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For men whose erectile dysfunction (ED) is not helped by medication, have adverse effects from medication or prefer a non-pharmaceutical treatment focused shockwave therapy, also known as low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (LI-ESWT), is an exciting non-invasive treatment option to consider.

How does shockwave therapy work?

In LI-ESWT a focused beam of shockwaves that are directed at the penis. These shockwaves increase and repair blood flow in the penile tissue and promote the growth of new blood vessels. With better circulation, many men who have suffered from ED are now able to get erections spontaneously again, and are able to maintain harder erections for longer periods of time.

What does the literature say about LI-ESWT?

Health care professionals have known about the benefits of shockwave therapy for tissue regeneration and anti-inflammation for decades. Low intensity shockwave therapy is already approved for management of chronic wounds and for regeneration of nerves in the hands and feet.

Many clinical trials have studied the effect of LI-ESWT on ED. Men participating in the studies have shown an improvement in penile rigidity and erection duration compared with those who didn’t receive shockwave therapy. What’s even better is men who undergo one treatment course (usually 1 treatment per week for 6 weeks) of shockwave therapy continue to experience its benefits 6 months later (Vardi et al, 2010).

The European Association of Urology recommends low intensity shockwave therapy for individuals with poor response to ED medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Stendra.

Not all shockwave therapies are created equal!

What is commonly referred to as ‘shockwave therapy’ is in fact a range of therapies, some with stronger scientific support for their effectiveness. There are two kinds of shockwave therapy that claim to treat ED: radial and focused shockwave therapy.

Focused shockwaves are single, focused pulses that penetrate deep into tissue. No anesthesia is typically required and most experience a pain free procedure.

Despite the fact the pulse penetrates deep into the tissue with long-lasting effect, the discomfort from focused shockwaves therapy is minimal. Many clinical studies support the use of focused shockwave therapy in ED treatment, while radial shockwave therapy lacks studies supporting its use.

Radial waves do not penetrate below the skin, meaning their effectiveness against ED is limited and short-lasting. During radial treatment, anesthesia is usually required.

Interested in seeing the benefits of shockwave therapy for yourself? Schedule a visit to one of our clinics today!