Does Shockwave Therapy for ED Work? And How Long Does It Last?

Erectile dysfunction studies assess the success of shockwave treatment

Shockwave treatment has become a rising star in the battle against erectile dysfunction—but how well does it work, and for how long?

A range of studies back up the fact that yes, low-intensity shockwave therapy (LI-ESWT) works well on ED. And because it addresses the root cause of the condition in many individuals rather than just the symptoms, it may be a superior intervention than common methods.

A brief definition of ED

Erectile dysfunction is identified as the inability to maintain or achieve an erection over a period of more than six months. Despite misconceptions, ED can affect men of all ages, and is not simply a natural part of the aging process.

The causes of erectile dysfunction can be a direct issue (poor circulation in or to the penis) or be a symptom of a broader, more serious condition, such as heart disease or diabetes. Obviously, the best treatment strategy depends on the nature of the problem; therefore, the first step towards improvement should always be consulting a physician.

A review of multiple studies

Does Shockwave Therapy for ED Work? And How Long Does It Last - The 6 and 12 studyA research review published by European Urology, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal, examined 14 studies that used LI-ESWT to treat ED in 833 men over a 10-year period. The authors found that “[m]ost of these studies presented encouraging results, regardless of variation in LI-ESWT setup parameters or treatment protocols.”

The data backing up their assertion includes findings that recipients of shockwave treatment reap benefits for “at least 3 months” after the procedure. A separate study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 91% patients who benefited from the therapy maintained improvement after 12 months. And separate clinical observations by physicians have shown improvements that can last two years or more.

The 6 and 12 study

The March 2018 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine featured a study evaluating recipients receiving 6 and 12 shockwave treatments during a 6-week period. The study then revisited patients six months later to measure the effect of an additional treatment session.

The study involved two groups: Group A was treated once a week and group B twice each week. Both groups enjoyed relief from their ED. Not surprisingly, the results indicated more improvement in group B, and found that revisiting treatment after 6 months “could further improve erectile function without side effects.”

The authors of the study concluded that the additional treatments created better results and that the treatment could be repeated up to as many as 18 sessions.

The Taiwan Study

Research conducted at Kaohsiung Medical University-affiliated hospitals in Taiwan focused on patients who failed to respond to Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5is), which are a popular pharmaceutical treatment for ED. The objective of the study was to determine if shockwave therapy combined with PDE5is would be an effective treatment.

Subjects of the study were administered shockwave treatments once a week for 12 weeks, while continuing their recommended PDE5is use. Thirty-five out of the 52 patients involved were able to “achieve an erection hard enough for intercourse.” After 12 weeks, 94.3% of those success stories were still able to maintain an erection, and—perhaps most impressively—there was not one report of negative side effects.

Where to find the best LI-ESWT provider

 the best LI-ESWT provider While shockwave therapy isn’t new, and it’s been used for years to help break up kidney stones, its application for ED in the United States is. Because of this, not all US doctors are trained in using LI-ESWT to treat ED.

In the United States, only one network of providers operates using a standardized protocol. The GAINSWave® therapy protocol is based on the results of more than 40 clinical studies, with a greater than 75% success rate at treating ED.

If you’re considering shockwave treatment, we encourage you to connect with a GAINSWave physician to discuss your options. Visit us here to find a provider near you.