Can Sending Shockwaves To Your Penis Boost Your Erection?
In 1998, erectile dysfunction (ED) sufferers received a game-changer: That’s when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Viagra as the first oral pill to treat ED.
Viagra and other meds considered PDE5 inhibitors—which work by boosting blood flow to your penis—have become mainstays in ED treatment. In fact, 75 percent of men with ED who receive treatment are prescribed them, according to a Southern Illinois University School of Medicine study.
But they don’t work for all guys—and some men, like those who take meds like nitrates for heart issues can’t use Viagra in the first place. (Here are 6 mistakes you’re making with your ED drugs.)
That’s why scientists have been continually searching for other methods to treat erectile dysfunction. One that seems promising? Shockwave therapy.
In fact, a new study published in Sexual Medicine of 192 sexual health experts at the 18th Congress for the European Society for Sexual Medicine show that support for it is growing: Seventy-two percent of the experts surveyed believed that low-intensity shockwave therapy is effective for treating ED.
With shockwave therapy, clinicians apply a probe to the penis to send energy from acoustic waves to different parts of the penis, the International Society for Sexual Medicine explains. The hope is that this helps new blood vessels form, which would improve blood flow to the penis—vital to getting and maintaining an erection. Each session lasts about 15 to 20 minutes, and while you may feel some tingling, it usually doesn’t hurt. (For everything you need to keep your penis healthy for life, check out The Men’s Health Guide to Erectile Dysfunction.)
Shockwave therapy is still considered experimental, and while it’s approved in other countries, devices are still under review from the FDA here.
As the Sexual Medicine study pointed out, more randomized trials on the treatment are necessary. While studies have shown that it appears to be safe, randomized trials on its effectiveness have been conflicting—some showing little improvement that may not make much of a clinical difference.
In the meantime, if you are having problems with your erections, your tried-and-true options are oral meds like Viagra or Cialis, or injectable drugs like alprostadil. These 15 foods can help your penis perform better, too.