Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term for an enlarged prostate gland. This condition becomes quite common as men get older.
Some men with BPH experience urinary problems because the prostate tissue grows inward and compresses the urethra (the tube that allows urine and semen to leave the body). The pressure makes it more difficult for urine to flow through.
There are several treatments for BPH, including nonsurgical approaches and minimally-invasive procedures. More severe cases of BPH might require surgery. (Learn more about the different types of BPH surgeries here.)
Typically, men who have successful erections before surgery can have them afterward. However, if men had erection problems before surgery, those problems will likely continue.
Some men experience retrograde ejaculation or “dry climax” after surgery. This means that when a man ejaculates, semen goes backward into the bladder rather than forward out of the penis. Because of the way the surgeon cuts tissue, the neck of the bladder becomes wider, making it easier for semen to take that path. Retrograde ejaculation is not harmful. The semen exits the body when the man urinates. However, it makes it more difficult for men to father children.
Most men find that orgasms feel the same after surgery. Those who have retrograde ejaculation may need to adjust to having dry orgasms.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to get an erection firm enough for sexual activity – is another possibility after BPH surgery. (Learn more about ED and its treatment here.)
Men should know that not all surgical procedures result in sexual problems. And sexual side effects may be temporary. Much depends on the individual and the type of procedure used.
Before having surgery, men should talk to their healthcare providers about possible sexual function afterward so that they can know what to expect. If sexual dysfunction might be an issue, a different treatment approach might be warranted.
Archives of Italian Urology and Andrology
Pavone, Carlo, et al.
“Sexual dysfunctions after transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): evidence from a retrospective study on 264 patients”
(Abstract. March 31, 2015)
International Society for Sexual Medicine
“Does surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) affect a man’s sexual function?”
“BPH Surgery and Sex Health”
(December 14, 2010)
Urology Care Foundation
“Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – Surgery”
Robinson, Kara Mayer
“Managing Sexual Concerns if You Have BPH”
(February 28, 2014)