Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy for BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) or enlarged prostate has been researched and found to be beneficial. Let us learn a little about BPH and then look at relevant clinical research. Several cell studies, pilot studies and RCTs can help us see how PEMF therapy benefits BPH, prostate cancer and male sexual wellness issues such as erectile dysfunction.
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
According to an article by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidneys Diseases (NIDDKD), when the prostate is enlarged it can result in complications. These include problems include frequent urination, urinary tract infections (UTIs), erectile dysfunction1 and damage the kidneys and bladder. When the enlargement becomes severe, urination might not be possible and it becomes a medical emergency.
The Urology Care Foundation says that half of all men between 51 – 60 have BPH and up to 90% of men over 80 have BPH. Most BPH patients would have heard of drugs like Alpha blockers, 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors and other combination therapies. In most cases these drug therapies have side-effects or invasive procedures requiring surgery. Therefore, a drug-free and side-effect free adjunct treatment such as PEMF therapy can be of great value.
How PEMF therapy benefits BPH, Prostate Cancer & Erectile Dysfunction
To understand how PEMF therapy can benefit BPH and potentially reduce prostate enlargement, it’s important to understand the cause of BPH as well. Fibrosis and chronic inflammation of lower urinary tract are some of the logical explanations of how BPH may develop.
Fibrosis is the result of chronic inflammatory reactions induced by a variety of stimuli including persistent infections, weakening immune system, allergies, drug side-effects, radiation, and injury. Most of these factors slant to the negative side with age, so we can see why it is common to have BPH with age. BPH is an aging related disorder, i.e., falling cellular regeneration capability.
PEMF therapy has been extensively researched for pain management and orthopaedic disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. Hence, PEMF research on specific use cases such as its benefits for BPH has been a natural progression of research and development.
The molecular action of pulsed electromagnetic fields is such that they boost the energy capacity of the cell. Almost all cells repair better in a conducive magnetic field. Cellular studies of fibrosis reveal that cytokines IL-13, IL-21 and TGF-β1, along with other growth factors regulate fibrosis2. In 2017, an article published by German scientists confirmed that PEMF does indeed have beneficial effects on interlukins and Transforming Growth Factors (TGF-β)3.
In 2008, scientists from South Korea published a cell study where they found that utilizing a 60 Hz Sinusoidal wave pulsed electromagnetic field reduced symptoms of prostate cancer4.
In 2017, scientists from Cairo University and Ahlia university (Bahrain) conducted a randomised clinical trial to study the effects of PEMF therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia5. They utilized a high-intensity PEMF system and concluded that PEMF had significant positive impact on the treatment of BPH and is a safe, non-invasive method.
PEMF for Sexual Wellness
In an age where use of sex toys is pervasive, it’s pertinent that people be aware of the dangers of using such products. It’s easy to find vested interest articles today that promote sex toys for sexual wellness. While prostate massage does indeed have therapeutic effects, its advised to be done under professional supervision. Health advisories such as NHS could also take initiatives to find the dangers of sex toys on the tissue level and not just for infections.
One of the pioneers of PEMF research from the United States, Dr. Sandyk published case studies where he found PEMF improves sexual dysfunction6. We’ve received reports from many male PEMF users that it does indeed result in morning wood when used appropriately during sleep. We could interpret this benefit due to improved tissue health.
PEMF has an anti-inflammatory effect on the molecular level allowing the body to regenerate and the cells to self-repair. This could prevent inflammatory conditions which in-turn could prevent various related conditions such as BPH, erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer. Available research on PEMF for BPH and prostate cancer is encouraging, although we do need to see more studies in this area.
PEMF being a safe and non-invasive complementary therapy can potentially provide substantial relief and prevent age-related disorders. Besides, PEMF also boosts mood and reduces depression and can also improve sexual wellness in a whole different way!
- 1.Glina S, Glina F. Pathogenic mechanisms linking benign prostatic hyperplasia, lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction. Ther Adv Urol. 2013;5(4):211-218. doi:10.1177/1756287213488236
- 2.Wynn T. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis. J Pathol. 2008;214(2):199-210. doi:10.1002/path.2277
- 3.Funk R. Coupling of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) therapy to molecular grounds of the cell. Am J Transl Res. 2018;10(5):1260-1272. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29887943
- 4.Koh E, Ryu B, Jeong D, Bang I, Nam M, Chae K. A 60-Hz sinusoidal magnetic field induces apoptosis of prostate cancer cells through reactive oxygen species. Int J Radiat Biol. 2008;84(11):945-955. doi:10.1080/09553000802460206
- 5.Elgohary H, Tantawy S. Pulsed electromagnetic field with or without exercise therapy in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Phys Ther Sci. 2017;29(8):1305-1310. doi:10.1589/jpts.29.1305
- 6.Sandyk R. AC pulsed electromagnetic fields-induced sexual arousal and penile erections in Parkinson’s disease. Int J Neurosci. 1999;99(1-4):139-149. doi:10.3109/00207459908994320