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Crowdsourcing Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction


There are many things – both physical and psychological – that can cause erectile dysfunction. Sometimes ED can be a symptom of a serious underlying medical condition, so men who are experiencing ED should see their doctor.

Sometimes the doctor can’t provide immediate answers. It may be difficult to determine the cause, or there may be several treatment options to consider. Men often turn to online discussion forums to share their experiences and learn from others’ experiences.

Crowdsourcing Healthcare

There is a new website, Stuff That Works, that is taking the concept of community-sourced healthcare information to a new level. The idea behind the site is simple: people can share information about their health issues (including erectile dysfunction), describing their symptoms, treatments they’ve tried, and how well the treatments worked. With enough data, the site should be able to provide a useful picture of the most effective treatments.

The site provides more information as the number of responses increases. Currently there are over 100 responses in the Erectile Dysfunction category; the site won’t release full information and recommendations until there are at least 500 responses.

Initial Review fo Stuff That Works

Although Stuff That Works is still a work in progress, we reviewed the current site. There are currently over 100 responses on the ED section; 32 users have made their full reports public.

Reading the full reports is interesting; it gives an idea of what treatments men are trying, and how they feel about those treatments.

Some of the questions lead to ambiguous responses.

For example, there is a question about the effectiveness of treatments. If a man considers the fact that Viagra allows him to have an erection, he might rate the treatment as very effective. On the other hand, Viagra does not cure erectile dysfunction, so he might rate the treatment as ineffective.

Reviewing the Treatment Data

There is a section of the website that shows the most-used treatments (conclusions about the most effective treatments will not be displayed until the site has gathered at least 500 responses).

The treatment list has some issues that may lead to the wrong conclusions. It appears that the treatment names are taken directly from the user responses; there seems to be no effort to curate or organize the responses. Issues arise when the users choose different terms for the same or similar treatments.


The site lists 2 reports of Penis Pumps, and 1 report of Vacuum Erection Devices; these are actually the same treatment.

The site lists 3 reports of Shockwave Therapy and 1 of Low-intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (LI-ESWT); these are two names for the same treatment. They also list 1 report of the Phoenix and 1 report of the Rocket. In our opinion, these reports should be included in the total for Shockwave Therapy.

The site lists 1 report of Penile Implants, and 1 report for the Titan Touch Penile Implant, and 1 report for the AMS 700 Penile Implant. In our opinion, the Titan Touch and AMS 700 reports should be included in the general category of Penile Implants.

The site lists 2 reports for Penile Injections. It also lists 5 reports for Trimix, and one report for Quadmix; In our opinion, these reports should be included in the total for Penile Injections.

We found similar issues for prescription ed medications, herbal supplements, exercise, and so on.

Drilling Down on Treatment Data

We clicked on the Shockwave Therapy, which says that it in based on three reports, and saw the following table:

This breakdown indicates that there were at least 5 responses… not 3!

We then clicked the arrows to see the actual reports. Two out of the three arrows led to blank reports:


We’re excited about the idea of Stuff That Works, but we think the site still needs work. It’s also going to take time to gather enough data to draw meaningful conclusions.

Signing up for the site and filling out a report takes about 15 minutes; the process is pretty interesting. We hope enough people will join and share their experiences to make this a useful resource.

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