Duolith Shockwave Therapy
By Laura Freeman
The impact of erectile dysfunction is far more than physical. It can create anxiety and undermine a man’s sense of self, while putting stress on his closest relationship, which can affect his and his partner’s quality of life.
Although it may not seem as serious as disorders that directly threaten life and health, for someone alone, the undermining of confidence by ED can lead to social isolation, which has been linked to increased risk for heart attack as well as mental health issues.
Fortunately, new medications and combinations of therapies are improving function in many patients and reducing the negative effects of erectile dysfunction on quality of life. One of these new treatments is Duolith Shockwave Therapy, offered in Birmingham by Urology Centers of Alabama.
“It seems to be making a real difference in many cases,” said Eric Westerlund, CRNP, who administers the treatment. “About 60 to 70 percent of our patients are seeing positive results and better function. This option gives patients an alternative that may prevent or delay the need for surgery, injections or stronger medications.”
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by nerve damage, stress or emotional difficulties, but vascular issues are involved in most cases. Duolith Shockwave Treatment focuses on improving circulation. “It’s used in combination with Tadalafil, a vasodilator,” Westerlund said. “Pulsed acoustic energy waves help regenerate blood vessels and encourage improvement in circulation.”
The waves are directed toward key treatment zones and on the perineum. Patients report that the treatment is comfortable and doesn’t require anesthesia.
“The appointment usually takes half-hour or less, with the treatment itself lasting around 10 to 15 minutes,” Westerlund said. “We can adjust the acoustic wave vibration level to each patient’s comfort level. We generally schedule a series of six treatments over a period of six weeks. Some patients start seeing improvement after three to four treatments. The therapy is also reported to be helpful in some cases of Peyronie’s Disease and pain syndromes.”
The gentle vibration of shockwave therapy has been shown to be helpful in treating several types of conditions. It isn’t recommended for anyone who takes blood thinners and wouldn’t be part of a treatment plan for someone whose prostate has been removed.
”We can’t predict yet how long the positive effects of the therapy will continue in any one patient, since physical conditions differ from person to person. However we’re seeing reports of the benefits lasting a year or two, and we expect that in most cases we will be able to repeat treatment later if needed,” Westerlund said.
Aging is the most common predictor associated with erectile dysfunction. By age 40, around 40 percent of men begin to experience at least occasional episodes of ED. The prevalence increases as the years pass, rising to 70 percent by age 70, when 15 percent of men are experiencing complete dysfunction.
As with several previous ED treatments when first introduced, routine insurance coverage of Duolith Shockwave Therapy is yet to be established.
“We understand how important erectile dysfunction is in the lives of our patients, so we’ve worked to make Urology Centers of Alabama one of the most affordable providers of Duolith Shockwave Therapy anywhere. Care Credit can also be arranged,” Westerlund said. “The results we’re seeing have been so encouraging that we want anyone who could benefit to be able to choose this option. It makes such a difference in the lives of our patients and the people who love them.”
The ideal candidates for this therapy are men who are experiencing mild to moderate ED symptoms, especially those who aren’t responding well to medication or who prefer to avoid medication and are looking for an alternative to invasive treatment or surgical options.