It is estimated that 50% of men ages 40 to 70 experience some form of erectile dysfunction (ED) at one time or another. Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough through sex. Typically, ED risks increase with age. Side effects of ED include a negative impact on sex life, increase risk of stress and low self-esteem.
Sexual arousal for men is a process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. ED can result from one or several of these areas. Common causes of ED include:
Clogged Blood Vessels
High Blood Pressure
Certain Prescription Medications
As patients age, erections might take longer to develop and might not be as firm. It is important to note that an occasional loss of an erection is nothing to worry about. If loss of erections consistently occurs, you should see a doctor to discuss treatment options. Identifying the cause of ED can help your doctor decide on the best treatment option.
There are several management options available to men with ED, including pills, vacuum erection devices, and penile injections. Much like taking a Tylenol for a fever instead of an antibiotic to treat the underlying infection, most of the treatment options share one common flaw: they don’t address the cause of the problem, they only address the symptoms. Low intensity shock wave therapy for erectile dysfunction is the only treatment option available for men with ED that can treat underlying problem. Pills, injections and vacuum devices don’t allow for spontaneous sexual activity, and many treatments can have bothersome side-effects.
Shockwave therapy uses energy from acoustic waves to trigger a process called neovascularization in certain parts of the body. When neovascularization occurs, new blood vessels form. This helps improve blood flow to the region.
This type of therapy has been used to help heart patients, people with kidney stones, and those with fractures and joint inflammation. Recently, scientists have investigated low-intensity shockwave therapy to help men with erectile dysfunction (ED).
Blood flow is critical to a man’s erections. When a man is sexually stimulated, arteries widen so that his penis can fill with blood. The blood is what gives the penis the firmness needed for vaginal penetration. A man who has problems with blood flow to the penis may have weaker erections or may be unable to have erections at all.
Men who have struggled with erectile dysfunction and have not seen success from other treatments such as Viagra® or Cialis®, should consider shock wave therapy. Shock wave therapy can be especially effective for diabetic men with arteriogenic impotence, which is the formation of fatty acids in arteries. These fatty acids can impact blood flow to the penis, and shock wave therapy can help reduce or eliminate this condition. Patients with a lack of penile arteries can also see improvements from shock wave therapy due to the promotion of new blood vessel growth.
Research has shown that men with penile implants and anticoagulant therapy are not good candidates for shock wave therapy. It is important to discuss medical history with your doctor before proceeding with shock wave therapy for ED.
To administer shockwave therapy, a clinician applies a probe to the penis, which is coated in a special gel. Different areas of the penis are usually targeted. Treatment sessions may last for fifteen to twenty minutes. Men usually don’t need anesthesia or experience pain, although they might have a tingling sensation in the treated area.
Clinical trials of shockwave therapy for ED have had encouraging results. The process has been well tolerated by patients. Many men have found that their erections have improved and they are able to have intercourse. Men with more severe ED may still need to take ED medication in addition to having shockwave therapy.
Your East Valley Urology team will be happy to discuss multiple options for management of ED. Low intensity shockwave therapy is a drug-free treatment that does not require medications, has no downtime and requires no surgery. It also has no known major side effects..
Not at all! The energy used is very low intensity. You might feel some slight vibrations or tingling during the treatment but there is no pain whatsoever. There is no down time!How many treatments will I need?
Most men typically need six therapy sessions. We typically recommend 1 treatment per week over six weeks. However, individual results can vary and some men may need additional treatments for optimal results.
Men with severe erectile dysfunction, penile implants or men with anticoagulant therapy are typically not good candidates for the procedure.
A number of studies have shown the effectiveness of shock wave therapy for stronger erections and improvement to sensitivity. In a 2017 study published in Urology evaluated data from 9 different studies that included a total of 637 patients. They reported that shock wave therapy significantly improved International Index of Erectile Function and the Erection Hardness Score.
At this time, shock wave therapy for strong erections is not covered by insurance. It is important to contact your insurance provider for further questions.
Strong research is limited on other conditions. However, some early research has shown that men with induratio penis plastica (otherwise known as Peyronie’s disease–especially the acute phase), chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS) and chronic prostatitis can see some benefit with this treatment.