If you have had one testicle removed there is often no reason why your
ability to father children, sexual performance or sexual appetite
should be affected. The remaining testicle will usually make more
testosterone (the male sex hormone) and sperm to make up for the one
that has been removed. Read a
helpful article on sperm banking - Click
But you may find that you do feel less like having
sex, at least for a while. This is perfectly normal. Any treatment can
make you feel like this. Other treatment side effects such as tiredness
and feeling sick are bound to have an effect on your libido.
Being diagnosed with cancer raises a lot of
emotions such as fear, anxiety and anger. All these can affect your
libido too. But this is temporary. After you have got over your
treatment and are beginning to come to terms with having been diagnosed
with cancer, you will find your libido comes back.
Some men are diagnosed with testicular cancer in both testicles. Or it
comes back in the other testicle after you have been treated. If this
happens to you, you will need to have your other testicle removed.
After the operation, you will no longer produce sperm or testosterone.
So you will not be able to father a child unless you have some sperm
banked. Read a helpful article on
sperm banking - Click Here.
If you have had both testicles removed, you will
be given testosterone replacement therapy. This is necessary to give
you a normal sex drive and so that you can get an erection. Low levels
of testosterone can also cause mood changes and tiredness.
Testosterone replacement can be given by mouth,
injection or simply by rubbing gel (ANDROGEL) on the skin.
Tablets are not very well absorbed, so treatment
by mouth is not often used these days. Injections work well. They can
be given into the muscle of your arm or leg every 2 to 3 weeks. Some
research has shown that the levels of the hormone in your blood are
more stable if you have injections at least every 2 weeks. If the
levels are not stable, you can have mood changes, tiredness and loss of
your sex drive between injections.
Skin patches are the newest way to give
testosterone replacement. They are like plasters that give a small dose
of testosterone through the skin all the time. They have very few side
effects (just mild skin irritation in some men) and keep the
testosterone levels very stable in your blood.
One operation for testicular cancer that can affect your sex life is a
retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. This means taking out the lymph
nodes at the back of the abdomen. This operation is not done as often
in the UK as it is in some other countries. But you may need to have it
done if your lymph nodes are still enlarged after radiotherapy or
Retrograde ejaculation means ejaculating
backwards. Your semen and sperm go back into your bladder instead of
coming out of your penis. This will of course mean that you are
infertile. And your orgasms will feel different because they will be
How should I
protect my partner?
You may be afraid that you can pass on cancer cells to your partner
during sex. This is not true. Cancer is not infectious. But you should
use a condom if you are having chemotherapy, and for three months
afterwards. Doctors don't know enough about how much of the drugs come
through in the semen. So wearing a condom makes sure that your partner
is as safe as possible.
It is sensible to use a condom or take precautions
to prevent pregnancy for a while after radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
This is because there may be a chance that your sperm have been
affected by the treatment and this could cause abnormal development of
a baby you father during this time.
There is no increased risk of you fathering an
abnormal baby in the future after testicular cancer treatment has
You may find it difficult to talk about any difficulties you are having
related to sex, both with your doctor and with your partner. After all,
your sex life is very personal. But if you can manage to take a deep
breath and talk to your doctor or nurse, you may find they have a
specialist counselor at the hospital or they may have a sex therapist
you can be referred to.
- your doctor is likely to have treated many other men with similar
problems. Try not to feel embarrassed.