Turn up the heat this February and beyond…
February is just days away. And we can’t think of a better time than American Heart Month to put the spotlight on sexual health. And more specifically, how you can stay active in the bedroom at any age... and despite any prostate challenges you may be facing.
Because yes, prostate treatment can have an impact on sexual function. (More about that in a moment.) But with the right support, you can still enjoy a satisfying sex life for years to come. And we are going to spend the next few weeks sharing those strategies with you.
Today, let’s start with a quick look at the nuts and bolts of erectile function—and dysfunction.
Understanding erectile function and dysfunction
Erectile function depends on a variety of physical and psychological factors, from circulation and nerve health to hormone levels. And dysfunction—when a man can’t get or keep an erection strong enough for sexual activity—affects a significant portion of the male population.
Many potential causes can contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED), including:
- Blood Flow and Vessel Health: Healthy blood vessels are crucial for an erection. Problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and blocked arteries can reduce blood flow to the penis.
- Nerve Function: Erections start with nerve signals from the brain and around the penis. If these nerves are damaged (due to conditions like diabetes, spinal injuries, or strokes), it can lead to ED. Nerve function is also affected by stress, anxiety and mental issues.
- Nitric Oxide and Muscle Function: Nitric oxide is a chemical that helps relax penis muscles for blood to fill and create an erection. Health issues can reduce nitric oxide production, making it hard to get an erection.
- Hormones, Especially Testosterone: Testosterone is important for sex drive and erectile strength. Low testosterone or other hormone imbalances can cause ED.
All of these issues play a role in age-related ED. But men who have received prostate cancer treatment—via surgery, radiation, or other invasive procedures—run an additional risk of ED due to damage to the nerve bundles or hormonal therapy.
Navigating post-treatment challenges
There are two bundles of nerves—one on each side of the prostate—that activate the physical process of achieving and maintaining an erection. So when one or both of these nerve bundles is damaged or removed, it naturally results in diminished sexual function.
The more nerve function you have left, the more you have to work with, and the more success you can expect in restoring a satisfying level of sexual function. But patience is required, no matter what your individual situation might be—there has been trauma to your pelvic region and some degree of change is to be expected.
We always recommend exploring natural and side-effect free options before turning to pharmaceuticals, injections, or devices. In some cases, these may be necessary—but simple lifestyle changes can improve general health and fitness levels enough to have a profound impact on sexual function.
As always, the goal of the XY Wellness approach is to address the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction rather than to “pave over” them for a few hours at a time. And there are a number of risk-free strategies that can help you have the best sex of your life.
So stay tuned for next week—this Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered.
Until next time,
The XY Wellness Team