Effects of hormonal therapy on men

Hormonal therapy and sexuality

Some cancers are influenced by hormones naturally produced within the body, so sometimes treatment is given to change the hormone levels. The hormones most commonly affected by cancer or its treatments are the sex hormones:

  • Testosterone.
  • Oestrogen.

Some hormonal therapy drugs are given as tablets, and some are given as injections.

Effects of hormonal therapy

If you have prostate cancer, you may have treatment to lower your testosterone level. This may be done by giving you tablets or injections, or by removing your testicles. We have more information about prostate cancer, which has details about this.

Hormonal therapies may reduce your sex drive, and if and when you do feel like sex, you may not be able to get or keep an erection. You may also notice you produce less semen, need to shave less often and have less muscle strength. These effects usually disappear over 12–18 months after your treatment finishes.

If you are having hormonal therapy, you may develop breast swelling and tenderness. However, hormonal therapy will not make you feminine, as some men fear.

Back to Effects of treatment on a man's sexuality

The male body and sex

If changes to your body are affecting your sex life, it may help to remember the sexual areas of a man’s body.

Effects of surgery on men

Surgery involving your sex organs can affect your sex life or fertility. But you may also notice changes after surgery to any part of the body.