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BPH Surgery and Sex Health

Having surgery to treat BPH (an enlarged prostate) can be a little unsettling. There’s usually a hospital stay and some recovery time that might slow you down a bit. It’s also common to have some sexual problems after BPH surgery.

The good news is that in most cases, these problems are temporary. Most men are back to 100% of their pre-surgery functioning within a year. Still, it’s best to be prepared for what can happen, so you can discuss any concerns with your doctor and your partner.

Here are some of the sexual problems that can result from BPH surgery.

  • Retrograde Ejaculation. When retrograde ejaculation happens, semen travels backward into your bladder instead of forward out of your penis. You probably know that both semen and urine travel through your urethra, the tube that runs through your penis. When you’re sexually aroused, sperm enters your urethra near your bladder. At this time, a muscle blocks the bladder opening so that semen – not urine – goes through the urethra.

    But in some forms of BPH surgery, this muscle is cut, making a larger opening to the bladder. It’s easier for the semen to go back into the bladder than out through the penis. This is retrograde ejaculation.

    Retrograde ejaculation won’t hurt you. The semen exits your body with urine. But it can be a problem if you’re trying to conceive children. Some medicines that contain pseudoephedrine can help strengthen the muscle and close the bladder. Your doctor can give you further advice.
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED). ED is the inability to maintain an erection needed for satisfying sex. It’s difficult to know how common ED is after BPH surgery because ED affects each couple differently. ED can be frustrating, but there are many different treatments available, including medications and devices. Your doctor can help you choose which one is best for you and your partner. Keeping the lines of communication open with you partner and being willing to try other ways of intimacy can also help.

  • Emotional Issues. For some men, just knowing there might be sexual problems after surgery can be enough to trigger some issues in the bedroom. It’s natural to feel nervous and anxious. After all, sex is an important part of your life. Learn as much as you can about BPH and the surgery you’re having. This will help you understand what’s going on and help put your mind at ease. Again, be open with your partner about how you’re feeling. Most likely, your partner will be supportive. And don’t hesitate to discuss any of your concerns with your doctor, counselor, or sex therapist.