I Think I Might Have Erectile Dysfunction! What Should I Do?

You’ve always enjoyed a great sex life. Erectile dysfunction was the last thing you ever thought about. In fact, you never even considered the possibility that you wouldn’t be able to perform. Then, one night, it wasn’t happening. You might have been a little surprised, but you shook it off. Even Steph Curry misses a layup once in a while. Patrick Mahomes has overthrown a receiver or two. Having an off night can happen to anyone, and you were right to dismiss it. But sometimes erectile dysfunction can become the norm. That’s when it becomes a problem.

Erectile dysfunction can happen to anyone, even guys in their twenties. Sure, it becomes much more common as we get older, but sadly, it’s no longer a condition of just older guys. About half of all men experience some degree of erectile dysfunction.

For the past 25 years, dating to the introduction of Viagra, men have usually tried pills first. Sometimes they started off with scary looking pills they picked up at the gas station. As a general rule, one should be careful about buying ED pills or sushi  at gas stations.

Lifestyle changes can help. A healthy diet, losing excess weight, exercising, and getting adequate sleep are all factors that can improve your overall health and wellbeing. They may also improve your erections. Elimination of stress can also help. But what do you do if that’s not enough?

While pde5-inhibitors, like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are readily available, they also have significant side effects. In fact, up to 40% of patients complain of side effects. Besides the ongoing costs, there is the troubling problem that pills don’t attack the root cause of erectile dysfunction. They work by temporarily increasing blood flow, but are only effective while they are active. Once they leave your system, there is no benefit. Eventually, ED pills always stop working! That’s because they don’t address the root cause, which always eventually advances.

Shockwave therapy attacks the root cause of ED, which is usually lack of adequate blood flow (vascular insufficiency.) Best of all, it does this with minimal side effects (for patients who are not on blood thinners, or have normal clotting mechanisms.) That’s why most men’s health specialists prefer shockwave therapy as the treatment that they would use to treat their own ED.

Shockwave therapy does not require recovery time. In my urology practice I have had men that have gone from the treatment room to the soccer field, and played two league games! The treatments tend to be cumulative. For focused shockwave therapy the usual protocol is one 15 minute session per week for 6 weeks. For patients with personal radial wave devices the treatment protocol is two sessions per week for six weeks.

The patients that respond the best to shockwave therapy are those with mild to moderate ED. For patients with more advanced ED, particularly those who have lost the ability to respond to pills, shockwave therapy can still have a role. For those patients, some will be able to resume intercourse without pills, but for others, they may find that they still require pills. A reasonable expectation for some might be an improved response to pills after shockwave therapy.