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A connection between the prostate and impotence commonly occurs in men who have been treated for prostate cancer, but two other conditions can also cause erectile or sexual dysfunction. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) affects more than half of all men between the age of 40 and 59, and can lead to impotence. Younger men can suffer from prostatis, an infection of the prostate gland that can cause problems achieving or maintaining an erection.
Surgery or hormone therapy for cancer is the most common cause of prostate and impotence problems. An operation to remove all or part of the prostate can lead to temporary or permanent impotence. Some patients opt to reduce their amount of testosterone, the male sex hormone that allows cancer cells to grow, to treat prostate cancer instead of surgery. Side effects of this therapy include impotence and low sex drive.
Although BPH does not cause impotence, medication or surgery to treat it may lead to dysfunction or trouble maintaining an erection. Surgery may remove part or all of the prostate gland. If nerves that control erection are accidentally severed, impotence could result. In some cases, sexual function improves after surgery for an enlarged prostate. Urinary incontinence is a common side effect, however.
Prostatis has also been linked to prostate and impotence troubles. It is a bacterial or non-bacterial infection of the gland. The non-bacterial form of the infection may cause sexual dysfunction. Anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics are used to treat the condition, which improves in about half of patients. Prostatis is difficult to diagnosis and is commonly confused with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
The prostate gland, about the size of a walnut, is a key component in sexual and reproductive health. It is found at the base of the bladder in front of the rectum, surrounding part of the urethra that brings urine through the penis from the bladder. Seminal fluid that carries sperm is secreted by this gland, so when it does not function properly, impotence can be the result.
About half of all cases of erectile dysfunction stem from organic causes, many of which are diseases of the prostate. Millions of men suffer from prostate and impotence problems, especially men between 40 and 70 years old. Other causes of sexual dysfunction include alcohol abuse, diabetes, anxiety, and abnormalities of the endocrine gland. A complete physical examination, including blood tests, is necessary to determine if the prostate and impotence are connected.