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Thinking about using shock wave therapy
for erectile dysfunction?
This guest post by David Jaynes has all the details…
Shock wave therapy sounds a little bit like something from a 1950s mental hospital.
Real One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest stuff.
But in reality, it’s a natural, non-invasive medical treatment for everything from kidney stones to tennis elbow.
And recently, it’s been used to treat erectile dysfunction by promoting blood flow and improving penile vascular health.
Here’s how it works.
Shock Wave Therapy Boosts Circulation To The Penis
The basic premise of shock wave therapy is fairly simple. You use an electromagnet to generate shock waves (which are similar to sound waves) and pulse them through the body part you want to target.
For example, to fix tennis elbow (the first condition that shock wave therapy was initally used to treat) you apply the shock waves to the elbow.
Makes sense right?
For erectile dysfunction, the thought is that shock wave therapy boosts circulation. It’s been used previously to help with other circulatory problems, so it stands to reason it would work here too.
And the more blood you have moving into your penis, the better an erection you’re going to get (as a rule).
Early results have been generally positive. For example, 14 studies published on the matter between 2004 and 2014 found, that on average, erectile function was twice as good as before the treatment.
Which is a pretty positive result.
Now before we go further, I want to point out a few caveats:
- A lot of those studies weren’t double blind, placebo controlled studies. So we might be seeing the active placebo effect more than anything else.
- The improvement is restricted to patients whose ED is a result of poor circulation – other causes of ED like psychological won’t be cured by shock wave therapy.
But for those who the treatment did work for, the results were… impressive.
Another (very small) study found that ESWT had an enormous improvement on ED. Pre-treatment, participants ranked their sexual function on a scale from 1 – 30, with the average score being 8.8. Lower than 10 means you have ED.
After two months and 12 treatment sessions, the average improvement was 10 points, which is a 113% increase.
Granted – it wasn’t a double blind placebo control study. But frankly, the results speak for themselves.
Shock Wave Therapy And Penile Vascular Disease
So we know that shock wave therapy is good for men who have ED as a result of blood flow or vascular problems.
But it’s more than just ‘getting the blood flowing’.
Shock wave therapy can actually help combat penile vascular disease by stimulating blood vessel growth and density and breaking up plaque that’s on the inside of your arteries – plaque that builds up over time and is a major contributor to the decrease in erectile functionality as a result of age.
One study on 22 patients suffering peripheral artery disease (PAD) used shock wave therapy to reopen arteries. PAD is when your arteries narrow due to plaque build-up. This study found that there was a 10% reduction in arterial plaque and thus wider arteries after shock wave therapy.
The same thing happens when you apply shock wave therapy to your penis.
However, while this is useful in that it makes it a lot easier for blood to reach your soft tissue and get trapped, thus giving you some decent wood, it does mean that it can only treat erection problems as a result of poor blood flow, like age-induced ED.
Other causes of ED, including psychological, prostate, and pelvic floor problems, are unlikely to be helped by shock wave treatment. Unless, of course, you’re especially prone to placebo effects. (More on other cures at the end).
Shock Wave Therapy For Erectile Dysfunction Studies
Like all new therapies and drugs, there’s some healthy scepticism around shock wave therapy. Most of that scepticism springs from:
- The fact that not very many studies have been done
- Most of the studies that have been done are small and exploratory
- Most of the studies have NOT been double blind, placebo controlled studies
So it’s worth taking a minute to see what the science does reasonably prove on the matter.
First, a meta-analysis published in the Korean Journal of Urology in 2014 found that there is indeed some early evidence that shock wave therapy can work – a conclusion they attribute to the plaque destroying and vascular-promoting results we mentioned above.
Here’s what they found:
- One study in 2010 looked at shock wave therapy in 20 men. 15 of them saw an improvement, with 7 seeing a fairly significant improvement. A month after treatment, 10 of the men said they had random erections and stopped taking PDE5 drugs (like Viagra).
- One study looked at diabetic rats, and confirmed that while ED was a problem for all of them, shock treatment slowed the decline into erectile dysfunctionality.
- Another study scooped up patients who had been given shock wave therapy before and did it again, and found that there was a significant improvement, suggesting that longer exposure to shock wave therapy would garner positive results.
The meta-analysis concluded that 60-70% of patients who were previously taking PED5i drugs who underwent shock therapy could then get it up without any outside help afterwards.
This meta-analysis isn’t alone though. There are other studies and reviews of the literature that reach the same conclusion.
For example, a study published in 2013 looked at different studies on animals, studies on shock therapy for cardiac disease, and studies on shock therapy for ED.
They found again that the therapy improved blood flow by removing plaque from arterial walls and by damaging blood vessels, which actually stimulated the body to repair them.
These studies have proven that shock wave therapy for erectile dysfunction is bit like going to the gym – the same way you have to damage your muscles to stimulate growth, you have to damage the blood vessels and arteries in your penis so they grow back healthier.
And that’s what shock wave therapy does.
Shock Wave Therapy For Erectile Dysfunction – Conclusion
It’s always good to get new cures and treatment plans ticking. That’s how science progresses and that’s how we can attack ED on several different levels. It’s also how we STOP the reliance on big pharma and Viagra for erections and START taking control of the situation without reliance on drugs.
So what’s the conclusion on shock therapy?
For men with erection problems as a result of cardiac or vascular stress or simply age, shock wave therapy might be the jolt you need to get your mojo back.
But what the science tells us currently is that it’s not for everyone.
Fortunately (as promised), there are other options if it doesn’t work for you or you’re just not quite ready to take the plunge.
Penile plaque build-up can also be reversed with vitamins, especially vitamin K2. It will help clean up your arteries and may improve your erectile function, without the same intensity that goes with shock wave therapy.
If you’re just beginning to experience ED, increasing your vitamin K2 intake might be a good place to start.