Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy As an Effective Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Research on a therapy intended to strengthen blood vessels in the penis and boost blood flow.
Occasional episodes of erectile dysfunction (ED) are standard. Stress, insomnia, increased alcohol use, or temporary hormonal changes, among other causes, can make it hard to maintain an erection.
However, if erectile dysfunction starts becoming more frequent and affects your sex life, it’s high time to lay down your options on the table.
Although there are medications that your doctor can prescribe you, novel ways have surfaced to counter the effects of erectile dysfunction, which won’t require popping pills all the time.
One of the medical therapies that have currently been gaining traction is called Low-intensity Shockwave Therapy or GAINSwave.
But how effective is this therapy in treating erectile dysfunction?
And are all men eligible to undergo such treatment?
Read on to find out more!
What Is Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy?
It’s a non-invasive therapy used by orthopedics to help heal broken bones, injured ligaments, and tendons.
It has also been used to improve wound healing. Using targeted high-energy sound waves, shockwave therapy can accelerate tissue repair and cell growth.
For erections to happen, healthy blood flow to the penile tissue is required. Shockwave therapy is considered to repair and strengthen blood vessels in the penis and boost blood flow.
How Does It Work?
Shockwave therapy is given to patients with a wand-like device placed near different areas of the penis.
A healthcare professional slowly moves the device along the parts of your penis for around 15 minutes while it gives off gentle pulses, where no anesthesia is needed.
The pulses trigger better blood flow and tissue reshaping in the penis. These changes can lead to erections that will be enough for sex.
What Does the Research Say?
Although there’s still no industry consensus on the required period or frequency of treatment, medical professionals have conducted studies to understand the needed dosage.
For instance, a meta-analysis in 2019*reported that the most common treatment plan was twice weekly for 3 weeks, then followed by 3 weeks without treatments, and later followed by another 3-weeks of twice-weekly treatments.
The analysis also found out that the effects of shockwave therapy lasted about a year.
Another study published in 2010** reported that among 20 men with vasculogenic ED, all experienced improved erectile function after 6 months of shockwave treatment. Follow-up with the men found no adverse effects.
*Sokolakis, I., Hatzichristodoulou, G. Clinical studies on low intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Int J Impot Res 31, 177–194 (2019)
**Platinum Priority – Sexual Medicine
Editorial by Konstantinos Hatzimouratidis on pp. 249–250 of this issue: Can Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy Improve Erectile Function? A 6-Month Follow-up Pilot Study in Patients with Organic Erectile Dysfunction
Who Should Get Shockwave Treatment?
Generally, men with mild to moderate vasculogenic erectile dysfunction who have had some response to PDE5 inhibitors are ideal candidates for Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy (LISWT).
Others, such as those with nerve damage because of pelvic cancer surgery or those with ED resulting from psychological causes, are typically not considered eligible candidates by doctors.
Although LISWT has a long track record of study and research, its use for treating ED in the U.S. is still new.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it specifically for ED Guidelines from the American Urological Association note that LISWT shouldn’t be offered outside of a clinical trial. Though research points to effective results as previously mentioned.
Get a Customized Treatment Plan for Your E.D.
For the right patient who’s counseled the right way, shockwave therapy is a low-to-zero risk treatment that may have surprisingly good effects. If you are searching for an ed treatment in Seattle, some professional doctors carefully create treatment plans considering the many risk factors. So it’s definitely worth considering and studying!