Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition where a man is unable to achieve or maintain a firm enough erection that allows for successful sexual intercourse.
ED is a frustrating affliction that, according to the Cleveland Clinic, affects about 10 percent of men on a consistent basis. It also affects many more men on an intermittent basis, and it doesn’t only affect older men – about 25 percent of men who have sought treatment for ED are under the age of 40.
What Is an Erection?
An erection occurs due to increased blood flow into the penis, usually from sexual desire and physical contact. This sexual excitement causes the muscles in the penis to relax and allow increased blood flow through the arteries, filling the two penile chambers called the corpora cavernosa.
The penis grows rigid and erection occurs. This erection continues until the penis muscles contract and the blood flows out through the penile veins.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
When an erection does not occur or cannot be maintained normally, the man is considered to be suffering from erectile dysfunction. This condition may be psychological or physiological.
ED can result in frustration, stress, and low self-esteem for the man suffering from it. It can also cause relationship stress or destruction.
Causes of ED
ED can occur due to various reasons, including:
- Hormonal issues such as low testosterone or thyroid disorders
- Inadequate blood flow to the penis
- Lifestyle habits such as alcohol and drug abuse, poor diet, and less-than-adequate exercise
- Medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity
- Nerve damage from trauma, disease, and/or treatments
- Peyronie’s disease, whereby the penis takes on a curvature
- Psychological and emotional factors such as anxiety, depression, inhibitions about sexual performance, sexual abuse, or stress
- Side effects of certain medications
Treatments for ED
ED can be treated in various ways, depending on the underlying cause. Traditional treatments include hormone therapy, oral medication, penile implants, injections, and vacuum erection devices.
These treatments are effective and safe with few adverse effects. However, none of them address the root causes of the malfunctioning of the erectile mechanism. Most of these treatments have to be taken before each sexual encounter, on an as-needed basis.
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work for ED?
Recent breakthrough studies suggest that spontaneous and regular erectile function may be achievable by low-intensity shockwave therapy (LiSWT). Shockwave therapy targets the erectile mechanism to enable men to have and maintain erections spontaneously.
The shockwave treatment helps to reverse the main cause (poor blood flow) of the dysfunction. It is a noninvasive, drug-free treatment of ED. Treatment consists of treating the penis twice a week for three weeks, followed by no treatment for three weeks, and then a repeat of the three-week treatments.
During the shockwave therapy treatment, the penis is coated in a special gel, and a probe is applied to the penis. The probe targets different areas of the penis in sessions that last for 15 to 20 minutes. There is usually no need for anesthesia, as experiencing pain is rare, although a slight tingling sensation may be felt in the area.
Shockwave therapy, which is still awaiting FDA approval, is a very promising treatment that is receiving excellent reviews from men who have received this therapy. Shockwave treatment may also improve the effects of pill therapy for ED, thus reducing the need for more invasive treatments.
Who Can Help with My ED?
To learn more about erectile dysfunction and other urological problems and to review your treatment options, contact Urologic Surgeons of Arizona today. We serve men and women with urological issues of all kinds.
You can call us at (480) 409-5060 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online now. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you live the active, healthy lifestyle you love.