The Independent Pharmacy

Does An Enlarged Prostate Affect Your Sexual Health

Daniel Hurley
Daniel HurleyMPharm IPPharmacist Independent Prescriber

Reviewed on 2 Apr 2024

An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), can definitely impact a man’s sexual health. As the prostate grows larger, it can obstruct the urethra and cause troubling urinary symptoms. It can also directly hinder sexual functioning.

Many men with an enlarged prostate experience issues like erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation, and low libido. The condition interferes with sexual satisfaction and intimacy.

Understanding the influences an enlarged prostate has on sexual health is important for managing symptoms.

The good news is that there are a variety of treatment options available to help alleviate these effects, including treatments like Viagra or Cialis. With proper medical advice and lifestyle adjustments, it is possible to restore sexual function and enjoyment.

Let’s explore the effect of an enlarged prostate on your sexual health in more detail.

Key Takeaways:

  • An enlarged prostate can directly hinder sexual function, causing issues like erectile dysfunction and painful ejaculation.
  • Indirectly, enlarged prostate symptoms like frequent urination can reduce libido and sexual confidence.
  • Treatment options like medications, minimally invasive procedures, and surgery can relieve obstruction and restore sexual function.
  • Lifestyle adjustments, communication with partners, and professional support help manage the sexual health effects.

How An Enlarged Prostate Influences Sexual Health

When the prostate, which is normally about the size of a walnut, gets bigger, it can press on the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. This causes frustrating symptoms like:

  • Losing erection firmness - Blocked penile blood flow makes stiffness tricky to reach/maintain
  • Painful release - Semen struggles passing through the narrowed urethra upon climax
  • Retrograde ejaculation – When semen flows backwards into the bladder instead of coming out the usual way
  • Sexual desire takes a hit - Constant bathroom trips zap the mood for intimacy
  • Relationship distancing - Partners stop being romantic to avoid embarrassment

Managing intimate life changes can feel disheartening. But solutions do wait through adjustments, medicine options, or minimally invasive procedures.

Regaining satisfying intimacy after an enlarged prostate diagnosis is a journey that requires patience, openness with your partner, and a commitment to finding the treatment that works best for you.

It’s a path you don’t have to walk alone. Recognising commonality in such impacts is the first step.

Managing the Sexual Health Effects of an Enlarged Prostate

Medication Options

Treating an enlarged prostate involves addressing the root cause of obstruction to alleviate symptoms. Some treatments influence sexual function more than others.

Medications called alpha-blockers like Tamsulosin work by relaxing the muscles around the prostate and the opening of the bladder. This helps relieve the blockage and makes it easier to urinate. Alpha-blockers do not directly treat erectile dysfunction but may make it easier to regain function.

Oral medications like Sildenafil (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis) improve erectile function by enhancing blood flow to the penis. They can treat ED related to enlarged prostate obstruction. Your doctor can advise if these are appropriate for your situation, as they can interact with some blood pressure medications.

Sildenafil Tablets (25mg, 50mg & 100mg)
Sildenafil Tablets (25mg, 50mg & 100mg)
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Surgical Treatments

Surgery to remove excess prostate tissue can be an effective solution when medications fail. While the risk of erectile dysfunction is a concern with any prostate surgery, techniques have improved to preserve sexual function. Many men find a new beginning in their journey towards sexual health after prostate surgery, reporting significant relief from symptoms and restoration of intimacy.

Open discussions with a healthcare provider help weigh the sexual health risks and benefits of each enlarged prostate treatment. There are solutions to manage potential side effects. With careful selection and monitoring, most men find a regimen that alleviates symptoms without severe sexual dysfunction.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Alongside medical treatment, lifestyle changes and support can promote sexual health in men with an enlarged prostate.

Simple everyday measures can enhance function and reduce obstructive prostate symptoms:

Support Systems

Seeking counselling or joining a support group helps men grapple with the emotional toll of sexual health changes related to an enlarged prostate. Sharing experiences and advice can be reassuring.

Communication and understanding from partners also ease the burden. Visiting a doctor together opens discussion for how to maintain intimacy despite physical limitations.

Making positive lifestyle adjustments and utilising available support gives men the tools to revitalise their sexual health and relationships.

Navigating Relationships and Sexual Intimacy

Communication Is Key

Speaking openly with your partner is vital for navigating the effects of an enlarged prostate on relationships and sexual intimacy.

Have an honest discussion about your symptoms and any physical limitations or changes you are experiencing. Talk about your worries and reassure your partner that it is the condition, not them.

Work together to explore new ways of being intimate that accommodate your needs. Adjust sexual positions to make you more comfortable. Incorporate more non-penetrative and pleasurable touching. Use lubricants to ease friction. Focus on closeness and take penetrative intercourse off the table if needed.

The path forward may require some trial and error. Most importantly, keep communication ongoing so both partners’ needs are heard and addressed. Do not let frustration or embarrassment prevent you from being vulnerable with your significant other.

Professional Guidance and Counseling

Seeking help through counselling or sex therapy can be invaluable for addressing the emotional side of physical and sexual changes related to an enlarged prostate.

A sex therapist helps you and your partner navigate mismatched libidos, renewed anxiety around sex, or other intimate challenges. Counselling provides tools to enhance communication, closeness and sexual satisfaction within your limits.

We encourage you to seek the support of mental health professionals, who offer a compassionate ear and specialised guidance during these times. They can help you regain confidence, strengthen your relationship through this difficulty, and find “the new normal” regarding your sex life.

Your physician may also refer you to a urologist or relationship counsellor if the impacts on your sex life and relationship seem severe. By leaning on each other for strength and support and seeking professional help when needed, you can navigate these challenges with resilience and hope.

Take the Next Steps With The Independent Pharmacy

Visit our website and complete the online self-assessment to get personalised advice and treatment options for managing the effects of an enlarged prostate on your sexual health.

Our team of healthcare professionals will review your self-assessment and get in touch with a tailored list of treatments that best suit your condition and needs.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or if you’re seeking guidance. We’re here to support you with understanding and compassion at every step. Our dedicated team is here to support you on your journey to better health and well-being.

Remember, taking action is the first step towards improvement. By seeking professional advice and exploring treatment options, you’re moving forward in managing your health proactively.

FAQs

Can you take Viagra if you have an enlarged prostate?

Yes, medications like Viagra (sildenafil) can be used to treat erectile dysfunction related to an enlarged prostate. Always consult your doctor first, as PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra can interact with some blood pressure medications.

Is ejaculating good for enlarged prostate?

Frequent ejaculation may help reduce prostate inflammation and provide temporary relief from urinary tract symptoms. However, there is no evidence that ejaculation shrinks an enlarged prostate.

Do you need a prostate to get hard?

No, the prostate is not necessary for getting an erection. The nerves, blood vessels and smooth muscles involved in penile arousal are separate structures from the prostate gland. Men who have prostatectomy can still get erections.

Can you still have an erection if your prostate is removed?

Yes, it is possible to still achieve erections after prostate removal surgery. However, there are risks of erectile dysfunction if nerves around the prostate are damaged during the procedure. Surgical techniques aim to preserve erectile function.

Sources:

NHS (2023). Symptoms of benign prostate enlargement - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-enlargement/symptoms/

NHS (2023). Treatment of benign prostate enlargement - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-enlargement/treatment/

J K Parsons (2011). Lifestyle factors, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and lower urinary tract symptoms - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21045705/

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Daniel Hurley
Written by Daniel Hurley

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