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Enlarged Prostate (BPH) And Sex – Does An Enlarged Prostate Affect A Man Sexually?

BPH is a common condition that affects many men as they get older and typically leads to urinary symptoms that can affect their quality of life. One question we’re often asked is “Does an enlarged prostate affect a man sexually?” This post explains the meaning of an enlarged prostate (BPH), who it affects, and the impact it can have on a man’s sex life. So, let’s get started.

What is BPH?

As its name implies, an enlarged prostate refers to when the prostate becomes bigger. The prostate gland is part of the male’s reproductive system that sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra - the tube that transports urine from the bladder and away from the body.

The prostate grows as a man gets older and in doing so, it can squeeze the urethra and cause urinary problems which include:

Who does BPH affect?

Roughly 50% of men between the ages of 51 and 60 develop BPH and this number increases to 70% of men aged between 60 and 69, and a whopping 80% of men over 70.

Alongside aging, risk factors for BPH include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, a family history of BPH, and obesity.

How does an enlarged prostate affect a man sexually?

While BPH affects men differently, reports show that those with more severe cases of BPH complain of having a lower libido, difficulty in maintaining an erection, and reduced sexual satisfaction compared to those with milder BPH. Although genetics and age may play a contributing role, there are a few other reasons for a reduction in sexual function for those with BPH.

Feelings of anxiety

Anxiety and embarrassment about their urinary symptoms can affect a man’s desire to have sex or affect his performance. For example, needing to urinate more frequently or an urgent need to pee may interrupt foreplay. Furthermore, the need to urinate during sexual activity, can cause anxiety and take away any pleasure from the experience.

Medicinal side-effects

Unfortunately, alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, commonly prescribed to treat BPH, may result in side-effects such as:

Surgical intervention

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a common surgical procedure for those severely affected by the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. The process involves removing part of the prostate to lessen the pressure on the urethra. While TURP may be an effective treatment for an enlarged prostate, it can mean bad news for sexual function. In some cases, semen is released into the bladder during orgasm rather than out of the body (retrograde ejaculation) and this can impact both fertility and sexual satisfaction.

If you need treatment for BPH but are worried about sexual function, you may want to consider prostate artery embolization (PAE) – a minimally invasive treatment performed on an outpatient basis which is quick, virtually painless and has long-lasting results. It works by cutting off the blood supply to the artery feeding the prostate, causing it to shrink.

Can anything be done to minimize the impact of BPH on the sex drive?

It's worth mentioning that not all men diagnosed with BPH will encounter sexual challenges. Moreover, sexual function might even improve post-treatment for BPH, especially if symptoms previously caused anxiety or discomfort.

Nevertheless, if you're encountering sexual issues linked to BPH, consulting your doctor is crucial. They can assist in determining the most suitable treatment and may offer suggestions for managing sexual difficulties, such as medication adjustments or exploring different sexual positions.

For those diagnosed with BPH and experiencing sexual challenges, there are ways to lessen their impact on sexual life:

Consult your healthcare provider: If you're facing sexual challenges linked to BPH or its medication, don't hesitate to discuss this with your healthcare provider. They can potentially adjust your medication or suggest alternative treatments to reduce side effects. Additionally, they might propose an erectile dysfunction medication, which in some cases, could not only address ED but also alleviate BPH symptoms. Your doctor will guide you through these options and assess their suitability for you.

Try different positions: If urinary symptoms arise during sexual activity, explore various positions that place less pressure on the bladder and urethra. For instance, lying on your back with bent knees or standing might be more comfortable alternatives.

Be ‘bladder proactive’: To reduce urinary symptoms during sex, be sure to empty your bladder before embarking in sexual activity. Also, lower fluid intake before sex.

Incorporate pelvic floor exercises: Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, involve contracting and relaxing the muscles supporting the bladder and bowel. These exercises may aid in improving urinary and sexual function.

How to cope with reduced sexual function resulting from BPH

Dealing with BPH and a decrease in sexual function can be difficult, but remember, you’re not alone. Numerous men encounter similar difficulties, and there are support systems in place to assist you in managing symptoms and enhancing your sexual well-being.

Effective coping with BPH and sexual challenges is often easier when you open up to your partner. Engaging in candid discussions about your concerns can foster a deeper connection and potentially enhance intimacy. Your partner should be supportive and understanding, and together you can explore ways to adapt to changes in sexual function.

Moreover, don’t forget that sexual function is just one part of a fulfilling relationship. Other acts such as cuddling, kissing and holding hands all connect you with your partner and bring you closer together.

For those struggling with BPH and diminished sexual function, support is available. Support groups, counseling, and sex therapy are valuable resources for managing symptoms and improving sexual health. Your healthcare provider can offer recommendations for resources or refer you to specialists who can provide assistance tailored to your needs.

Hopefully, tis has answered the question "Does an enlarged prostate affect a man sexually?"

Want to know more about PAE?

Meanwhile, if your BPH is getting worse, you might want to consider PAE. This minimally invasive procedure will shrink the prostate and improve your overall quality of life. It’s also covered by insurance! Why not schedule a consultation with the experienced professionals at MINT STL to see if it’s a suitable treatment for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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