What Men Can Do About Changes in Sexuality and Fertility
What men can do about changes in sexuality and fertility caused by radiation therapy.
Wondering how getting radiation therapy might impact your sex life? All men can listen to this track to learn about possible changes in sexuality. For men getting radiation therapy to the pelvic area, such as the testes or prostate, Dr. Ross will also talk about changes in fertility. Letís listen in now.
Iíd like to open up with some general information about sexuality that may be helpful to all men getting radiation therapy.
One of the most common questions I get from men is ďCan I have sex during radiation therapy?Ē The good news is most men can continue to have sex during their treatment. However, itís best to check with your doctor to make sure itís okay for you.
Others ask, ďIs it normal to have a low sex drive during radiation therapy?Ē And the answer is also yes. So, while you may be physically able to have sex, you may just not feel like it. Guys, be easy on yourselves. You may be very tired, worried, or in pain from the treatment.
There are many steps you can take to stay close with your partner, other than having intercourse. You can figure out together what kind of touching feels good, such as holding, hugging, and cuddling. You can also stay close without being physical. Many couples bond by listening to music together or taking walks and holding hands.
Now for questions from men who are getting radiation therapy to the pelvis.
They often ask me what changes they might have after radiation therapy. Of course, this varies from person to person and depends on the type of cancer being treated. Hereís what we know:
Many men donít have problems having sex after radiation therapy. For other men, radiation therapy can make it more difficult to get or keep an erection. These changes can happen slowly, after completing radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor or nurse to learn what you should expect.
I also receive questions from men getting radiation to the pelvis about whether or not they can have children in the future. I tell them that itís important to talk with their doctor. There are things you can do now to plan for children later. Your doctor can talk with you about sperm banking or refer you to a fertility specialist.
Weíve covered a lot of information, so letís go over the main points:
First, while it depends on the type of cancer you have, it is likely that you can continue having sex during treatment. However, some men find that they have low sex drive during this time.
For men getting radiation to the pelvis, some may find it difficult to get or keep an erection. These changes can happen slowly after completing radiation therapy.
Some men receiving radiation therapy to the pelvis are still able to make a woman pregnantóbut some are not. So if you are getting radiation to the pelvis and would like to have children later on, talk with your doctor before you start treatment. Your doctor can help you learn about what you can do now or refer you to a fertility specialist. Some men place their sperm in a sperm bank to use later.
Lastly, the best advice I can give you is to learn about all your treatment options. Ask about any side effects. And keep talking with your partner and your doctor as issues or questions come up.