A common medical problem for men worldwide, erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to have or maintain an erection that’s sufficiently firm to perform sexual intercourse. ED has a lengthy list of possible psychological and physical causes, such as regular, run-of-the-mill stress, side effects from medication, hormonal issues, nerve damage, and poor blood flow to the penis due to high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol. ED can be a sentinel symptom of an underlying condition, such as a serious cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it’s crucial for a specialized medical practitioner or urologist to thoroughly consult with male patients, addressing the underlying causes of ED and not just treating it as a symptom.
ED is sometimes a part of the aging process. Many men over age 40 will experience ED because a man experiences decreasing testosterone levels as he ages. But, it’s not always the case. So, it’s important to do a full medical workup to find out.
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
Men are diagnosed with ED when they report the following symptoms, and these can be troublesome over a short or longer period of time:
- Difficulties getting or holding an erection
- Reduced sexual drive or motivation
What are the options for erectile dysfunction treatment? Lifestyle changes
Doctors first recommend lifestyle changes, including improvement of diet, exercise, and sleep, when it comes to the treatment of sexual performance. Oftentimes, those lifestyle changes have a substantial impact on the patient, and a man can improve sexual performance with reduction or cessation of smoking, excessive use of alcohol or illicit drugs.
There are several oral drugs that treat ED, including Cialis, Stendra (avanafil), Staxyn (vardenafil hydrochloride), and Viagra (sildenafil).
Penis pumps and surgery implants
A variety of equipment exists on the marketplace, and it’s important to check compliance and clinical evidence prior to implementation.
Mental health is a significant area affecting many men in their sex lives. Depending on the type of ED, there are different forms of counseling that can be of great support in improving performance in the bedroom.
Natural and alternative treatments
Herbal supplements have long been used by the Chinese for treating medical conditions, but they are by and largely untested. Herbs claimed to stimulate ED response for men includes DHEA, L-arginine, Propionyl-L-carnitine. The active ingredients vary in amount. Some herbs conflict with pharmaceuticals and cannot be taken in combination.
Shockwave therapy devices for ED
Inadequate blood supply to the penis is a common underlying cause of ED, and there are many reasons why this happens. It could be the ED is a flag to indicate that there is a much more serious medical issue to investigate, such as hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerosis, or heart disease. In vascular cases, an ED shockwave machine provides a non-invasive solution.
Erectile Dysfunction Shockwave Therapy (EDSWT) a.k.a. Low-intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (Li-ESWT) encourages the natural process of angiogenesis or new blood vessel creation. Angiogenesis is important in healing vascular ED because it stimulates the development of new blood vessels.
Shockwaves from an ED shockwave therapy machine stimulate VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), and PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen). These factors encourage greater blood flow to the penile area and increase penile functioning.
Sexual Dysfunction in Men with Diabetes
Men need healthy vasculature systems in order to have an erection. Diabetes often causes damage to nerves and blood vessels which can impact a man’s quality of life. They may also experience side effects of diabetes medication.
Sources say about half of all men with diabetes will eventually develop ED. According to ISSM, men who have diabetes are at risk for ED by about three times higher than the risk for men without diabetes. They are also more likely to develop it 10 to 15 years earlier.
But, in general, a diabetic man’s quality of life can be managed, and his bedroom performance can be improved through proper treatment of diabetes or managing the side effects of diabetic medication.
Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction
It’s important to gather a full medical history and context surrounding the patient’s sexual dysfunction. Sometimes, multiple tests are ordered to deny or confirm the reasons behind the ED symptom.
Some possible tests that a doctor may choose to use in the process of diagnosis and treatment are:
- Blood tests for CBC to check for diabetes, infection, or other causes of ED
- Ultrasound to take imaging of the penis
- Hormone test to measure a man’s hormone levels
- Urine test to check for infection or diabetes
- Bulbocavernous reflex test to evaluate penile nerve sensations
- Cavernosometry to measure vascular pressure
- Penile biothesiometry to check if there is a response to vibration
- Snap gauge penile bands or nocturnal penile tumescence to check nighttime erections
Fast Results, Healing Intimate Relationships
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy for ED improves a man’s performance over a very short period of time. In a number of sessions, the man experiences obvious improvement as documented by a change in the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF).
How Can a Low-Intensity Shock Wave Therapy Machine Improve Men’s Sexual Health?
- Improve performance in the bedroom
- Enhance the overall quality of life
- Restore manhood and confidence
A Clinical Study: Can Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy Improve Erectile Function
A 6-month study assessed the efficacy of shockwave therapy machines for ED on men who previously responded to oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5-I).
- 20 men with vasculogenic ED who had International Index of Erectile Function ED (IIEF-ED) domain scores between 5-19 (average: 13.5) and abnormal nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) parameters.
- This approach was tolerable and effective, suggesting a physiologic impact on cavernosal hemodynamics.
- Its main advantages are the potential to improve erectile function and to contribute to penile rehabilitation without pharmacotherapy. The short-term results are promising.
Men’s Health and Support for ED
It’s important to share with the patient that there are many resources available to treat and support him – whether it’s a short- or long-term problem. There are a wide range of options to explore prior to treatment that will put a patient at ease, including clinical articles for factual information, men’s health organizations for emotional or physical support, and of course, the diagnosis and care under a general medical practitioner. Also, the man’s partner can be a huge support and encourage the man to talk about the symptom and work together to resolve it.
Medispec’s ED1000, a Low-Intensity Shock Wave Therapy Machine, renews hope toward improving quality of life and relationships.
- WHO Global report on diabetes
- Figure 1 – diabcare0504.pdf (who.int)
- Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetic Patients – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Determinants of Early Response to Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwaves for the Treatment of Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction: An Open-Label, Prospective Study – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that assess the efficacy of low-intensity shockwave therapy for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (nih.gov)
- Effect of penile rehabilitation with low intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy on erectile function recovery following robot- assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy – Inoue – Translational Andrology and Urology (amegroups.com)
- Dietary supplements for erectile dysfunction: A natural treatment for ED? – Mayo Clinic