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Bladder Cancer Surgery

Side Effects of Surgery for Bladder Cancer

This type of surgery may affect a person's sexual function. In a radical cystectomy, the surgeon will remove the uterus and ovaries, which means that women will not be able to get pregnant and menopause will occur at once. Hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause caused by surgery may be more severe than those caused by natural menopause. Many women take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to relieve these problems. Sexual intercourse may be difficult if the surgeon removes part of the vagina during a radical cystectomy.
In the past, nearly all men were impotent after radical cystectomy, but improvements in surgery have made it possible for some men to avoid impotence (erectile dysfunction). Men who have had their prostate gland and seminal vesicles removed will no longer produce semen, so they have dry orgasms. Men who wish to father children may consider sperm banking prior to surgery or sperm retrieval later on.
It is natural for a patient to worry about the sexual side effects of surgery, and patients should talk with their doctor about possible side effects and how long side effects are likely to last. Whatever the outlook, it may be helpful for patients and their partners to talk about their feelings and help one another find ways to share intimacy during and after treatment.
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