a black couple sitting in a bed with disappointed looks on their faces

Another Message to Black Men - #3: Sexual Therapy

Good day. This is the third article in this series called Another Message to Black Men, discussing and offering solutions for preventing the development of prostate cancer. In this article, I’m going to discuss erectile dysfunction and sexual therapy.

What exactly is erectile dysfunction?

To begin, let us get the definition out of the way early. Erectile dysfunction (ED) was defined as the “total inability to achieve an erection, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only brief erections.”1 Some of the health issues that can cause ED are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, alcohol use, and even prescription drugs.1 So, what about prostate cancer?

Just for a quick reminder, many of the treatment options for prostate cancer can cause ED. For example, surgery to remove the prostate gland, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy can lead to some sort of ED.2 In most cases, the severity of the ED is related to the severity of the prostate cancer and the type of treatment options used.

How can sexual therapy help?

Depending on the prostate cancer treatment, sexual therapy can help. At the same time, you have to remember you are not 18 years old anymore. The older you get, it tends to take longer to get an erection, and you may not get them as frequently as you did when you were in your 30s. That's just nature at work. Add prostate cancer into the mix, and you’ll start to see what I’m getting at here.

If you had a non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer, you may only need therapy. In these cases, the therapist may discuss other issues with you that is causing you ED, beyond prostate cancer. The therapist may talk to you about your diet (fatty foods), exercise, and smoking cessation. If necessary, the therapist could even explore other mental health issues with you such as depression and mental illness.2

Using medications or injections

Your therapist may even suggest medications or penile injections as a way to treat your ED.2 This is where I really have to say it is important to explore other causes of your ED before you start medications.

Please remember, stress can cause problems with getting an erection. It is not a stretch to think your diagnosis and treatment just put you through/are still going through a stressful situation. I highly suggest talking to a sex therapist first.

Keep your doctor informed

As I start to bring this article to a close, I have to say this. Please keep your doctor informed on any decision you make on sexual therapy. I believe your doctor will be very supportive of you getting therapy. Your doctor may become more concerned if you take medications for your ED.

Why do you ask? If you are taking any sort of medication, including chemotherapy, you don't want your ED medication or injection to interact with your prostate cancer treatment. Please keep your doctor informed.

Additionally, if you are using any of the vacuum-constriction devices to aid in erections, check with your doctor to see if they will work properly, especially if you had surgery. You don't want to do any damage.

Where can I find a sex therapist?

Finally, you may wonder where to find a sex therapist in your area. There is a national organization called AASECT -- American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. You can search their website to find a therapist in your area.

Thank you for reading.

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