PulseWave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction

August 21, 2021

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common for many men at all ages. It affects approximately 30 million men in the United States. Erectile dysfunction is two-fold: it includes difficulty achieving an erection and/or difficulty maintaining an erection. Often the cause is due to poor blood flow to the penis due to a build-up of plaque in the blood vessels over time. Nerve damage to the penis can also be a factor. These are likely sources in men who have cardiac disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and/or are older.

The popularity of one, non-traditional ED treatment is growing: Low-intensity shockwave treatment. Gone are the days of medication therapy as the only treatment option. Low-intensity shock wave treatment is gaining popularity because it’s a safe, non-invasive, drug-free treatment option for ED. It applies low-intensity shock wave therapy to different areas in and around the penis, helping break down plaque build-up in the blood vessels and improve blood flow. It’s non-invasive, requires no anesthesia, no downtime and causes minimal discomfort (it’s often described as a “tingling” sensation). It is performed in the office in short 20-minute sessions, and it typically it takes 5-10 sessions to see an improvement. The benefits can last up to two years. Studies have shown that upwards of 75% of men who were using medications for ED and underwent low-intensity shock wave therapy were able to stop taking meds; their sexual function had improved enough with the treatments.

Although shockwave therapy is on the rise, it is not an appropriate option for all men. In some cases, behavioral therapy, weight loss, good nutrition, stress reduction, supplements and traditional ED medications are better approaches. Also, not all men have ED due to plaque/scar tissue build-up or nerve damage.

Oftentimes, the traditional approach of treatment is the most effective, especially in younger men. ED rates have increased during the last twenty to thirty years specifically among younger men. According to a study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine, one out of every four erectile dysfunction patients is under 40 years old. Achieving an erection is a complex process involving psychological impulses from the brain, adequate levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, a functioning nervous system, and adequate and healthy vascular tissue in the penis. Oftentimes, underlying factors can be uncovered simply by lab tests, a thorough history and an exam. Obesity, sleep apnea, low testosterone, narcotic use, heavy drug and alcohol use, stress and poor diet can be reversed, allowing for ED to be a non-issue.

If you’re interested in learning more about treatment options for ED, contact Austin Urology Institute at 512.694.8888 to schedule an appointment.