Shockwave therapy for ED: Does it really work?
Shockwave therapy, also known as low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy (LI-ESWT) is a novel second-line pill free treatment for Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
Though the treatment is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), several studies have supported it as if an effective treatment for ED.
But, things always have two aspects and so has shockwave therapy for ED. Commonly, the treatment can be a decent option to treat vasculogenic ED; but can this treatment be effective with other factors contributing to ED is still a question.
Well, do you wonder if this treatment is for you?
Here is a brief on what shockwave therapy is, what researchers say about it, its risks and side effects, and how you could get this treatment indeed.
What is Shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical and pill-free novel therapy developed to treat erectile dysfunction in men. Also called LI-ESWT, the treatment aims to restore male’s erectile mechanism to make it possible to have healthy natural erections.
On the other hand, there are Ed medicines or drugs that have a palliative approach: as they only help improve the erectile condition for a specific period of time instead of curing the condition.
Generally, shockwave therapy has been used in orthopedics for years to treat several inflammatory health conditions such as non-union fractures, tendonitis, and bursitis. Also, it is been an effective treatment to heal wounds, and being used on high-intensity, the treatment has been shown to speed up tissue repair and cell growth.
Since erectile health relies on healthy blood flow to penile tissues/corpus cavernosa, shockwave therapy for ED has been reported to dilate the penile arteries and repair the damaged arteries to solve the condition in an effective way.
How does Shock Therapy work for ED?
The angiogenic properties in shockwave therapy (LI-ESWT) help in the management of chronic wounds, cardiac neovascularization, and peripheral neuropathy.
As a result, by improving blood circulation and repairing the damaged penile arteries and tissues, shock wave therapy can help men with vasculogenic ED.
Well, to be more specific and clear, men tend to experience erection problems due to aging or some causes that are vascular.
It is because the underlying cause may damage the penile arteries or the penile arteries can develop plaque throughout aging. Since the penile arteries become contracted, adequate blood, to develop a healthy erection cannot flow to penile tissues/corpus cavernosa.
But, shock wave therapy for ED was introduced with a concept to not just suppress the erectile condition and restore healthy erectile function for a specific period of time, but shock wave treatment could repair damaged penile arteries to resolve the erection issue.
Moreover, talking about first-line ED treatments which also include oral prescription medications: Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis(tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and the second generation Stendra (avanafil).
These medicines are good to dilate penile arteries for a specific span of time which is usually around 4-6 hours and drive healthy erections: as they regulate blood flow to penile tissues.
Though, the treatment approach is almost similar; shockwave therapy is a more effective option in terms of the lasting period– and recommended as an alternative treatment to the first-lines.
What does the research say about shock wave therapy for ED?
Since one of the causes of erectile dysfunction is poor blood flow to corpus cavernosa (penile tissues)affecting the amount of blood in tissues; required to develop a firm erection,
shock wave therapy was studied by the NCBI institute on a group of males with ED to see its significant effects on one’s erectile health.
A group of 20 men aged 56.1 ± 10.7 years with mild to moderate vasculogenic ED was studied to evaluate the efficiency and safety of shockwave therapy on their erectile function.
These men had developed due to cardiovascular disease and these patients have had ED for around 3 years on average. Indeed, all the patients were able to get and keep an erection with oral prescription ED medications (PDE-5 inhibitors).
Shockwave therapy sessions were given with low-intensity shock waves and following the procedure and results: after one month, the results were significantly positive.
Also, to test the treatment in men with a higher degree of severe ED, higher-intensity shock waves were given, and surprisingly, men who did not find PDE-5 inhibitors also had significant improvements in their erection.
Conclusively, shock wave therapy was found effective in treating vasculogenic ED in men. Though there are other causes of ED such as spinal cord or nerve injuries and low sexual libido which require different medical approaches: shockwave therapy for ED is commonly a decent treatment.
Does it have risks and side effects?
As said, since the treatment is newly introduced for erectile dysfunction, it is possible that it may have some unknown risks and side effects that are not reported in the number of studies done in regard.
Since the treatment is new and no tendencies of risks and side effects are reported, it can be considered an effective treatment. But, consulting with your doctor before getting the treatment can help clarify any doubt you may have.
Getting the treatment
Encountering erectile dysfunction episodes occasionally is common and may be a reason for stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, hormonal changes, and other factors.
These factors can affect physical and/or emotional health making it difficult to get or keep an erection. But, if ED becomes frequent and begins to spoil your sexual relationship with your partner, considering treatment is recommended.
Initially, the best is to seek a doctor’s help in the diagnosis and start with any effective first-line treatment such as oral prescription medications, psychological therapies, and more. And, if the first-line options do not help out: considering shock wave therapy, penile injections, and implants, or stem cell therapy could be helpful.
But, if you are willing to skip the invasive first-line treatments and get shock wave therapy for ED, consult with your doctor before making any decision. Also, get to know the pros and cons of the treatment rather than blindly run after just getting treated.
Well, however, in most cases, first-line treatments are likely to give you the expected results. Here are some common first-line treatments that work:
Prescription oral medications: As mentioned earlier, the FDA has approved a number of prescription medications that belong to a group of medicines called PDE-5 inhibitors: used for increasing blood flow by causing arterial dilation. These prescription medicines include Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra. These medicines work for ED by dilating the contracted penile arteries and getting adequate blood flow to penile tissues/corpus cavernosa for healthy erections.
Lifestyle habits change: Our lifestyle has a huge impact on our overall health. A healthy lifestyle ensures prevention and safety against chronic health disorders and so for erectile dysfunction too.
Since the condition is concerned about inadequate blood flow to the corpus, working on cardiovascular health will bring the difference.
Some common healthy lifestyle habits include regular exercising, yoga, meditation, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.
Natural supplements: There are a number of natural supplements that are found to improve blood circulation as well as a psychological condition: resulting in better erections upon stimulation.
Some common ED natural supplements include DHEA, Rhodiola Rosea, Panax ginseng, Yohimbe, and more.
Yes, Shockwave therapy could be an effective solution to erectile dysfunction and a solution to those who expect a non-surgical pill-free treatment for ED.
Talking about shockwave therapy for ED, it has no reported tendencies of developing any side effects and is found to have significant positive results on erection in studies.
We talked about what shock wave therapy is, how it works, its risks and side effects as well as who should try this and who should not.