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In a PubMed article about erectile function preservation following prostatectomy surgery, Dr's Segal and Burnett review treatment options. You may find this article interesting because, if you are treating male patients for pelvic rehabilitation, you will be asked some questions that you don't usually learn the answers to in school. 

 

Urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction are the 2 most common complications following prostate removal surgery. Erectile dysfunction affects not only the quality of life of the man who had surgery, but the man's partner can suffer as well. There are various types of erectile dysfunction, and this article describes several medication approaches towards the various types of dysfunction. One of the post-surgical approaches that has been prevalent in the literature over the past decade is the use of some type of medication to periodically produce erections immediately in the weeks following surgery to maximize functional recovery. You can familiarize yourself with some of the literature and medication approaches available in this review.

 

Why should we be familiar with medications such as those discussed in the article? It has been my experience that even when you don't "solve" the patient's sexual dysfunction, the patients are desperate to talk with someone about what is happening to the body and about what options are available for recovery. Oftentimes, male patients remark that they feel much more comfortable addressing the issue with a physician once they have some basic information. It is also much more interesting to engage in a discussion with a physician about his or her preferred practice pattern or clinical experience when you have perused the options that the doctor encounters in the literature. 

 

One option missing from this article is physical therapy. Grace Dorey (physiotherapist) is primary author of some very encouraging research indicating that pelvic muscle strengthening helps men recover sexual function. Her study did not include post-prostatectomy patients, yet the education and exercises that she had the men complete are very easily instructed. Click here for her full article. 

 

The bottom line is that the more you know, the more comfortable you will be when you ask questions and when you answer questions about erectile dysfunction. And, more likely than not, if you are currently only treating women, that will change. And, if it hasn't occurred already, you will soon be the go-to person whenever anyone in the clinic (or place of worship, restaurant, etc) asks a question about sexual health. 


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