Impact on sex life

The physical changes to your body after the operation will mean changes to your sex life. You’ll need to make both physical and emotional adjustments. Your surgeon and specialist nurse will talk you through the changes you may experience.

It’s not usually possible to have an erection after the operation. This is because nerves that supply the penis are removed during surgery. If it’s possible to preserve some of these nerves during the operation, you may be able to have treatments to help gain an erection. Your surgeon can advise you about this and refer you for treatment if it may help.

Adjusting to changes in how your body looks and responds takes time. Many people need to talk through their feelings and emotions. Some feel nervous about how their partner will react to their body. There is no right or wrong time, or way, to talk about these issues. You can wait until you and your partner feel ready. You may want to consider seeing a counsellor. Your GP or specialist nurse or doctor can refer you. There are also a number of organisations that can give you information, advice and support about relationships and sexual intimacy.

We have more information about cancer and sexuality.

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Having pelvic exenteration

Pelvic exenteration takes about eight hours. After the operation, you will have new ways for urine and bowel motions to leave your body.