It has been estimated that approximately half of all men aged 40 to 70 are affected by erectile dysfunction. In the U.S., that number hits about 30 million. Where there is a problem, especially as it relates to sexual wellness, people want solutions. Where there is a demand for solutions, we’re bound to see some out-of-the-box thinking that creates trends. The thing is, your sexual wellness is not a trend, so looking to “innovative” solutions to erectile dysfunction could be not only a waste of time but could be dangerous. Here, we discuss why a urologist should be consulted for erectile dysfunction treatment.
Erectile Function is a Complex Series of Events
For a man to get and maintain an erection, multiple organs and systems are involved. There is a whole biological process that takes place; a precise sequence of events, that must occur for an erection to be functional. This sequence includes stimulus in the brain, hormonal shifts, and neurological responses in the muscles, veins, fibrous tissues, and arteries located throughout the penis and surrounding tissue. The necessary sequence could be interrupted anywhere in its cycle and could be affected by any number of contributing factors, from an injury to stress to weight to medical conditions to unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Why Men Should See a Urologist for Erectile Dysfunction
Seeing all that’s involved in erectile function, it should be obvious why men should consult with a urologist who has specialized training. As much as we’d like to believe it is, current trends indicate otherwise. Some of the modalities that are getting a lot of patient attention, and dollars, include:
- Platelet-rich plasma injections: Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is a derivative of the blood. It is the crème de la crème, if you will, containing numerous growth factors that supposedly stimulate tissue regeneration. This modality can encourage new blood vessel growth and may help circulation, which is good in some circumstances. However, it has not been proven for erectile dysfunction due to a lack of high-quality research.
- Shockwave therapy: Look, we know the benefits of shockwave therapy. We perform this technique to help break up kidney stones. However effective this technology is, for one thing, does not make it suitable for another. The idea behind shockwave therapy for ED is that it increases blood flow, much like PRP injections, and should therefore enable the penis to function properly. Also like PRP injections, shockwave ED therapy lacks sufficient clinical research to completely understand its benefits and risks. Until those are known, this is nothing more than a trendy, potentially dangerous treatment option.
Your urologist understands the complexity of erectile dysfunction. A thorough medical examination and testing are necessary to rule out factors such as concerning health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. With the proper approach to erectile dysfunction, the urologist holds the keys to improving a man’s overall health.