Petry dish

Promises to Restore Erectile Function: Too Good to Be True?

Highlights

  • Several restorative treatments for ED are under study to restore erectile function.
  • Treatments currently being researched are shockwave therapy, stem cell injections, and platelet-rich plasma therapy.
  • Some medical providers already offer restorative treatments for ED.
  • Medical associations say we need more evidence to confirm that those treatments are effective and safe.
  • Out of the three methods discussed, only shockwave therapy is currently deemed relatively safe.
  • Until we know more, oral ED medications are the safest and most effective way to treat erectile dysfunction. 

Innovative erectile dysfunction treatments sound like a dream come true. Bloggers praise them for their ability to bring back youthful erections. They are non-invasive and promise to restore erectile function. But do they really work? And are they safe to try?

What are restorative therapies for ED?

Restorative therapies aim to bring back natural erections and healthy sexual function to men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Here is an overview of three methods currently being studied as ED treatments:

Shockwave therapy for ED

Low-intensity shockwave therapy has been used in medicine for over 40 years.
The procedure works by sending acoustic waves through affected tissue.
For someone with ED, that means applying shockwaves to the penis. Although it may sound scary, the procedure is not painful. You may feel some vibration or pulse-like sensations, and preliminary results are promising.

However, there are currently not enough high-quality studies of shockwave therapy for ED to prove its effectiveness. That said, some providers are offering the therapy in the U.S. now, though many are actually “sham” therapies, so buyer beware.

Shockwave therapy has been used in medicine for years

Stem cell therapy for ED

With this treatment, stem cells are injected into the penis. Stem cells have an amazing potential to regenerate and heal damage in our tissues, as our bodies can make organs and blood cells out of them.
Stem cells can be collected from several sources, such as the umbilical cord from newborns, fatty tissue, or bone marrow.

Researchers believe that stem cells can restore damage to the penis caused by disease or surgery. Clinical trials focused on men with ED caused by prostate surgery or diabetes.

While initial findings are optimistic, it is too early to say if this approach can become a valid ED treatment.

A study involving diabetics concluded that stem cell therapies may not be long lasting. While many participants saw improvement in their sexual function, the effects seem to have faded over time. We need larger trials to conclusively determine the effectiveness of stem cells for erectile dysfunction in the general population.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy for ED

Platelet-rich plasma (better known as PRP) is currently being used to treat certain conditions, such as joint injuries, using platelets obtained from a patient’s own blood.

Platelets are known for their tissue healing properties, so scientists are working to find out if they can treat erectile dysfunction.

This therapy, too, has some favorable research behind it for treatment of ED. However, until we know for sure that stem cell therapy is effective and safe for ED, it is not recommended for clinical use.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for ED is still an experimental therapy

Some medical providers offer “revolutionary treatments”

Restorative treatments bring hope that ED is treatable, even in “hopeless” cases. It’s not a surprise that some medical license holders are already offering “revolutionary” therapies for erectile dysfunction. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Read between the lines. Clinics that offer shockwave therapy for ED back it up with proven methods. So, don’t be surprised if your treatment plan is “enriched by” a Viagra prescription, a penis pump, or diet recommendations for “best results.”
  • “Revolutionary therapies for ED” come with a high price tag. A course of shockwave treatment can cost over $4000.00, and stem cell injection prices reach up to $12,000. That’s a lot of money for a therapy that may not work.
  • Medical tourism comes with a risk. Some men travel to another country, hoping to pay less for their ED treatment. Be careful! Some countries don’t have strict regulations on product safety. Others allow persons with poor qualifications to practice medicine.
Medical tourism can be risky

What is the position of medical associations?

Expert associations in the U.S. have spoken against commercial use of restorative treatments at this point.

A 2021 position statement from the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) said those therapies were promising but should not be offered in “routine clinical practice” until we learn more.

SMSNA experts did an extensive review of trials of regenerative therapies for ED. Their conclusion? We don’t have enough high-quality data to confirm the efficacy of those methods.

The most recent American Urological Association guidelines state that shockwave, stem cell, and platelet-rich plasma therapies be considered “experimental” or “investigational.”

Let’s hope that further studies confirm the benefits of these therapies for men with ED. For now, though, we need to proceed with caution.

Is it risky to try experimental ED treatments?

What if you’re keen to seek out one of these methods? How much risk would be involved?

Shockwave treatment. Out of the three regenerative therapies, only shockwave treatment is deemed “relatively safe” by the research. Still, we also don’t have a full risk picture of its use for ED.

Stem cell therapy. We still don’t understand what the risks of stem cell injections are. What’s more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that “unapproved stem cell therapies can lead to infection, blindness, and death.” Watch their entire warning in the video below.

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Platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP is the least understood of all three restorative treatments. While it is currently used to treat some health conditions, its use for ED treatment is considered “off-label.” We don’t yet have reliable information about potential risks of using PRP to treat erectile dysfunction.

eDrugstore offers proven help for ED

The answer to the question “can we cure erectile dysfunction for good” is still out there. It’s possible that methods that are still being studied will prove effective and safe for general use.

Until then, there are tried-and-tested ways to deal with ED symptoms. Oral phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are currently the safest and most effective way to treat ED.

Browse our medication guide to learn more about the ED meds we carry and to schedule a complimentary medical consultation. At eDrugstore, virtual health visits and shipping are always free.

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