For almost two decades(18 years to be exact), Viagra has been the “go to” medication for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. There are other medications similar to Viagra like Cialis and Levitra, but it’s Viagra that dominates the ED market. However, for the last 18 years since it was first approved in 1998 by FDA as an erectile dysfunction drug, now comes the new alternative that uses sound waves known as “extracorporeal shock wave therapy”, or ESWT. The technology is not actually new and has been used on many ED patients by some doctors already.
However, it became popular as a potential alternative to ED drugs since one study published last year at the Scandinavian Journal of Urology.
What Is A Shockwave Therapy?
ESWT is also known as Low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy (LI-ESWT). According to an article published at PubMed, it is a revolutionary method of treating erectile dysfunction, and probably holds certain remarkable attributes in terms of erectile tissue rehabilitation. The shockwave therapy utilizes energy from acoustic waves to activate a process known as neovascularization in certain body parts, and in this case, the penis. When neovascularization happens, new blood vessels are formed resulting to an improved blood flow in the penis.
Originally, ESWT has been used on individuals with kidney stones, patients with heart problems, joint inflammation, and fractures. Last year, a team of researchers looked at its effect in a small pilot study of 112 men who suffer from erectile dysfunction and can’t perform sex with their partner without taking ED medications. The researchers divided the 112 men into two groups in which half of them were given a placebo initially for a few weeks before they were put into the actual shockwave therapy.
At the end of the study, 57% of the men treated with shockwave said they were able to perform sexually after the treatment compared to 9% of the men who were given the placebo. According to Ilan Gruenwald of Rambam Medical Center(Haifa, Israel), ESWT seems to stimulate the increase of blood flow to the penis by stimulating the growth of new blood vessels.
When it comes to achieving and sustaining erections, blood flow to the penis is critical. During sexual stimulation, the arteries are relaxed and widened allowing the penis to be engorged with blood making it harder suitable enough for sexual penetration. When man has problems with blood flow to the penis, erections become weaker and softer and is not hard enough for penetration.
While there are several ED treatments and remedies like pills, vacuum penis pumps like Penomet, and penile injections, shockwave therapy can be another viable option to those who don’t want to take pills, use a penis pump, or undergo an injection. In fact, this new therapy could be a good complement to an existing solution. For instance, it can be done along with using a penis pump, which as been proven to aid erections in men with an erectile issue.
Another situation where this new therapy can be useful is when a patient does not respond to traditional ED medications. When this happens, doctors have options to use this therapy. Hopefully, as the researchers hoped for, more studies could be done on this therapy in the future to establish its effectiveness, as well as safety. For now, there are approved ED medications, and devices like pumps, and less invasive procedure like penile injection. However, the best thing every man can do is prevention.
There’s no more better than prevention. For instance, if you’re taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, talk to your doctor if it does not hamper erectile function. Otherwise, ask for an alternative or other options if you’re concern about maintaining sexual function. There are also various natural ways to prevent ED, and probably knowing how and why ED occurs is probably as helpful as looking for solution to gain back quality erections.
One study found that eating foods with high flavonoid contents is helpful for minimizing the risk of erectile dysfunction. Therefore, make it a part of your healthy diet and over healthy lifestyle to eat these foods. Of course, regular exercise or physical activities are also helpful in keeping you fit and healthy. If you’re fit and healthy, you’re likely to be sexually fit, as well.