How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?
How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed? It is important to find a doctor who knows how to diagnose erectile dysfunction accurately, because identifying the underlying cause is essential for choosing the most effective treatment.
How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed? A doctor typically begins by reviewing your medical history, performing a thorough physical examination, and asking questions about your lifestyle habits and sexual history. Honest answers to these questions, some of which will be very personal, are essential for identifying the cause of erectile dysfunction. An example of the questions your doctor may ask you include the following:
- * What medications or drugs are you currently taking? This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements, illegal drugs, and alcohol.
- * Are you experiencing anxiety, depression, or stress?
- * When did you first notice signs of erectile dysfunction?
- * Under what circumstances do you experience erectile dysfunction?
- * How often do you experience erections?
- * Do you experience erections at night or early in the morning?
- * What sexual techniques do you use?
- * Are you experiencing problems with your current relationship?
- * Do you have more than one sexual partner?
- * If you have more than one sexual partner, do you experience erectile dysfunction with each of them?
How is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed? Tests
Now we move on to the next part of answering how is erectile dysfunction diagnosed, and it involves testing. Any one or more of the following tests may be recommended by your doctor, depending on what your examination and answers revealed.
- Arteriography involves injecting dye into an artery that is suspected of being damaged. A damaged artery can reduce blood flow to the penis and lead to erectile dysfunction
- Blood hormone testing involves measuring blood levels of testosterone and/or prolactin to determine if they are abnormal, as they can impact the ability to get an erection.
- Bulbocavernosus reflex is a test during which the doctor squeezes the head of the penis. If the rectum immediately contracts, nerve function is normal, but if there is a delayed reaction, this indicates nerve dysfunction.
- Cavernosography is used along with dynamic infusion cavernosometry and involves injecting a dye into the penis. An x-ray of the penis will reveal if there is a venous leak.
- Complete blood count (CBC) is a panel of blood tests that can detect many conditions, including anemia, which can cause fatigue and in turn cause erectile dysfunction.
- Duplex ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to take an image to evaluate blood flow and look for signs of tissue scarring, venous leak, or artherosclerosis, all of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. The test is conducted both when the penis is erect (which may require an injection of a drug to achieve) and when it is flaccid.
- Dynamic infusion cavernosometry is used in men with erectile dysfunction who have a venous leak. The test involves pumping fluid into the penis and measuring the rate necessary to achieve a rigid erection.
- Lipid profile is a blood test that measures levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. High levels suggest atherosclerosis, which in turn can hinder blood flow in the penis.
- Liver and kidney function tests involve evaluating a blood sample to determine whether abnormalities in liver or kidney function are the cause of erectile dysfunction.
- Nocturnal penile tumescence measures erectile function while a man is sleeping. Typically, men have five or six erections during sleep, and the absence of such erections may indicate a problem with blood circulation or nerve function. This test can be done in one or two ways: by wrapping three plastic bands of different lengths around the penis and measuring erectile function based on which band breaks during the night; or placing elastic bands around the base and tip of the penis and noting how much the bands stretch during the night. Read more on the nocturnal erection test
- Penile biothesiometry involves the use of electromagnetic vibrations to measure sensitivity and nerve function. Men with reduced sensitivity to the vibrations may have nerve damage.
- PSA test may reveal the possibility of BPH or an infection (acute bacterial prostatitis or chronic bacterial prostatitis), both of which may complicate erectile dysfunction.
- Urinalysis is an evaluation of urine, which can reveal abnormalities associated with erectile dysfunction, including diabetes, kidney disease, and testosterone deficiency
- Vasoactive injection is given to dilate the blood vessels in the penis to produce an erection.
If you are experiencing persistent problems achieving and maintaining an erection, it is recommended you see a trusted healthcare provider and ask, how is erectile dysfunction diagnosed, and then work with your doctor to diagnose and identify the cause so you can get prompt, effective treatment.