Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to achieve and keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Approximately 30-45 % of males about 50 years old suffer from ED. The causes are smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid in blood, heart diseases and some drugs.
Psychological disorders (25-30 %) play an important role as physical causes (70-75 %) for ED. The most frequent physical causes of Ed are vascular diseases. Most patients (65-70 %) suffer from these causes.
Erection is a series of chemical phenomena which occurs when blood vessels enlarge and the sponge-like tissue inside the penis fill up with blood and it enlarges the penis.
Because of neural and vascular disorders, sponge-like tissue is not filled up with blood which results in erectile dysfunction. ED can also be the result of coronary heart disease, diabetics and high blood pressure that haven’t yet been diagnosed.
Before choosing a treatment, the cause of ED should be diagnosed accurately by urological evaluation and examination. Blood sugar, cholesterol and testosterone hormone levels should be measured and blood flow inside the penis should be evaluated.
The first step of the treatment is a group of medication which is an inhibitor of an enzyme known as PDE 5 (phosphodiesterase type 5). These medications prevent some chemical substances, which are produced to send more blood to penis, from being burned in body and allow more blood to penis. Hence, it allows longer erection. There might be differences among the PDH 5 inhibitors in terms of the start of the effect, total effect time and the degree of rigidity.
Although PDE 5 inhibitors have been shown to be highly effective and reliable, they are not proven to work in permanent treatments. PDE 5 inhibitors should not be used by patients who are on any nitrate therapy or nitrate pill. Other treatment options such as vacuum erection devices and erection inducing infections are found to be long and laborious process and difficult to implement. Penile implants is for patients who suffer from severe erectile dysfunction.
LSWT for the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
Even though Linear Shock Wave Therapy is a new form of therapy, the effectiveness of high intensity wave therapies has been given to patients to treat some diseases. The most common one of these therapies is high frequency sound waves from an external source to break kidney stones into small pieces. It is also used in healing tendinitis, bursitis and non- healing broken bones. Low frequency sound waves is used in chronic non-healing wounds, peripheral neuropathy (damage of peripheral nerves) and strengthening cardiac muscles. In LSWT treatment, the waves are aimed to cause a formation of functional micro vascular network (neovascularization) activating some enzymes in blood vessels.
The results can be observable in a month after the treatment. This time period is needed for the formation of new blood vessels.
The success rate of people who have treatment for four sessions is 60-80 % depending on the severity of the condition.
The treatment consists of applying a transducer (a device similar to an ultrasound) onto the skin (in areas of the penis and groin). There are four 20-minute sessions with one week intervals (The intervals should be 5 days the least and 10 days the most). During the treatment, the patient might experience numbness and tingling in skin and rash after the treatment.
The treatment causes no side effects. To boost the effectiveness of the therapy PDE 5 inhibitors are advised to be taken in small dosages.