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I’m fed up  to  the back teeth - as are most of you, I’m sure - with spam messages for erectile dysfunction cures. As a mere woman  I can reveal that I’ve never suffered in that department. Not even once.

But what I didn’t know was that while medicines like Viagra and Cialis may improve a couple’s sex life, there are associated risks of heart attacks and adversely affected vision. I maintain that natural cures in all fields of medicine are better than any combination of chemicals.

 New research from Israel,  suggests that that the same device that uses shockwaves to blast kidney stones appears to have a restorative effect on the blood vessels of the penis.

In an initial study of 20 middle-aged men with erectile dysfunction, researchers conducted a series of treatments that comprised three weeks of shockwave therapy administered in two 20-minute sessions each week.

The patients were allowed to rest for three weeks and then an additional course of low-dose shockwave treatments, with about 100 bars of pressure per shockwave, was administered over another three-week period, using a device resembling a computer mouse.

Dr. Yoram Vardi, head of the Neuro-Urology Department of Ramban Medical Centre, found mostly consistent results in 15 of the 20 men who benefited from the therapy. All the men noted a return of erectile functioning around the seven-week mark, and a six-month follow-up found that for 13, the effects were long lasting, while two will require additional treatments.  

“There was no pain or additional side effects within six months,” said Vardi.  “There was an improvement [in erectile function]. A huge improvement ...  we feel the effect is something biological,” he says and suggests that the treatment encourages blood vessel growth, as found in animal studies. His research team is now measuring possible placebo effects.  

“We have done 20 patients more and after a few months the results are approximately the same,” added Dr Vardi. But he advised that such a treatment wouldn’t work on men with muscle or nerve problems, but on those whose erectile problem stems from reduced blood flow.

The idea of using sound waves to treat erectile dysfunction came to Vardi when he learned that shockwaves were used to treat men with a curvature of the penis known as Peyronie’s disease.

What’s more, research indicates that the treatment may be useful for growing new blood vessels for the heart and Vardi hopes that the shockwave therapy could be used to diagnose heart disease at an early stage. At present, it is used with higher levels of shockwaves to treat shoulder pain in orthopaedic patients.  

But Vardi warns that he can not predict when the treatment may be generally available.

“First of all we want to test it more and understand better how effective it can be and how long the [effects of] treatment lasts.” Also, while many men currently self-medicate their erectile disorder, the new shock treatment would require medical consultation and would have to be administered by a physician.

Since erectile dysfunction appears in the early stages of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, a flaccid penis could be a warning about a life-threatening disorder. Now, that IS serious!

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