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YOUR HEALTH: Some doctors are shocking men out of impotence

MIAMI, Florida – He never played for the NBA but this Michael Jordan also loves basketball even though depression had him sitting on the sidelines.

"It affects everything, everything: my sex life, my personal life, my work life."

Michael says antidepressants have helped, but the drugs took a toll on his sex life.

"It affects the libido as much as it affects performance."

Studies show more than half of all American men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.   Experts say erectile dysfunction can affect men of all ages.

Now, shock wave therapy is helping patients start the families they once could only dream of...

"We know from the data that 40 percent of 40 year olds have an issue; some form of erectile dysfunction," explained Dr. Richard Gaines, preventative medicine advisor for the erectile dysfunction technology company called GAINSWave.

Dr. Gaines wanted to give men experiencing E.D. a treatment option to the little blue pill so he started GAINSWave therapy, using shock waves.

"Shock waves are ubiquitous," he explained.   "They're faster than the speed of sound, and they have an effect on human tissue."

Dr. Gaines says studies show using shock waves or sound waves causes blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow.

"When these sound waves hit the surface of a blood vessel the endothelial cells respond, making new blood vessels and repairing themselves in a process called angiogenesis."

Dr. Gaines has a minority interest in GAINSWave and helped develop the protocol for patient treatment.

The treatment takes about 15 minutes and some patients have reported an immediate response.

After numbing cream was applied, Michael says it didn't hurt at all.

"There was zero pain."

And he noticed a difference after just two treatments.

"It brings me back to like being 20 again or something."

Dr. Gaines recommends two treatments a week for three weeks.

The procedure isn't offered in the Quad Cities.  The nearest urologists offering the therapy are in Peoria and Chicago.

GAINSWave therapy is not covered by insurance and can cost between $3000 and $5000 for the series of six treatments.

Studies are showing the effects can last up to two years.

TREATMENT: Treatment for ED varies based on the root cause. Patients may be asked to change certain habits, such as stopping drug use, alcohol, or tobacco. Doctors may recommend they seek treatment for emotional or relationship problems/conflicts, depression and performance anxiety. A patient may also be asked to change the way they take other medications. Another option is testosterone replacement therapy for those whose blood tests reveal low testosterone levels. Dietary supplements are popular for ED but they may not be safe so be sure to check with your health care provider before taking any. Other treatments include vacuum erection devices, oral drugs, drugs in the penis, or surgery.    (Source: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/treatment)

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.