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How Various Physiologic Factors Influence Sexual Health
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Erectile dysfunction is one of the most challenging conditions experienced by men in their middle ages and up. Those who suffer from it know that its symptoms are not isolated to the physical domain, but can impact mental health and relationships as well. While treatments for the symptoms of erectile dysfunction have been available for years, they have been limited and are not always effective for all patients.
As the frontrunner in age management medicine, Cenegenics is proud to be among the first to offer advanced forms of medicine for the frustrating conditions that tend to accompany the aging process. Erectile dysfunction in particular is a common concern among our patient population, which is why our clinicians continue to stay at the forefront of medical advancements for treating this common yet challenging issue. We are, therefore, proud to announce that the newest form of treatment available for erectile dysfunction, shockwave therapy, is now available through Cenegenics. Discover below what makes this revolutionary therapy so powerful as an erectile dysfunction treatment and whether you could be an ideal candidate.
While commonly referred to simply as “shockwave therapy,” the full name for this cutting-edge treatment is low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (LI-ESWT). This non-surgical and non-invasive treatment uses powerful but short energy waves to stimulate healing for chronic conditions, many of which have failed to respond to other therapies or treatments. The therapy is performed by issuing focused electromagnetic pulses to stimulate a repair process, prompting the formation of healthy blood vessels and the delivery of key nutrients to the affected area.
Since its development in the 1990s, various forms of shockwave therapy have been used to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as calcific tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. The technology now used in shockwave therapy derived from the initial discovery of sound waves’ ability to breakdown kidney stones. In years since, it has been revealed to be particularly useful in treating conditions which are otherwise difficult to treat. For example, treatments for chronic plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel to the toes, can be especially problematic. Surgical interventions pose the risk of serious complications, including infection.  Shockwave therapy, on the other hand, has yielded successful results in various studies, with few complications reported. 
In general, shockwave therapy is becoming a widely preferred method of treatment for stubborn injuries and musculoskeletal conditions. The purpose of the treatment is to trigger the body’s own natural healing response, instead of simply masking symptoms. As a noninvasive and drug-free alternative to many traditional forms of treatment, it holds promise for a broad range of injuries and chronic conditions including issues caused by:
Beyond sports injuries and chronic pain, however, shockwave therapy has also recently emerged as a feasible erectile dysfunction treatment option.
While commonly used to treat orthopedic conditions in the back, heel, shoulder, knee, and elbow, new evidence shows that the therapy can also benefit erectile dysfunction. Affecting up to half the population of men between the ages of 40 and 70, erectile dysfunction has been a common condition for which, historically, there have been limited treatment options.  Yet, further statistics show that although erectile dysfunction does correlate with age, it can impact men earlier in life, too. Although it is a common challenge faced by older adults, with 70% of men affected by age 70, a recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 25% of men seeking help for the condition are under the age of 40.
Erections are produced during sexual stimulation when blood fills spongy tissue in the penis. A broad range of medical conditions can disrupt this blood flow, including:
These issues develop over time, so it’s no surprise that men across most age groups are affected.
The difference between shockwave therapy and alternate treatments is that this method addresses the root cause of erectile dysfunction – the blocked blood flow – through the process described below.
Shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction is performed by passing low-intensity sound waves through erectile tissue, which addresses plaque in the blood vessels and stimulates the development of new, healthy blood vessels. Called neovascularization, this process helps to improve blood flow to the penis which is crucial to getting and maintaining an erection. A healthy blood flow is what gives the penis firmness, and a man with blood flow issues may therefore have weaker erections or struggle to produce one at all.
Shockwave treatment for erectile dysfunction is different from alternate treatments in that its goal is to restore the normal mechanism of erection to produce natural erections. Sound waves are delivered at specific frequencies to produce a mechanical force to the underlying deep tissues, breaking up vascular plaque and helping new blood vessels and nerve tissue to form. These pulsating acoustic waves ultimately rejuvenate the spongy erectile tissue in the penis to allow the blood spaces to open. New blood vessels grow, blood flow and sensitivity increase, and erections become stronger, bigger, and have increased duration.
To administer the treatment, a trained technician applies a probe coated in a specially-formulated gel to targeted areas. Treatment sessions are usually completed within 20 minutes or less. The process is generally pain-free, though a tingling sensation may occur. The non-invasive procedure is typically completed in a series of 6-12 treatments.
