Sexual Health in Men Declines After Prostate Surgery

Sexual health is worse than expected in nearly half of all men who undergo surgery for prostate cancer, according to a poll.


Sexual function was shown to have decreased while incontinence problems increased.


Prior to the surgery, some men in the study expected to have better sexual and urinary function a year after surgery than prior to it. That belief is not realistic, Daniela Wittmann, sexual health coordinator at the urology department of the University of Michigan, told Reuters.


"Men have unrealistic expectations of urinary and sexual function after prostatectomy despite preoperative counseling," Wittmann and her colleagues wrote.


More than 150 men undergoing radical prostatectomy filled out a questionnaire prior to the surgery but after having received counseling on the risks associated with the procedure.


The questionnaire revealed that nearly half of the men surveyed expected the same function after surgery as before, while 17 percent expected better sexual function after the surgery.


A follow-up survey one year later showed that just 36 percent of the men said their pre-surgery expectations matched post-surgery outcomes, while 40 percent said their expectations for sexual function matched reality.


According to Reuters, Wittmann said it's hard to predict how likely a patient will recover urinary and sexual function. "We can only (inform them) in terms of overall statistics. We can't predict for the individual man, which means that, if in doubt, people tend toward being hopeful and optimistic," she said.

That optimism, said Tracey Krupski of the University of Virginia, “may ultimately lead to disappointment when adjusting to a long-term disability," Reuters reports.


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