Urologic Conditions and Sexual Health
From prostate issues to pelvic floor concerns, there is a variety of urologic conditions and treatments that can have an impact on a person’s sexual health. After all, the human urologic system involves the male reproductive organs and some crucial structures that support the female reproductive system. It isn’t surprising to most urologists when a condition affecting a urologic organ leads to issues involving a person’s sexual health. The good news is that when our patients are honest with us, we have various tools, techniques, treatments, and advice ready to help our patients improve their sexual function – even when dealing with a urologic health concern.
Because sex and sexuality are private matters for most people, they can be topics challenging to discuss with a doctor or anyone else. Adding a urologic health concern to the sexual health mix can be even tougher to navigate with a health care provider. After all, men affected by prostate cancer or women experiencing severe pelvic organ prolapse may assume that their sex lives should take a back seat to their urologic condition. However, it is crucial to understand that sexual health is directly intertwined with overall health – emotional and physical.
Being honest and open with a trusted doctor is one of the most significant steps a person dealing with a urologic health concern can take to have their sexual health needs addressed. Some questions to ask may include:
Is my urologic condition related to the sexual health issue I am currently experiencing?
How long will the sexual health issue I am experiencing last once my urologic concern is treated or resolved?
What treatment options are available to help address my sexual health concerns while I am undergoing treatment for a urologic condition?
How can my partner and I support each other through this sexual health episode?
In addition to seeking advice from a trusted doctor about sexual health concerns connected to urologic conditions, bringing a partner to medical appointments and honestly discussing these matters with health care providers can ensure that all affected parties are on the same page. As with any medical concern, emotion can sometimes interfere with how we interpret the information we receive. Having a partner at the appointment with you can help ensure that you both receive the same information, which can go a long way towards understanding. Being able to ask a doctor questions can also make partners feel included and part of the “team.” Again, open, honest, and empathetic communication is often key to the healthy resolution of sexual issues arising from medical conditions.
I know it’s tough but try to resist the urge to seek out medical advice related to sexual health on the Internet. Online medical advice might seem like an “easier” means of resolution than a face-to-face conversation with your doctor. Though paging Dr. Google might feel less embarrassing, it usually isn’t better for you. If a trusted doctor hasn’t directed you to the online information you’re accessing – always speak with them first before adopting the advice – or purchasing medications or products purported to “cure” or “heal” your concerns. Simply put, the Internet doesn’t know (and likely doesn’t care about) your medical history. Your doctor is the best and safest place to start when it comes to treatments for sexual health concerns.
Some may think sacrificing their sexual health “comes with the territory” of dealing with a urologic health concern. It shouldn’t. It is crucial to remember that sexual health is intertwined with overall health. Addressing health concerns in other body systems, including the urologic organs, can positively impact sexual health now and in the future. In addition, most sexual health symptoms experienced by people with urologic conditions aren’t permanent. In many cases, once the urologic disease is treated or well-managed, sexual health functions typically return. So, have courage and talk to your doctor about your needs – they listen and want to help.