Couples therapy improves sexual outcomes after radical prostatectomy
Couples therapy appears to effectively improve adherence to erectile dysfunction medication after prostate cancer treatment, a new study has found.
Researchers randomly assigned 189 heterosexual couples to receive peer support, nurse counselling or usual care. In each of the couples, the men had undergone radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. Primary study outcomes included sexual adjustment, masculine self-esteem and utilization of erectile aids.
Couples had been in their relationship for a mean of 32.5±11.8 years. At baseline, the mean length of time since prostate cancer diagnosis was 127.6 days. Self-reported sexual function and satisfaction postsurgery were comparable between groups. However, at the 5-year timepoint, men in the usual care group showed greater sexual self-confidence than those in the peer support group (p=0.043).
In contrast, women in the peer support and nurse counselling groups reported significantly greater function and satisfaction at 2 (p=0.002 and p=0.023, respectively) and 3 (p=0.003 and p=0.035, respectively) years after surgery.
There were also between-group differences in the utilization of erectile aids. Patients who received the nurse-conducted counselling used tablets more often than those in the usual care group at 2 (p=0.001), 3 (p=0.042), 4 (p=0.001) and 5 (p=0.032) years after surgery. Men in the peer group also used more tablets for ED than the usual care group at year 4 (p=0.005).
The psychosexual intervention also had significant benefits for masculine self-esteem, which was significantly improved at 2 (p=0.052) and 5 (p=0.045) years after surgery in the nurse counselling group.