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Mens Health Magazine

This Might Be the New Cure For Erectile Dysfunction

​No drugs required

Yes, gaining a gut isn’t doing your penis any favors—research has already linked it to erectile dysfunction. But it’s possible that the fat cells in your gut may one day be hacked to do your erection some good, according to preliminary research from Denmark presented at the European Association of Urology conference.

Researchers looked at 21 men who were suffering from erectile dysfunction ED as a result of prostate surgery. Common ED meds, like Viagra, had been unable to help them get their erections back.

So the scientists wanted to see whether injecting their penises with stem cells harvested from their own abdominal fat cells might help. They chose abdominal stem cells because they were the kind most easily obtained through liposuction, says researcher Lars Lund, DMSci., a professor of urology at Odense University Hospital in Denmark.

Each participant received a single, stem-cell injection into their corpus cavernosum, a spongy, cylinder-like structure that runs the length of your penis. Out of the 14 men who were still urinary continent after their prostate surgery, over half of them regained their sexual function, meaning it effectively reversed their ED.

So how does this treatment work to improve your erection? It’s able to address the blood flow issues of ED on a cellular level, says Lund.

Basically, when your penis can’t spring a full erection, your penis tissue remains in a hypoxic state, which means it’s not getting enough oxygen. This can negatively affect blood flow—not enough blood can flow in to make you get hard. 

In the study, the abdominal stem cells prevented oxygen loss, allowing enough blood to go in and out, helping you get—and stay—hard, says Lund.

The study was particularly promising because its results suggest the treatment could work long term: The 57 percent of the guys who restored their erectile abilities were still going strong 12 months after their injection, too.

Now, the study was preliminary, and it does have some limitations For instance, it included only a small number of men, and only those who had ED as a result of prostate surgery. 

But the findings still may be applicable to men with other types of ED, says Lund. It could be especially useful for those with diabetes or high blood pressure, since those conditions usually involve blood flow dysfunction, Lund says. And that, of course, can affect erectile function and contribute to ED.

What’s more, this type of treatment may be preferable to temporary treatments like Viagra or injections like alprostadil because it has fewer side effects than those avenues. Also, it allows for more spontaneity, since you don’t have to pop a pill or get an injection beforehand to get hard, he adds. 


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