Prostate treatment may affect sex drive

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

February 03, 2002|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN; King Features Syndicate

Q. You recently answered a woman who complained that her husband had lost all interest in sex. You suggested that low libido could be caused by many factors and recommended sex counseling.

Your response might have been well-intentioned, but it was incomplete. I, too, was a middle-aged woman with a husband whose libido had diminished to near zero. He promised to see a doctor for a general checkup but put it off for five years.

When he finally went in for a different problem, his doctor found a high PSA reading. Within weeks this was diagnosed as inoperable prostate cancer. He was immediately given shots (testosterone blockers) that completely destroy sexual desire.

He is lucky to have survived five years and is doing well with additional medications and natural treatments. Our lives are irrevocably changed, however, and sexual activity in our marriage is only a memory.

Tell your readers that men need regular checkups to rule out prostate cancer.

A. Prostate cancer is not a common cause of low libido, but your story shows why men should have regular screening, just as women have Pap smears to detect cervical cancer. Timely detection of prostate cancer might allow for treatment that does not have a negative impact on sexuality.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at their Web site (www.peoplespharmacy.com) on the HealthCentral.com network, or at pharmacy@mindspring.com.

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