Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction: What You Need to Know about the Treatment
If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED) and you’ve tried supplements or the blue pill without success, you might be looking for something more drastic. Many men in this position are turning to shockwave therapy as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.
It sounds extreme, but there is evidence these treatments might be effective as each shock wave increases the blood flow in patients which, in turn, enables erection of the penis. Of course, like all ED treatments, it’s important to do research before trying a treatment and to know that you are working with quality practitioners or products. The last thing you want is to make your problem worse by causing damage to your body and your sexual health.
The good news is there are plenty of men in your position—at least half of men between 40 and 70 have experienced erectile dysfunction at one time or another and some medical professionals believe all men will eventually experience an issue with it– so there is plenty of information and accounts of first-hand experience out there.
What Is Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction?
Shockwave therapy, which is short for low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy or LI-ESWT uses non-invasive, low-intensity sound waves to restore erectile function. Proponents of the treatment claim it clears plaque of blood vessels and promotes fresh vessel growth so your penis will get all the blood it needs to become engorged and have an erection. Some shockwave practitioners promise the procedure is a cure for all erectile dysfunction and targets the root of the problem, not just the symptom of ED.
The good news is there is some evidence shockwave therapy can be effective. The bad news is we don’t yet know all the consequences of undergoing the procedure.
The FDA has not yet approved shockwave therapy for treating erectile dysfunction and those familiar with the treatment warn that more research is needed to understand how it works and whether it’s 100 percent safe. To be clear, those calling for more research aren’t saying shockwave therapy doesn’t work—the exact opposite actually. They believe it can be effective but they want to know the risks and help people understand what they are doing before undergoing the therapy.
They also warn shockwave therapy is not a quick-fix. Like most truly effective erectile dysfunction treatments, it’s a commitment and you’ll see gradual improvement over time.
Studies are Underway
There’s more good news concerning shockwave therapy for treating ED. Health professionals and researchers are taking the treatment seriously and putting the time, money, and effort into conducting more research.
There is currently a study being conducted at the University of Miami to determine how effective the treatment is and whether there are any significant risks involved.
The study is called “Safety and Efficacy of Low-Intensity Shockwave for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction,” and researchers are comparing the treatment to the safety of other non-surgical options, such as Viagra, Cialis, and P-shots.
Health professionals are hopeful because they note that shockwave therapy can treat a root problem, as opposed to just improving sexual function without addressing the problem. Essentially, the drugs and other methods override what the body is doing and force it to have the response that is wanted. Shockwave therapy might actually cure the problem causing erectile dysfunction instead of covering it up.
Study participants are currently undergoing treatment for 10 minutes each day Monday through Friday and then receiving follow-up treatments at the one-, three-, and six-month period, or they are undergoing treatment three days a week for two weeks.
Participants in the study receive shockwave therapy free of charge provided they pass the screening process. Study participants are between the ages of 30 and 80, have dealt with ED for at least six months but no more than five years and are in a stable sexual relationship for at least three months.
Shockwave therapy has been approved for treating kidney stones but the process for using it as a treatment for erectile dysfunction is very different. For starters, the energy is applied to a radial area, as opposed to targeting a specific spot, as is the case with treating kidney stones. The energy is more spread out and it is given in much lower doses (about 10 percent) of what is given for treating kidney stones, as this increases the blood flow and increases the chances of the penis getting an erection.
Proponents of the treatment point out that the equipment used is safe and maintained according to FDA standards. Keep in mind, the machines are approved, but the use of them for treating ED is what has not yet been approved.
Not only could shockwave therapy cure problems with ED, there is also some evidence that the procedure might improve the effects of Viagra for those who do not respond as usual to the drug. So, in a situation where a man might have tried Viagra and had no results and is considering surgery, the addition of shockwave therapy might prove to be an effective treatment and make surgery unnecessary.
Like most medical treatment options, everyone is different and will respond differently to various therapies. It’s important to gradually work your way up to more invasive treatments and hopes that something helps you along the way. Shockwave therapy is making this optimism possible for millions of men who haven’t quite achieved their desired result.
Where to Go from Here with Shockwave Therapy
Doctors involved in the study are confident the results will show that shockwave therapy is extremely effective for treating ED, and they are eager to learn from the study what the best way of using the treatment will be. For instance, what is the ideal regimen? How often and for how long should men undergo shockwave therapy when treating ED?
Proponents of the treatment also advise men to be careful where they receive treatment from. There are currently non-doctors saying they are providing treatment, but the machine they are using is different. Because erectile dysfunction is such a sensitive subject, health professionals are worried men will agree to treatment and avoid asking questions or doing appropriate research. It can be a vulnerable position and, unfortunately, there are some out there that will take advantage of the sensitive nature of the problem.