anonymous on September 9, 2011

Since prostate and hernia surgeries, I’m having trouble staying hard…what can I do?

I’ve had several prostate surgeries and hernia repairs. During the last hernia repair, the right testicle needed to be removed. Now my erections are inconsistent – sometimes they’re fine, and sometimes I’ll only last a minute. And when I have sex, I have a burning sensation in my groin area on the right side. I am 50 years old and too young to give up on sex. What can I do?

answered by David Sobel, MD, JD on September 9, 2011

Thanks so much for writing to us. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot…and with so many physical changes happening to your body (including aging), it’s hard to know exactly what’s causing your erectile dysfunction (ED).

That said, as men age, it’s not uncommon to have trouble getting or keeping an erection. So what you’re experiencing could be unrelated to your surgeries.

Of course, there’s a risk of ED with some surgeries…for example, a radical prostatectomy can cause ED.

Because one of your testicles was removed, you may not be producing as much testosterone as before. Hypogonadism (low testosterone) can contribute to erection problems. So it wouldn’t hurt to see your doctor and get your hormone levels checked…the good news is that hypogonadism is entirely treatable.

What about your pain during sex? Pain with ejaculation can sometimes happen with an infection in the prostate (or prostatitis). Also, as part of the healing process, scar tissue often develops after surgery…and scar tissue sometimes traps a nerve, which can cause pain.

To get to the bottom of your ED and discomfort, I recommend that you see your doctor for an evaluation and treatment, if necessary.

Thanks again for sharing your questions, and I hope that you’ll soon be able to enjoy satisfying sexual experiences once again.

David Sobel, MD, JD

Dr. Sobel is a Colorado-based urologist and Director of the Denver Center for Men’s Health. His areas of expertise include men's sexual health and all areas of urology, including urologic oncology, treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, stone disease and incontinence. Dr. Sobel was educated at the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and completed his residency at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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