hernias and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction and hernias might seem like two unrelated issues, but the connection between them is more intricate than you might think. While hernias themselves don’t generally interfere with sexual function, when surgery is required, it may lead to temporary erectile dysfunction.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) points out that nearly 27% of men could have an inguinal hernia in their lifetime. Post-surgery, some men might face discomfort which could put a temporary dampener on their sex life.

Here, we’ll explore how hernias and their surgical treatments link to erectile dysfunction.

The link between hernias and sexual function in men

Hernias themselves don’t directly affect a man’s ability to have an erection as they don’t involve the sexual organs. However, if you have surgery to fix the hernia, your performance in the bedroom may take a hit for a little while. This is especially true if you are having surgery for inguinal hernias, which occur in the groin area and are more common in men.

An inguinal hernia is typically treated with surgery. If left alone, it won’t heal by itself and may cause more serious problems further down the line.

Erectile dysfunction and hernia repair surgery

A large review carried out in 2020 assessed studies involving nearly 5,000 men who had undergone hernia repair surgery. Around 9% said they experienced pain during sex after the procedure, and around 5% found it tough to finish the deed.

The good news is that the situation should improve with recovery time. Also, another study carried out in 2016 found that fixing a hernia can improve sexual function in the long run. That’s because a hernia in the groin can cause issues due to the pain and visible bulge. Getting it fixed helped participants in the study have a better time in bed, especially as they healed up well after the surgery.

Treating erectile dysfunction

If you do experience erectile dysfunction after hernia repair surgery, it’s usually only temporary. However, if the problem isn’t going away, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor or surgeon. They will be able to advise you on the best treatment depending upon what is causing it.

For instance, they might suggest making some lifestyle changes, or it could be that erectile dysfunction is a side effect of certain medications. There are also talking therapies and medications available for erectile dysfunction. In some cases, surgery can also be used to fix the problem.

If you need to undergo a hernia repair, but are worried about the impact it may have on your sexual health, book an appointment with Mr Michael Stellakis. Bear in mind that the more common risks you face by delaying hernia repair surgery, for example strangulation, can lead to more serious health issues.