Side effects of cryotherapy

Recovery after cryotherapy is not usually painful, but you’ll be sore where the needles went in. You will likely have a thin tube, called a catheter, to drain your urine (pee) for the first few days and your pee may have blood in it for a short while.

You may also have troubles with erections, increased urgency or frequency passing urine (pee), or leaking.

What side effects can you expect
after cryotherapy?

Some of the more common side effects of cryotherapy include:

  • soreness in your butt or anus (but this should be temporary)

  • infertility (not being able to have children) — if you’re interested in having children, talk to your doctor about saving (banking) your sperm before treatment

Very rarely, a rectal fistula (a tunnel/hole between the urinary tract and the rectum) can occur.

If these become a problem for you, talk to your doctor or care team to work through it and get the help you need.

Focal cryotherapy versus
whole prostate cryotherapy

Cryotherapy can be used to target part of the prostate (focal) or the whole prostate.

Focal cryotherapy

Usually, focal cryotherapy has fewer side effects than treatments that treat the whole prostate, like surgery or radiation therapy. This is because the treatment is only directed at a specific part of the prostate. Of the men who’ve had focal cryotherapy, around half will have erection problems and may need to use pills or other aids.

Whole prostate cryotherapy

With whole prostate cryotherapy, which targets the entire prostate, there are increased side effects.

Talk to your doctor or care team to fully understand what’s involved in cryotherapy, if you’re a good candidate, and if it's available to you.

What's next?

Now that you've read up on Side effects of cryotherapy, here are some related articles to explore as you continue to build your knowledge and understanding of this topic.
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