Harvard Men's Health Watch

Ask the doctor: Prostate surgery and ED

Q. I am scheduled to have my prostate removed and am concerned about the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) after the surgery. I've heard that taking an ED drug daily during my recovery could help. Do you recommend this?

A. About half of men lose some erectile function after radical prostatectomy, which removes the entire prostate gland. ED drugs help men to have erections after surgery, but so far research has not shown that taking it daily produces better results than taking the medication as-needed—when you anticipate sexual activity.

ED drugs increase blood flow to the penis, which helps to produce an erection. The four options now available are avanafil (Stendra), sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn). In theory, taking an ED drug daily after surgery could help to nourish and heal nerves and tissues damaged by surgery.

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