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Using Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) – Revised 2022

Erectile dysfunction or simply referred to as ED is the most commonly reported sex problem.  Erectile Dysfunction in broad terms is trouble getting or maintaining an erection firm enough for sex.  Shockwave therapy as shown to be an effective tool for erectile dysfunction.  All men may experience erection problems occasionally.  When your ED gets worse or happens more routinely with sex, treatment should be indicated.

How to treat erectile dysfunction

Your doctor will often try non-invasive treatments initially to treat your ED symptoms.  This will include lifestyle changes such as exercising, stop smoking or using drugs, lower your alcohol use or changing your diet.  There may also be some indications of emotional or psychiatric issues that contribute to your ED.  All this will be determined by your initial visits.

If these treatments do not work, then there are medications, testosterone treatments and more invasive treatments available.  A newer treatment that is becoming popular for ED is called shockwave therapy or (SWT).  This treatment is considered experimental and data is being collected to determine its effectiveness.  Initial data seems to support that it may help men overcome ED but should be used when patients do not respond to less invasive measures or medication but do not want more invasive treatments or surgey. 

How does shockwave therapy work?

You may hear it called low-intensity shockwave therapy or LiSWT from your urologist.  During treatment, a wand-like device is used to send targeted soundwaves to stimulate the tissues in your penis and boost blood flow. LiSWT has been shown to grow new blood vessels and improve blood flow in the penis.  Blood flow in the penis is essential for getting and maintaining an erection.

Am I a candidate for shockwave therapy?

As we have stated, shockwave therapy has been around for many years but has only recently been used to treat erectile dysfunction.  Current data indicates that SWT works best for men with mild ED who are not responding to medications or maybe not interested in taking medications but also not wanting to use invasive procedures.

What to expect in a shockwave therapy for ED

The procedure is fairly simple and is done in an exam room.  No anesthesia is required.  There is no preparation needed prior to the appointment.  During the procedure, your urologist will use a wand-like device around different areas of your penis emitting gentle pulses.  The treatment lasts for about 15 minutes.  Afterwards, you can return home.  Most patients can return to normal activities the following day.  We will let you know if you need to restrict your activity level.  In the event that you do experience some pain, we can recommend over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relief.

Clinical studies have shown that shockwave therapy is an effective and safe treatment but more research is needed to identify potential risks when used as treatment for erectile dysfunction.  Talk to us about your options. Our urologist will listen to your concerns and offer treatment plans that will fit your lifestyle.