These days, the most common treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) are the drugs that improve penile blood flow or vascular function, that is, PDE5 inhibitors. These medications work in almost 80% of cases, providing a hard erection. However, this does not treat the root cause and some patients do develop adverse effects from these medications.
What is ESWT?
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive therapy that has been used for the treatment of kidney stones and musculoskeletal disorders for a long time now. However, recently it has been approved for the treatment of erectily dysfunction that is caused by abnormalities of the blood vessels and connective tissue changes in the penis.
It is an entirely safe therapy as it uses high-energy sound waves that penetrate deep inside the tissues. To apply ESWT, doctors use apparatus that looks quite like an ultrasound machine and, to a certain extent, works like it. ESWT apparatus also has a probe, quite like an ultrasound machine. However, this probe sends sound waves of very different frequency (0-20 MHz) and also carry higher energy.
The shockwaves promote the formation of new blood vessels (neovascularization) in the tissues plus also stimulates various regenerative processes, promotes local protein synthesis, and enhances tissue remodelling. Thus, it can help renew local tissues and boost their metabolism.
Role of ESWT in ED
As already stated, It increases the formation of new blood vessels, increases the elasticity of existing blood vessels, and may even reduce connective tissue formation. This may often result in complete penile rejuvenation.
There are many publish research papers on the effectiveness of ESWT in the treatement of erectile dysfuncion. It has been shown to be most effective in men below the age of 45years old and is suffering from mild to moderate ED. It has also showed to be effective in men who do not respond to ED drugs. A typical course of treatment would require 6-12 sessions of the treatment over a period of a few weeks to experience clinical improvement. However, once the changes in the penile tissues have occurred and erectile dysfunction has improved, the effect may last for several months to years
Once the optimal effect has been achieved, one may still need some supportive treatment, that is, ESWT treatment, from time to time to maintain the effect.
The good thing about such treatment is its high level of safety. It does not produce any kind of radiation and purely uses soundwaves to induce tissue remodelling and new blood vessel formation.
Moreover, it has some other benefits over commonly used drugs, like once the person has gained confidence, one does not need to take pills before having sex. It means that person is almost always ready to perform.
Other benefits of ESWT
ESWT is not just for the treatment of ED, as older adults who are at a higher risk of ED or experiencing mild ED may also opt for ESWT as a form of penile rejuvenation to maintain, improve and strengthen erections. Additionally, ESWT is one of the effective treatments for bend penis or Peyronie’s disease. It helps mobilize the connective tissues, promotes tissue remodelling, and helps correct penile shape without surgical intervention. Besides that, it can also be used for the treatment of Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome in men and various musculoskeletal disorders.
Are there any side effects of ESWT?
Well, not really, as it only uses high-energy sound waves. Nevertheless, some may experience discomfort after the treatment session in the penile area. However, such discomfort is self-limiting and will disappear after a few days. In some cases, doctors may prescribe commonly used pain killers to reduce the sensation of discomfort.