When you think of waves you might think of sound waves, waves in the water, or even microwaves. What all of these waves have in common is that it is a transfer of energy from one location to another.
Wave therapy utilizes shockwaves to provide treatment for erectile dysfunction and other penile tissue concerns and is also known as extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT).
These shockwaves are similar to sound waves, however, shockwaves have a higher pressure that is more rapid and large. Thinking of using waves for ED treatment may seem intimidating, but it is a non-invasive procedure that can help to provide many benefits and make a significant difference in erectile function.Get Started
Written by Elite HRT
on June 09, 2021
Camille Frecking, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, MEDICAL ADVISOR
Keep reading to learn more about what wave therapy is, the mechanism of how it works, inclusion criteria, the benefits, possible side effects, and more.
Wave therapy uses shock waves, which are essentially targeted and focused vibrations that reach deep into the erectile tissue. The shock waves create microtraumas in the tissue and blood vessels so that it promotes wound healing and can come back stronger.
Think of a muscle when you exercise. During the exercise it creates microtears, and as it heals, the fibers repair and begin to build overall muscle tissue. Unfortunately your penis cannot do push ups, but the wave therapy can simulate a similar effect and help to strengthen the penis and blood vessels inside.
Once the microtraumas have occurred in the tissue, the body will detect this as an injury and respond appropriately with the inflammation response to begin the healing process. Inflammation is an increase in blood flow and a trigger of the immune system. As the inflammation occurs, there is an increase in blood flow to the penis, which can repair blood vessels that had previously been damaged. Overall, the wave therapy simply stimulates your body to react with its own systems to repair the tissue and create new blood vessels (called angiogenesis), which helps to ultimately improve blood flow.
There are three main uses for wave therapy: erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or inadequate erections.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction is the main use for wave therapy among its users since this is a common problem in many men, especially as they begin to age.
Premature ejaculation is when you have an orgasm before sex is initiated or very soon after. This can be frustrating since you are unable to enjoy sex for a longer period of time.
Inadequate erections involves being able to have an erection, but it may not be as strong or hard as it was before. Having a completely erect penis may improve the sexual experience for both you and your partner.
Because inadequate erections, lack of an erection, or premature ejaculation can make sex life less enjoyable for you and your partner, you may be looking for treatments that could help to improve your symptoms. If these are symptoms you have experienced or are experiencing, then wave therapy may be an option for you.
In addition to having these symptoms there are some other things that may make you a good candidate for wave therapy.
For example, some people have past medical history that make other treatments such as oral medications like Viagra not an option. If your medical history prevents you from taking medications or doing other treatment options, then wave therapy could be a great option.
Additionally, if you have already tried other treatments, especially oral medications then trying wave therapy may be a good option. Not everyone responds to oral medications, so just because oral medications didn’t work doesn’t mean another intervention like wave therapy won’t work as well. Giving it a try might be exactly what works for you.
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction and there may be multiple causes acting at once. Both mental and physical causes can impact the ability of the penis to become and stay erect. Psychologically depression, anxiety, stress, and relationship turmoil can impact your ability to achieve an erection.
Physically, there are many things that can cause erectile dysfunction but the main categories are our lifestyle choices, hormones, nervous system disorders, and cardiovascular health. Erectile dysfunction is heavily impacted by the blood’s ability to engorge the penis. So, things like clogged blood vessels, high blood pressure, and heart disease can all impact the blood’s ability to adequately supply the penis.
Understanding the process of wave therapy beforehand can help to reduce some anxiety. There are many fears and questions that people have before they get wave therapy because they may not know anyone that has experienced it. Some things you may be wondering are does it hurt? How long will it take? And is it invasive like surgery?
Wave therapy is non-invasive, and includes placing the wave therapy device on your penis and initiating the shock waves. The treatment is not painful and does not require any anesthesia or pain medications, so you can complete the procedure and feel comfortable during and after. The therapy usually only lasts about 15 minutes per treatment, so you can be in and out of an appointment fairly quickly. Wave therapy is a simple and painless procedure that can help to provide many benefits for you and your sexual health.
Many of the benefits of wave therapy are related to helping sexual dysfunctions. For example, wave therapy may help you achieve more erections, enjoy sex more, make your erections higher quality, help you perform better in bed, get more satisfaction out of sex for you and your partner. Wave therapy, in addition to the physical benefits, can also help you to feel more confident and reduce feelings of anxiety when it comes to having sex or being intimate with your partner.
There is very limited risk when it comes to wave therapy. Some of the common adverse effects are red skin, swelling, and feeling sore after the procedure. This happens from the physical stimulation of the skin as well as the beginning of the inflammatory process that helps the treatment to create positive effects. Other side effects that happen less frequently are bruising and small red spots on the penis called petechiae. Petechiae are the result of minor breaks in blood vessels that allow the blood to show at the surface of the skin. These side effects are usually low risk, however if they persist you should reach out to your healthcare provider to be assessed.
Unfortunately wave therapy does not only take one session to see results. But, the treatments may be shorter than you think.
Typically it is recommended to do about 6 treatments of wave therapy in the beginning.
Depending on your response and current symptoms your provider may recommend fewer or more treatments. As time goes on you may notice a decrease in the strength of your erection, so follow up treatments may be scheduled as well. The length of treatment truly is personalized based on your individual health needs.
Doing other therapies along with wave therapy is possible and even encouraged. Specifically platelet-rich plasma or PRP is a therapy that is frequently used in conjunction with wave therapy. Platelet-rich plasma is the process of using your own body’s plasma to be injected into the penis. Platelets are the part of the blood that come together to form clots. Plasma is the part of the blood that is the fluid, not the red or white blood cells.
PRP has growth factors and helps to regenerate soft tissues. So, when the PRP is injected into the penis it helps to regenerate the tissues and make them stronger. It is typically recommended that at least four sessions of platelet-rich plasma is injected in conjunction with the wave therapy. These two work together to make even more significant improvement in outcome measures.
If you have been struggling with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or other penile concerns, extracorporeal shockwave therapy may be an option that can help.
Having an open discussion with your healthcare provider can help you decide what the best course of action can be. This can be a sensitive subject for many men, but hopefully knowing that many others are dealing with the same struggles should help to make you feel a little less alone.