While treatments such as medications have been available to men with erectile dysfunction for decades, until now, the scope of treatment has been limited to generating an erection at the appropriate time. Many of these treatments aren’t widely preferred among patients as they can be painful, expensive, and inconvenient. Moreover, producing an erection at the time needed with pills, vacuum pumps, or painful injections into the penis can inhibit feelings of sexual desire. Being that they are used on an as-needed basis, they may also only work for one sexual encounter at a time. Furthermore, none of these methods treat or reverse the underlying pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction – inadequate blood flow into the erectile tissue of the penis – so using these pumps, pills, and injections allows the underlying problem to worsen as normal aging takes place. Thus, men who rely on these treatments gradually see them fail over time.
Shockwave therapy, on the other hand, addresses the root cause of erectile dysfunction by enhancing blood flow, allowing men to have erections on their own. According to research published in Therapeutic Advances in Urology, this revolutionary treatment “possesses unprecedented qualities that can rehabilitate erectile tissue.” The treatment is projected to be a new standard of care for erectile dysfunction patients and is hailed for its ability to restore erectile function without additional medication. It is also deemed feasible, tolerable, and without any adverse or unwanted effects.  Thus, for men who have struggled with this frustrating condition, shockwave therapy is an obvious course of treatment to consider.
As mentioned above, the side effects of shockwave therapy when used as an erectile dysfunction treatment are minimal. Any discomfort experienced during the actual therapy session itself usually manifests as a slight vibration, prickling, or tingling sensation. In general, the treatments have been well tolerated by patients, and results have been impressive. 
Not only can you resume your normal, everyday activities immediately following therapy without any restrictions, but you can also have sex the same day of treatments. Most men experience positive results post-treatment, and some may experience a spontaneous erection within 24 hours. Of course, as with all forms of treatment, results vary based on a patient’s underlying medical condition and age. Since erectile dysfunction is a gradual process occurring over a period of years, it would seem beneficial for younger men who are having mild, early erectile dysfunction to begin treatment earlier rather than later. It’s possible that while the treatment may be effective as a standalone solution for many cases of erectile dysfunction, those with more severe symptoms may benefit from using supplemental treatments in addition to shockwave therapy.
For this reason, the Cenegenics team offers an exclusive, state-of-the-art procedure that can be coupled with shockwave therapy for male sexual dysfunction: platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which is explained in greater detail below.
Cenegenics age management specialists bring a unique perspective to the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Not only do our clinicians offer powerful solutions, such as shockwave therapy, to combat the root cause of the condition, but they also take an all-encompassing approach to effectively address the contributing factors which can have further implications on overall health and longevity, such as:
Our team delivers patient-centered treatment plans to fit the unique needs of each individual based on exhaustive clinical testing, thereby alleviating not only the most outwardly noticeable symptoms and conditions, but also facilitating better vitality now and into the future.
One of the ways we excel in our approach is by offering the broadest scope of treatments, ensuring each patient has access to the solutions that will best fit their individual needs. For erectile dysfunction, we also offer PRP, which can be added to shockwave treatment for even more powerful results. PRP is a concentrate of whole blood, derived from the patient themselves. The blood is treated by lab technicians to contain more concentrated growth factors. It is used to encourage a brisk healing response in many medical applications including orthopedics, dermatology, and dentistry. Using the patient’s own blood minimizes the risk of side effects, such as allergic reactions or skin sensitivity.
If you’re interested in learning more about shockwave therapy, PRP, how you can improve your health through middle age and beyond, or all of the above, Cenegenics is your premier choice for age management and the specific conditions experienced throughout the phases of adulthood. Our experts have helped patients with concerns just like yours feel their best for decades. Whether you’ve struggled with erectile dysfunction or you’re simply seeking ways to lead a healthier life while keeping disease at bay, our team can help. Contact your nearest Cenegenics location to learn how we can optimize your quality of life today.
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About the Contributor
Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.
This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:
The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation
The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT
Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.
Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS
Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.
Cluett, Jonathan, MD. “Shock Wave Therapy for Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis.” Verywell health. 09 Dec. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.verywellhealth.com/shock-wave-therapy-for-plantar-fasciitis-2549421
 Jiale Sun, et al. “Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is effective in treating chronic planta fasciitis: A meta-analysis of RCTs.” Medicine. Apr. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2017/04140/Extracorporeal_shock_wave_therapy_is_effective_in.44.aspx
 Lakin, MD, and Wood, Hadley, MD. “Erectile Dysfunction.” Cleveland Clinic. June 2018. Retrieved from URL: http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/erectile-dysfunction/
 Ilan Gruenwald, et al. “Shockwave treatment of erectile dysfunction.” Therapeutic Advances in Urology. Apr. 2013. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607492/
 “What is shockwave therapy and how might it help men with erectile dysfunction?” International Society for Sexual Medicine. Retrieved from URL: https://www.issm.info/sexual-health-qa/what-is-shockwave-therapy-and-how-might-it-help-men-with-erectile-dysfuncti/