Sex is everywhere – social media, TV, movies, music, and even unexpected places like schools and workplaces have sex up for discussion. But the one place where sex is not discussed often enough is the doctor’s office.
And as a sexual health specialist, you know this all too well. Whether it’s from embarrassment or from pure unknowing, many patients don’t discuss their sexual health with their physicians. This omission can prevent patients from achieving an optimal sex life.
Sex should be enjoyable regardless of a patient’s age. But many patients who do seek treatment for their sexual dysfunction are also reluctant to undergo conventional treatments like hormone replacement therapies.
So what then? It may come as a surprise when we say you should consider platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy as an option.
PRP has already been used widely in other fields like dermatology and wound healing, but its potential applications in sexual health remains less explored. But we believe PRP could be a powerful addition to any sexual health clinician’s toolbox.
So, could PRP rejuvenate your patients’ sexual health? Let’s look at some of the evidence we have so far.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual disorders in adult men, affecting 12% to 19% of men of reproductive age.1 This prevalence increases to between 20% and 40% in men aged 60 to 69 years and between 50% and 100% in those aged 70 and over.2 As the world population ages, the prevalence of ED is expected to increase.
Despite the high prevalence of ED, it may come as a surprise to many that there aren’t a whole lot of treatment options available. As a result, ED imposes a substantial burden on men and their partners. One meta-analysis revealed that ED increased the risk of depression in men by 192%.3 ED doesn’t just impact men though. One survey study from Sweden showed that 82% of female partners of men with ED were sexually dissatisfied.4
Conventional treatments don’t reverse the underlying pathophysiology of ED. Could PRP offer any hope? Though early, studies suggest PRP may be able to reverse or block the progression of ED through key mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory, reparative, neuroprotective, and neurotrophic effects.5
In the only randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted and published thus far, 60 men received either PRP or placebo intracavernosal injections. At the 6-month follow-up visit, 69% of men in the PRP group achieved the “minimally clinically important difference,” or MCID, in the International Index of Erectile Function. Only 27% of the men in the placebo group achieved MCID.6
This is quite an impressive difference between the PRP group and control group.
Vaginal atrophy affects up to 45% of postmenopausal women.7 Recognized symptoms include:8
Unfortunately, only a small portion of affected patients seek treatment. First-line therapies include long-acting vaginal moisturizers and a short course of low-dose vaginal estrogen and hormonal replacement therapies (HRTs). While HRTs can be effective, several clinical trials like the Women’s Health Initiative have raised alarms about their potential detrimental effects. As a result, many patients are reluctant to use estrogen-based therapies, causing many reproductive health specialists to look for alternatives.
In 2017, Kim and colleagues published a case study in which a 67-year-old female patient with vaginal atrophy was treated using lipofilling mixed with PRP. This treatment corrected the missing fullness of the labia majora and resolved the lichen sclerosus. While the results were limited to this single case, it shows that the combination of lipofilling and PRP may provide pleasing outcomes both in terms of symptom relief and cosmetic appearance of the external genitalia.9
Arousal and orgasmic disorders are common causes of sexual dysfunction among women. In the vagina, the lower one-third of the anterior region has more nerves. This is evident during penis-vagina penetration, as the response of the distal anterior vaginal wall is greater than the other parts of the vagina. Some experts believe PRP treatment may be able to improve sexual dysfunction by increasing collagen formation and neovascularization in the anterior vaginal wall.
A study by Sukgen and colleagues investigated the effectiveness of vaginal PRP in female patients with sexual dysfunction. Prior to PRP treatment, the patients had an average total score of 13.61±3.78 (mean ± standard deviation) on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. After the treatment, the total score of FSFI increased dramatically to 27.88±4.80, and 50% of cases had a total score of over 26. The subdomains of FSFI (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) also showed significant positive changes. Surprisingly, these effects were seen after just the first session of PRP.10
The investigators of the study concluded, “As a minimally invasive method, PRP administration to the distal anterior vaginal wall may improve female sexuality with high satisfaction.”
It’s natural for physicians to be skeptical of anything new, especially something that’s not FDA-approved. But the fact is PRP treatments are not subject to FDA approval. Because it’s an autologous product prepared with minimal manipulation, it falls under the FDA Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21 Part 1271. This means PRP treatments do not follow FDA’s traditional regulatory pathway.11 And countless studies in the literature can attest to the outstanding safety profile of PRP treatments.
But that doesn’t mean all PRP preparations are equal. A poor quality PRP kit results in low platelet concentrations. This means low amounts of growth factors that are responsible for all the healing benefits – and less than optimal results for patients.
Dr. PRP is different. The patented design of Dr. PRP kits creates a highly concentrated and high quality PRP in a matter of minutes.
Want to add PRP treatments to your sexual health clinic? Check out our kits and centrifuges. Our friendly customer service reps can also answer any questions you may have. Just call us at (844) 377-7787 (DR-PRP-US).