One of the most common problems brought about by treatment of prostate cancer is erectile dysfunction (ED). The degree of dysfunction varies from complete inability to experience any sort of erection to just a slight softening of the erection. The degree of the dysfunction will ultimately vary among different men.

Immediately after surgery almost all men will experience some ED, with many of us completely loosing all ability to have an erection. However, over a period of time, most of us do regain some ability to again experience an erection. After the healing period the degree of residual ED that is left will vary from individual to individual.

The experience is a little different with those of us who elect to use radiation. In these cases the ED will actually progress as time passes, as opposed to improving as is experienced by men who have surgery. Eventually, as with surgery, the amount of ED will stabilize with some individuals having a total inability to experience an erection while others haveing no significant ED problem.

When experiencing ED it is very tempting to go out on to the web and purchase a “miracle cure” for ED. DON’T, as the FDA just posted a bulletin warning that many of these products do contain prescription drugs and other potentially harmful undisclosed products.

The FDA has said that despite labeling that suggests these products are safe, the labeling is often inaccurate. The FDA is finding that increasingly the products sold on the internet actually contain undisclosed and potentially dangerous drugs.

Since 2004, FDA has identified several products sold online as so-called “dietary supplements” for treating erectile dysfunction and enhancing sexual performance. These products have contained potentially harmful, undeclared ingredients. Included among them are

* Actra-Rx
* Actra-Sx
* Libidus
* Nasutra
* Neophase
* Vigor-25
* Yilishen
* Zimaxx
* Liviro3
* Lycium Barbarum L.
* Adam Free
* Rhino V Max
* V.Max
* True Man
* Energy Max
* HS Joy of Love
* NaturalUp
* Blue Steel
* Erextra
* Super Shangai
* Strong Testis
* Shangai Ultra
* Shangai Ultra X
* Lady Shangai
* Shangai Regular, also marketed as Shangai Chaojimengnan

The complete alert can be read at: FDA Alert

The bottom line is that in many cases ED is treatable, but don’t take a short cut and purchase drugs or supplements on the Internet. See your urologist and talk about your problem. There is no shame; we all experience some degree of ED resulting from our primary treatment. There are safe and effective treatment options available to us so take advantage of them without further risking your health.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW