to engage in sexual intimacy is up to you and your partner.
Be open and willing to new ideas
People who have a satisfying sex life after prostate cancer treatment are sexually creative, have an open mind and are willing to try new things. Understanding and accepting that your sex life is going to be different after treatment will help you be more open to trying new things.
You may also need to try different types of medicines and devices to find the right one(s) that work for you to help with your erectile function.