An orchiectomy is the surgical removal of the testicles in the treatment of prostate cancer. As a result, according to the American Cancer Society, the cancer will either stop growing or shrink for a period of time. Because the testicles are removed, your body drastically reduces the production of androgens---by more than 90 per cent--- which are produced in the testicles, and are made up mostly of testosterone. An orchiectomy is permanent, and there are many side effects that can occur to your body after the procedure.
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The most common side effects of an orchiectomy are sexual complications. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Cancer Centers of Pennsylvania, 90 per cent of men who undergo the procedure will have diminished libido, the lack of sexual desire. Men can also suffer from erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to achieve a sustained erection. Erectile dysfunction occurs in 90 per cent of men who undergo an orchiectomy.
Men can experience hot flushes, much as women do during menopause. You may feel a sudden warmth on the face, neck and upper torso. Profuse sweating can also accompany the warmth that you experience. Though hot flushes are uncomfortable, they can be managed with medications prescribed by your physician.
Depression may be a result of the orchiectomy, a reaction to other side effects or a result of the cancer itself. You may feel hopelessness and experience difficulty concentrating or maintaining your daily activities. You may lose your appetite and have difficulty sleeping. If the depression becomes severe, seek medical attention and consider joining a support group to surround yourself with others who are experiencing the same concerns.
Hormone therapy such as an orchiectomy can result in osteoporosis, the loss of bone minerals. As a result, your bones become brittle and can break easily. However, according to UPMC Cancer Centers of Pennsylvania, osteoporosis can be managed with vitamin D and calcium supplements. Exercising with weights can also help to strengthen your bones and increase bone density.
Other effects can include weight gain of up to 6.8 Kilogram, mood swings, and fatigue. According to the UPMC Cancer Centers of Pennsylvania, no matter how much you rest, you may feel perpetually tired. This is a result of the decreased testosterone in your body. Anemia can also occur, as well as a loss of muscle mass. However, you can increase your strength with weight-bearing exercises.
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