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GAINSWave For ED: Reviews, Cost & More

Katelyn Brenner FNP

Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 06/17/2021

Updated 10/15/2023

We could debate what two words are most dreaded in a guy’s life, but alongside “tax audit” and “season-ending,” we’re willing to bet that erectile dysfunction (ED) would make the shortlist. 

Around 30 million men in the United States deal with ED, and while medications like Viagra® and Cialis® are effective for some, others have to look elsewhere for treatments.

If you haven’t seen results from medication, a procedure marketed under the name GAINSWave® might have gotten on your radar. 

Got questions? We’ve got answers. Below we’ve explained what GAINSWave is and how it works, and answered questions about its cost, effectiveness and the risks associated with it. Here’s what you need to know.

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GAINSWave is a low-intensity shock wave therapy device designed to help manage erectile dysfunction. 

Now, if giving your penis a sonic blast sounds a little dangerous, take a deep breath. It’s not what you think.

While high-frequency waves are often used by urologists to break up harder materials like kidney stones, these low-intensity shock waves (also referred to as low-intensity, extracorporeal shock wave therapy) are a non-invasive treatment for erectile dysfunction. 

Most ED treatments just help you manage symptoms, but shock therapy purports to restore erectile function so that you can achieve erections without assistance from treatments like ED pills. 

Brands like PhoenixPro® and GAINSWave use shockwave therapy to restore erectile function — basically, this means they focus sound waves on a specific organ to increase blood supply to the affected area and encourage improvement in its function.

According to GAINSWave, this procedure breaks up micro-plaque buildup in blood vessels and encourages the formation of new blood cells in the penis. It might even improve nerve health and sensitivity. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do.

The truth is that while treatments like GAINSWave have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for conditions like plantar fasciitis — inflammation in the tissue between the heel and toes — ED shockwave therapy is not yet FDA-approved.

Shockwave therapy is recognized as a viable treatment method for ED in men who have a poor response to conventional treatments, but there’s currently only modest data to show that GAINSWave treatment could work. 

A study of 76 men with vascular ED who had once-a-week shockwave treatment for four weeks found that those 40 showed modest improvement in erectile function compared with 36 others given a placebo treatment. 

Another study — which was very small, with just 20 patients — put participants through six 20-minute treatment sessions. After those six sessions, about 80 percent of them saw improvements in their performance. 

A final study of 31 participants had them use a shockwave procedure for four weeks. In a three month follow-up,  all experienced significant improvements in erectile function.

However, all authors of these studies emphasized that more research is necessary to determine if shockwave therapy can help patients.

Most guys would agree that there’s no cost too great for good sexual health, and if sound waves are an effective treatment for ED, they would be ready to open their wallets. That said, a single GAINSWave session can typically cost around $500, give or take.

But it’s important to know that you’re not just going to be swiping a credit card one time.

Low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy requires a number of sessions, but the specific amount of treatment men will need to see results varies from person to person.

GAINSWave may require six to 12 sessions (usually lasting for 20 to 30 minutes each) for satisfactory results. But remember that there’s not a lot of certainty about success rates for this procedure, so you could be looking at a lot of follow-up appointments.

It’s also not a procedure that most (or any) insurers will cover, especially since it’s not FDA-approved as a treatment for ED.

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Shock therapy is relatively safe, but aside from the risk that the treatment won’t work, there are some potential adverse effects you should know about.

Some of the side effects may include:

  • Infection of the penile skin

  • Painful erections

  • Difficulty having sex following pain or an infection 

  • Penile skin bruising

  • Pooling of blood under the skin

Urologists and other healthcare professionals will tell you about these risks, alongside whatever testimonials they share. But to avoid serious risks to your health, tell your provider about any heart or men’s health conditions you’re being treated for, as well as any medications you may be taking.

And be ready for their medical advice to point you towards other ways to deal with sexual function issues, including medications.

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If you aren’t certain that the GAINSWave procedure is for you, there are alternatives that are trusted and science-backed methods for managing your ED.

These are just some of the ways a healthcare provider can help you manage your ED without sonic waves — and they’re likely covered by your health insurance.

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For the treatment of erectile dysfunction, shockwave therapy for ED might be the future. For now, however, it’s not the best or most proven option

If you’re trying to return to a past era of spontaneous erections, high sex drive and a generally satisfying sex life, you need to go with a treatment plan that includes proven methods. When you’re exploring your options, here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Shockwave therapy may be the ideal treatment for some kinds of ED, but there are many different types and causes of ED to consider.

  • Organic causes of ED include damage to blood vessels, nervous system injuries or disorders, the side effects of medications, diabetes and Peyronie’s disease

  • Low-intensity extracorporeal therapy is typically reserved for people who do not experience satisfactory results after using PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra and Cialis

Trying to plot a course back to great sex? We can help.

Learn more about the different ED medications and management options for erectile dysfunction in our guide to the most common erectile dysfunction treatments and drugs. And if you’re ready to try a proven treatment, reach out today.

12 Sources

  1. Lei, H., Liu, J., Li, H., Wang, L., Xu, Y., Tian, W., Lin, G., & Xin, Z. (2013). Low-intensity shock wave therapy and its application to erectile dysfunction. The world journal of men's health, 31(3), 208–214. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3888889/.
  2. Dhaliwal A, Gupta M. PDE5 Inhibitors. [Updated 2023 Apr 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/.
  3. How much does shockwave therapy for Ed cost?: Treatment: Erectile dysfunction. GAINSWave. (2022). https://gainswave.com/erectile-dysfunction/treatment/shockwave-therapy/how-much-does-shockwave-therapy-for-ed-cost/.
  4. Ocampo, A. (2020). How long does shock wave therapy take to work?. Retrieved from https://gainswave.com/erectile-dysfunction/treatment/how-long-does-shock-wave-therapy-take-to-work/
  5. Reddy, B., Nehra, A., Kirubakaran, R., Sindhwani, P., Tharyan, P., & Jung, J. H. (2018). Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2018(11), CD013166. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6516845/.
  6. Vita, R., Benvenga, S., Giammusso, B., & La Vignera, S. (2019). Determinants of Early Response to Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwaves for the Treatment of Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction: An Open-Label, Prospective Study. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 1017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678562/.
  7. Ruffo, A., Capece, M., Prezioso, D., Romeo, G., Illiano, E., Romis, L., Di Lauro, G., & Iacono, F. (2015). Safety and efficacy of low intensity shockwave (LISW) treatment in patients with erectile dysfunction. International braz j urol : official journal of the Brazilian Society of Urology, 41(5), 967–974. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756974/.
  8. Vinay, J., Moreno, D., Rajmil, O. et al. (2021). Penile low intensity shock wave treatment for PDE5I refractory erectile dysfunction: a randomized double-blind sham-controlled clinical trial. World J Urol 39, 2217–2222. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343109790_Penile_low_intensity_shock_wave_treatment_for_PDE5I_refractory_erectile_dysfunction_a_randomized_double-blind_sham-controlled_clinical_trial.
  9. Summary of safety and effectiveness data general information device. (n.d.). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf4/P040026b.pdf.
  10. Treatment: Erectile dysfunction. GAINSWave. (2022). https://gainswave.com/erectile-dysfunction/treatment/shockwave-therapy.
  11. Gruenwald, I., Appel, B., Kitrey, N. D., & Vardi, Y. (2013). Shockwave treatment of erectile dysfunction. Therapeutic advances in urology, 5(2), 95–99. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607492/.
  12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Definition & facts for erectile dysfunction - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/definition-facts.
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