Dr Shrid's Blog

Why You Should Skip the Trendy Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

Statistics suggest that approximately half of all men aged 40 or older will suffer erectile dysfunction. In the best cases, this is a temporary problem that may relate to stress or certain lifestyle habits. In many cases, though, men struggle for months or years with the inability to get or keep an erection. Over time, several drugs and procedures have been developed to address this important matter; a man’s sexual health contributes to his overall sense of well-being and confidence. In addition to FDA-approved drugs, numerous non-approved supplements and treatments have emerged. Here, we discuss what those are and why they may be no more than a trend that should be avoided.

Erectile Function: a Complex Series of Events

An erection culminates from a precise sequence of events that involves several organs and systems. It requires neurological stimulus that starts in the brain. An erection also requires the body to alter certain hormones and for neurotransmitters in the arteries, veins, fibrous tissues, and muscles located throughout the penis to wire and fire. The accuracy of the necessary sequence of events can be disrupted by several interruptions. Therefore, it is important to look beyond the obvious (a dysfunctional penis) and explore potential contributing factors. The “innovative” approaches that are being touted today don’t do that.

Seeing that there are several systems involved in the erection process, we’d think that all men would consult with a urologist to resolve this sexual problem. However, many men don’t realize that they can or should speak with anyone but their primary care physician about their concerns. Really, what might happen most often is a quick online search that results in a few amazing nonsurgical ED treatment options. Popular choices include:

  • Platelet-rich plasma injections. This nonsurgical treatment may involve a few shots but, hey, the “product” comes from your body so it must be safe. Safety is one thing, success is another. PRP injections are a non-invasive method of stimulating blood flow and the regeneration of new blood vessels. Unfortunately, no scientifically reviewed studies show any benefit over other forms of more successful therapy. There is good evidence to support its use for orthopedic conditions; however, not the bone you want it to work on.
  • Shockwave therapy. Low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave treatment uses a small probe to deliver a number of shock waves through the penis. The energy from shock wave therapy stimulates new blood vessel growth through a process called angiogenesis. Because circulation could improve, the theory is that erectile function will, as well. There is promising evidence that this could possibly help with erectile dysfunction. However, it is not ready for prime time. Often people who are utilizing shock wave therapy are not using the energy suggested by the original studies, and do not have great answer when it does not work. Be wary of home use models as well. Unfortunately, the strength of medical evidence to support its use has not come about but maybe in the next 5 years.

Both PRP injections and shockwave therapy may seem like a good idea in some circumstances but, because they only do one thing, stimulate circulation, they could miss the real problem behind ED. That makes them not only trendy and unproven but also potentially dangerous. They also tend not to be covered by insurance, because of there experimental classfication.

Dr. Anand Shridharani is a men’s health specialist. He is a board-certified urologist with years of extra training and clinical practice in addressing problems like erectile dysfunction using FDA-approved methods. The approved methods to treat ED tend to be the most successful and get your confidence back in the bedroom the quickest. Furthermore, erectile dysfunction warrants a comprehensive consultation and necessary medical screenings to ensure that the heart, cardiovascular system, hormones, and psyche are not contributing causes. Often erectile dysfunction, can be a sign of other medical issues that could potentially be dangerous as well. It is important that you speak to your primary care doctor or a sexual medicine specialist about ED.

Erectile dysfunction is treatable at any stage. Dr. Shridharani can help you find the appropriate course of treatment based on your unique situation. To schedule a consultation, call (423) 778-4MEN (4636).

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