“Feeling like a shockwave, shockwave, shockwave, shockwave ... Ooh yeah, babe, get ‘em with the shockwave.” Marshmello, AKA Christopher Comstock, sings that plaintive tune about a broken heart, but it just as well could be the over-the-top marketing slogan of a facility that offers “restorative therapy” for erectile dysfunction.

There’s a roster of restorative therapies — shockwaves, platelet rich plasma and all kinds of stem cell treatments — that are advocated by some doctors, as well as medi-spas and anti-aging clinics. Low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy for ED is especially popular in America.

Unfortunately, the use of shockwaves, stem cells or platelet-rich plasma is “experimental and should be conducted under research protocols (clinical trials) ...” That’s the conclusion of researchers who recently made a presentation at the Sexual Medicine Society of North America. In addition, the Society’s position paper on restorative therapies says, point blank, “restorative therapies should be reserved for clinical trials and not offered in routine clinical practice until adequate studies have demonstrated efficacy and safety.” In other words, don’t risk far worse disability than your ED (which can be safely treated).

What is the right treatment? That depends on the cause. Have your cardiologist check if you have obstructed blood flow. Ask about procedures and medications like statins that are known to work safely. Consider talk therapy. Whatever your treatment, a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a remission rate of 29% after five years. And even if ED cannot be “cured,” the right — approved — treatment can reduce or eliminate symptoms.

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