Men may have heard about shockwave therapy being used for health issues like kidney stones. But does wave technology work for erectile dysfunction too? Many different studies have shown the effectiveness and safety of using low-intensity shockwave therapy (or LiSWT) to treat erectile dysfunction (or ED).
Unlike oral medications that are just used to treat the symptoms of ED, shock wave therapy attempts to improve the root cause of ED. Wave therapy makes use of high-frequency shockwaves to improve blood flow in the penis by encouraging the growth of new blood vessels, opening the current vessels more fully, and breaking down micro-plaque.
One of the biggest benefits of using shockwave therapy for ED is that it has no side effects. A patient can undergo a treatment session in the morning and return to a normal day of activities and work immediately afterward.
Wave treatments are non-invasive, and they can be performed in less than half an hour at a doctor’s office.
Some patients will experience a tingling sensation in the penis during the treatment, but there is no pain.
Risks of Other ED Therapies
Other erectile dysfunction therapies are also available, and many of them will work well for the majority of patients. However, there are some risks associated with these other treatment options, according to Mayo Clinic.
Oral medications will work for many ED sufferers. However, they don’t work for some people. In some cases, the side effects are difficult to deal with, including an erection that will not subside for hours, headaches, and lightheadedness.
Injections and surgeries also may be recommended for cases of erectile dysfunction. Injections can be painful and may cause bleeding. Surgeries to add an implant to the penis will work for some people, but patients may be at risk of infection or other complications after surgery.
Who Can Benefit From Wave Therapy For ED
The majority of doctors will often try oral medication as the first erectile dysfunction treatment. However, not everyone can use these medications.
If a man already suffers from low blood pressure, the ED medication may make the problem worse. Additionally, some medications he’s already taking may interfere with the oral medication used for erectile dysfunction.
Effectiveness of Shockwave Therapy
Because some people don’t respond well to oral ED medications, wave therapy is a perfect alternative. For those with a mild case of erectile dysfunction or those who worry about side effects, wave therapy is a safe treatment.
How to Receive Wave Therapy For ED
A patient will visit a doctor’s office to receive the shockwave therapy. Medical personnel will apply the waves using a handheld device, and the entire process only takes 20-30 minutes.
The device emits sound waves that travel through the skin of the penis, affecting the tissues under the skin.
Sometimes, the process will take as little as a few sessions. However, for full treatment, as many as 12 sessions may be required.
Understanding Erectile Dysfunction
Men who suffer from ED symptoms are unable to get or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. The body is unable to generate enough blood flow in the penis to create the firmness required to allow penetration during sex.
Erectile dysfunction can result in a reduced desire to have sex, which can cause emotional problems for both the man and his sexual partner.
Causes of ED
The lack of blood flow in the penis that results in ED can occur for a number of different reasons, including:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels
- Diseases like Parkinson’s disease and diabetes
- Taking other medications
- Alcohol use
- Lack of sleep
- Emotional problems
Some of these conditions may cause temporary or occasional erectile dysfunction. A man may be able to alleviate the ED symptoms in a case like this by cutting back on his alcohol intake or reducing his levels of stress.
In other cases, though, ED symptoms may be frequent and regular. In this case, a man may need treatment from a wave therapy or another therapy. Men should visit their doctors to learn about all of their treatment options.
Discussing Erectile Dysfunction With a Doctor
Sometimes, men are embarrassed to discuss ED symptoms with their doctors. ED can be an uncomfortable topic. However, it’s important to discuss this situation with a doctor, as it could be a sign of another problem, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Additionally, erectile dysfunction is more common than one may think. University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health estimates that as many as 50% of men at age 50 have suffered from ED at some point. So sufferers do not have to feel isolated.