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As of February 2019, GAINSWave, a new means of treating erectile dysfunction with low-frequency sound waves, is available in 43 states across the US as well as in Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Singapore. There are over 30 studies proving its effectiveness including those by Perelman and Hepnar, Vardi et al and more.

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GAINSWave Now Available in 43 States and Counting

As of February 2019, GAINSWave, a new means of treating erectile dysfunction with low-frequency sound waves, is available in 43 states across the US as well as in Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Singapore. There are over 30 studies proving its effectiveness including those by Perelman and Hepnar, Vardi et al and more.

The recently registered trademark 'GAINSWave' belongs to Dr. Richard Gaines of HealthGains Clinic, Florida. However, the concept of using sound waves to improve erectile function in men is not new. It was initially referred to as 'Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy' or 'LIST' and used to treat Peyronie's disease in late 1990s. Later the scientists found out that high-frequency sound waves could not only break down calcific plaques and improve penile elasticity compromised by Peyronie's disease but also enhance blood flow inside the penis and improve erection.

GAINSWave therapy uses acoustic pulse waves emitted by a special device applied to the penis. The waves create a microinflammation inside the penile body, which triggers an increased release of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that the effect of PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra is also based on. This results in revascularization - or growth of new blood vessels - of the penis and, consequently, stimulates blood flow and stronger erections.

A typical course of ED treatment with GAINSWave comprises of 6-12 procedures taken over the course of 2-6 weeks. During the 30-minute procedure the doctor applies a special wand-like sound wave emitter to different areas on the patient's penis. The treatment is associated with mild discomfort, so the patients are asked to apply numbing cream to the groin area 20-30 minutes before the procedure. One can return to their regular activities immediately after the treatment session is over.

Studies by Reisman et al, Vardi et al show that the effect of GAINSWave therapy remains unchanged 6 months post treatment. According to the therapy's official website, it lasts even longer - up to 2-3 years. A study by Kitrey et al, however, opposes that by claiming that 2 years post treatment the positive outcomes are preserved in only half of the patients in whom success was initially achieved.

None of the sources analyzed for this article mention any serious adverse reactions. The patients are warned they might notice increased frequency of spontaneous erections starting from the first day or treatment. This effect was mentioned in the article on Men's Health where author Ben Greenfield described his personal experience with GAINSWave.

One of the downsides of the therapy in the United States is its price. One procedure costs around $500, which means one will spend between $3,000 and $6,000 on the full course. Unlike pumps, injections and penile implants, GAINSWave is not covered by insurance, but neither is treatment with PDE5 inhibitors. Overall, the cost of GAINSWave is comparable to 2-3 years of brand-name Viagra. Treatment with generic PDE5 inhibitors would be 50% to 95% cheaper depending on whether the pills are purchased locally or from abroad. Therefore, the new therapy would be more suitable for patients who do not respond to therapy with Viagra or similar medications or are looking for non-invasive and non-medicinal ED treatment options.

For comparison, one procedure of low-intensity shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction costs around $225 in Thailand and $300 in Canada, so getting treated abroad is an option for those looking for a cheaper alternative. Citizens of Singapore eligible for health insurance coverage may even receive the treatment for free as it is currently offered by public hospitals in the country.

Not all healthcare professionals support the use of low-intensity shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction, however. Dr. Keith Roach, for example, mentions studies that failed to show benefit of LIST and suggest patients with ED wait until more clinical trial results are available. The therapy has its limitations too. The research by Appel et al shows that its effectiveness was low in post-prostatectomy patients as opposed to patients with vasculogenic ED.

All in all, GAINSWave is an option to consider, especially in non-responders to PDE5 inhibitors. It does not require surgery or medicinal treatment, does not cause serious discomfort or adverse reactions, has a high efficacy rate and allows for spontaneous sex. On the other hand, it is expensive, has limited duration of effect and its safety in the long term is yet to be proven by clinical trials.

Sources:

  1. GAINSWave providers in the United States and beyond - https://gainswave.com/directory/
  2. J Perelman, VD Hepnar, Power-pressure wave therapy for erectile regeneration - https://medcraveonline.com/UNOAJ/UNOAJ-04-00136
  3. Y Vardi et al, Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy to Improve Erectile Function - https://gainswave.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/European-Urology-Vardi.pdf
  4. Y Abdel-Salam et al, Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy to Treat Peyronie's Disease - https://gainswave.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RG-Journal-of-Endourology-Abdel-Salam.pdf
  5. Y Reisman et al, 6-month follow-up after linear focused shockwave treatment of ED patients - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25471316
  6. Expected duration of effect after GAINSWave treatment - https://gainswave.com/faqs/
  7. Ben Greenfield's personal experience with GAINSWave on Men's Health - https://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/a19545512/extracorporeal-shock-wave-therapy/
  8. ND Kitrey et al, The Duration of Effect of Low Intensity Shockwave Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction - https://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(18)39376-5/fulltext
  9. Cost of LIST in Thailand - http://www.infertilityaide.com/services/shockwave-therapy-for-erectile-dysfunction-thailand
  10. Cost of LIST in Canada - https://www.thegenomicclinic.com/shockwave-therapy-edmonton
  11. GAINSWave now offered at public hospitals in Singapore - https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/public-hospitals-now-offering-shockwave-therapy-erectile-dysfunction
  12. Dr. Keith Roach says efficacy and safety of LIST for ED treatment is not proven yet - https://www.timescolonist.com/life/health/your-good-health-shockwave-therapy-for-erectile-dysfunction-fails-1.23303409
  13. B Appel et al, LIST for ED in post-prostatectomy patients - https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(16)00452-5/fulltext

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