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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Introduction

The erection process in men is a compound effect of several processes that are linked with several body systems: vascular, psychological, neurological, and hormonal. Erectile dysfunction (ED) results when one is unable to attain and keep an erection that is deemed sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. The health problem is most common among aging demographics; however, it is also cited among young men. ED affects the quality of life for those affected including their social interactions with women. The most common cause of erectile dysfunction is microvascular or macrovascular insufficiencies. Whenever penile blood flow is interfered with as a result of reduced vascular perfusion, ED results. This is the most common cause of the condition. Some of the psychological factors that lead to ED include stress, anxiety, and depression. Irregular sleeping patterns and not having enough rest are contributors to ED as well. Other factors that predispose men to ED include diabetes, obesity, heart conditions, high blood pressure, and unhealthy habits such as excessive smoking and drinking. 

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Works

HBOT addresses ED by leading to angiogenesis. By prompting angiogenesis, there is an increased supply of blood vessels to the affected erectile tissues. Also, the increased oxygen supply is enough for the higher energy demands of cells involved in the formation of new blood vessels. Tissues around the penis portray higher vascular integrity which comprises suitable vascular dilatation as well as heightened blood flow to the cavernous sinusoidal system. HBOT reverses atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation associated with the formation of plaque around blood vessels, mostly arteries. The oxygen aids in the healing of the affected tissue and blood vessels in the penile region. The plaque that causes the damage mostly comprises cholesterol, smoke, and other harmful substances. The function of endothelial cells on blood vessels that form part of the penile organs is also boosted in the process. 

It is also recommended for those whose erectile dysfunction has proven unresponsive to oral pharmacotherapy with phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5) inhibitors such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis. HBOT is preferred for use for its overall impact on men’s health, beyond erectile dysfunction. HBOT also aids in avoiding intracavernous injections and surgical processes such as penile prostheses to treat ED. Increased tissue oxygen also leads to increased testosterone synthesis. HBOT also increases the efficiency of other forms of treatment such as hormone replacement theory. The latter is used to replenish testosterone in case the reason for ED is identified as reduced testosterone levels. Most people suffering from ED prefer HBOT since it is considered safe and non-invasive. The result of improved erectile function is improved sexual performance as well as overall confidence. This impacts positively on the quality of life as well.

References

Saffati, G., Naeem, T., Guhan, M., Abello, A., Hinojosa-Gonzalez, D. E., Kaaki, B., Stocks, B. T., Lipshultz, L. I., & Khera, M. (2023). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a treatment for erectile dysfunction: A meta-analysis. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 7(8). https://doi.org/10.1093/sxmrev/qead043

Sahin, M. O., Şen, V., Eser, E., Koc, E., Gumus, U., Karakuzu, C., & Ucer, O. (2018). The effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on erectile functions: A prospective clinical study. European Urology Supplements, 17(5), 206–211. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1569-9056(18)32613-7  

 

 

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