Prostate cancer screening often necessitates a prostate biopsy to detect the disease. Prostate biopsies attempt to gather samples of prostate cells to determine the presence or absence of cancerous cells.
Unfortunately, for some men, this procedure can be a cause of momentary erectile dysfunction (ED).
The temporary ED may last from a few days to several weeks, depending on your body’s reaction to the procedure.
Let’s learn more about prostate biopsies and their impact on ED, as well as how to manage any issues you may be experiencing with this sexual dysfunction.
How a Prostate Screening Works
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that involves the prostate, a small gland located between the bladder and anus that produces seminal fluid. This cancer affects about one in eight men—the second most common cancer behind breast cancer.
Diagnosing prostate cancer involves a digital rectal exam (DRE), which is an examination of the prostate gland through the wall of the rectum, as well as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the level of PSA in your blood.
If the outcomes are abnormal, doctors will advise the patient to undergo a prostate biopsy.
The purpose of a prostate biopsy is to collect prostate tissue samples. From there, the samples are evaluated to check for the presence of cancerous cells, as well as any other abnormalities.
Prostate biopsies can be performed through two methods:
- Transrectal prostate biopsy (TRUS): Uses an ultrasound probe to detect any abnormal growth in the prostate. With the help of the probe, this method helps create an image of the organs in the pelvis which gets projected on a screen.
- Transperineal prostate biopsy: A needle is inserted through the perineum, the area between the anus and scrotum. The needle removes small pieces of tissue, which are then examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells.
TRUS is a more common biopsy technique used to detect prostate cancer compared to transrectal prostate needle biopsy. The risk of coming with side effects like rectal bleeding and a urinary tract infection following the procedure remains relatively low at just under 5%.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem for men, affecting approximately half of all men aged 40 to 70.
This condition is defined as a type of sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or sustain an erection of the penis suitable for sexual activity.
This disorder can be caused by various factors, including chronic health conditions and mental health ailments.
While many cases of ED can be mild, experiencing this type of sexual dysfunction can be distressing and can affect your performance in the bedroom.
Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by a variety of sexual dysfunctions, including premature ejaculationand performance anxiety.
If you’re having a difficult time initiating sex after prostate biopsy, seeing a doctor might be necessary.
The Connection Between ED and Prostate Biopsy
A study published in BJU International found that erectile dysfunction developed in about 60% of participants the week following a prostate biopsy.
From the same study, the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) score for all patients continued to decrease in the following weeks, with the 12-week score being 16.9 as compared to the 1-week score of 18.4.
Another study that featured patients without ED strengthened the association between erectile dysfunction following prostate biopsy. Four weeks after the biopsy, about a third of men experienced mild erectile dysfunction. However, this continued to decrease over time.
The percentage of people with mild erectile dysfunction dropped to 7.52% after the study, and more than 90% had recovered or maintained a healthy erectile function.
The evidence quite clearly establishes the connection, but scientists and experts can’t pinpoint the exact cause of this association.
One theory suggested the stress sustained post-surgery may have contributed to this transient ED. Another theory suggested that the biopsy needle to the penis might cause damage to the nerves responsible for controlling erectile function.
If you’re concerned about the state of your erection, contact a urologist or sexual health specialist to let them know about your condition.
Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Fortunately, ED does not have to become a permanent issue for men with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Most of the time, symptoms can go away on their own.
But if time doesn’t alleviate the condition, there are several ED treatment options besides pills like Viagra available that can help you deal with this side effect.
These include the following:
Acoustic Wave Therapy
Acoustic wave therapy or shockwave therapy is a form of treatment for ED that uses sound waves to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Treatments like acoustic wave therapy are one way to deal with the ED symptoms caused by a prostate biopsy or other conditions. The success rate for this method is one of the most promising of all methods, ranging from 65% to 91% of patients.
Vacuum Erection Devices
Vacuum erection devices use a suction cup to help bring blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection. A band or ring is placed on the base of the penis to help maintain the erection.
While vacuum erection devices are a common way for men to achieve an erection after prostate biopsy treatment, it’s important to recognize that these devices treat the symptoms of ED and do not resolve the root causes of dysfunction long-term.
If ED is the result of psychological factors, such as anxiety or stress, receiving therapy may support medical treatment to help alleviate these symptoms. Sexual therapy can help you manage anxiety to help restore your sexual function from a mental perspective.
Making certain lifestyle changes can also help you deal with ED symptoms. These include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting light exercise
- Quitting any unhealthy habits
Contact Atlanta’s Top Men’s ED Clinic for a Sexual Health Consultation
If you experience ED following a prostate biopsy, working with your doctor to find the right ED treatment option is key.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important to explore all of your options and come up with a personalized plan that works for you.
If you need help dealing with ED caused by prostate biopsy, talk to a men’s health doctor today about the various treatment options available.
For issues caused by erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE), contact the team at Priority Men’s Medical Center in Atlanta now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with their experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are Atlanta’s leading men’s clinic providing ED therapy, PE therapy, Acoustic Wave therapy, hormone therapy, and much more.