Defined as the inability to maintain an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a medical condition that is often associated with increased aging in men especially those over the age of 50. By the year 2025, it is predicted that over 320 million men around the world will be suffering from the effects of ED. There are many reasons that cause ED, ranging from inadequate blood flow to the corpora and/or veno-occlusive disease (the inability to prevent venous flow from leaving the penis) to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease and metabolic diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus.
The diagnosis of ED is initiated with a complete examination of a patient’s medical, surgical, social and sexual history.
- The medical history helps identify all medical conditions that the patient has, which includes their onset, severity, previously failed treatments and any ongoing treatments.
- The psychological history usually includes conditions and their durations such as depression and anxiety, as well as medications being taken.
- The social history focuses on patients’ living arrangements, their relationship status, the health status of family members and if they are users of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.
In regards to sexual history, information gathered usually includes severity levels of ED, presence/absence of nocturnal erections and frequency of sexual intercourse, among others.
When it comes to the treatment of ED, higher levels of importance should be placed on prevention, early intervention of comorbid conditions and promoting behavioural changes before initiating other options. Changes on behalf of the patient can be made through weight control, smoking cessation, formation of a new exercise plan. In the healthcare sector, there are three known forms of treatment available, namely medical treatment such as: PDE5 Inhibitors, Vacuum Device/Injection Therapy and Penile implants. PDE5 Inhibitors such as Viagra, have high efficacy rates (between 45%-78%) and have revolutionised the treatment of ED since its introduction. But not all patients respond to the treatment and some may progress until the medication failed to help.
While vacuum devices and injection therapies tend to have a high response rate, the cumbersome use of this method also yields high dropout rates. However, the Low-energy Shockwave Therapy method has been gaining popularity due to its ease of use. It works by improving blood flow to the penis therefore usually worked less well due to problems of neuropathy such as in diabetic patients. It is worth trying for patients whose PDE5-i no longer works or when patients want to try a more long-lasting effect without relying upon on-demand medication.
It’s painless and can be done in an outpatient setting in a clinic without any sedation or anaesthesia. The usual sessions start with a weekly session for 6 weeks, each lasting 10-15 minutes.
Other uses for Low Energy Shockwave therapy includes treatment option for chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Learn more about how you can reduce your risks and prevent further health problems. Regency’s Urology medical specialty is well equipped with specialists and healthcare professionals to help diagnose and treat your condition.