Anyone with mild to severe ED can likely benefit from ESWT therapy when low-intensity shock waves are directed to the penis.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a therapy in which short pulses of focussed shock waves with very low intensity are directed at the penis to improve erectile function. It consists of several sessions, and it can be repeated if necessary.
ESWT is being researched as a new treatment option for ED. It is not a standard treatment option. Specific ESWT devices are necessary to treat ED. Discuss with a doctor if ESWT is the right treatment for you and if it is available in your hospital.
Studies have shown that low-energy shock wave therapy can improve the response to oral medicines for erectile dysfunction. It may also provide some return of spontaneous erections by increasing blood flow to the penis.
Shockwave therapy is also used to treat kidney stones and conditions like arthritis. In these cases, the intensity of the shockwaves is higher.
When should I consider ESWT?
If you have mild ED and you cannot or do not want to take PDE5; a doctor may recommend ESWT. Keep in mind that ESWT is currently no standard option for the treatment of ED.
How does it work?
High-frequency sound waves are applied to the penis to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and possibly break down plaque build-up in existing vessels. Low blood flow is the root cause of ED, and increasing blood flow using shockwave therapy may produce better erections and sexual performance.
ESWT causes minor damage to the penile tissue. During the healing process, new blood vessels are formed, which increase the blood flow to the penis. This may result in an improved ability to get and maintain an erection.
Candidates for ESWT Therapy
This procedure works best for men with mild erectile dysfunction who are:
- not responding to medications adequately,
- not interested in taking medications, or
- interested in trying regenerative therapy to reverse some of the causes of ED.
The procedure has not been well-studied in men with severe ED or other health conditions, such as diabetes, prostate cancer, or heart disease.
Who can benefit from ESWT therapy?
Anyone with mild to severe ED can likely benefit from shockwave therapy. This includes the nearly 50% of men that struggle with getting or maintaining an erection.
It may be a good option for men who…
- desire a treatment to reverse the underlying cause of ED;
- are looking for a better response to the oral medicines used to treat ED;
- want a non-invasive treatment for their ED before moving on to other options.
The typical treatment course is 6 treatments over 6 weeks, and 50-80% of patients will report an improvement in their erections 30 days after they have completed the full treatment cycle.
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