It is normal for men to occasionally have difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection. Erectile dysfunction is only diagnosed when you have an ongoing problem.
In order for you to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, you will need to provide a medical history and undergo a thorough physical exam. You may also need to submit to some additional tests to determine the specific cause of your impotence so that it can be treated.
Erectile Dysfunction Physical Exam
The physical exam for ED begins with a complete medical history. You’ll be asked some questions that you may find embarrassing, but it’s important to answer honestly. Be prepared to share:
- Your medical history
- Information about medications you are taking
- Any psychological issues that may be contributing to your ED (e.g., stress, depression)
- Information about your erections, sexual partners, and sex life
The ED physical exam will include a thorough examination of your penis, testes, prostate, rectum, and abdomen. It will also include an examination of the nerves to see if you are able to feel sensations in and around your penis.
ED Blood Tests
Blood tests for ED are used to check for low testosterone levels, diabetes, thyroid problems, high cholesterol, and other potential health issues.
ED Urine Tests
Urine tests for ED (also known as urinalysis) can be used to detect diabetes, kidney disease, and low testosterone levels.
Ultrasound and ED
An ultrasound takes pictures of the inside of the penis using sound waves. The test is done with a wand-like device (transducer) that is gently passed over the penis. The transducer transmits the images to a computer screen. Before having an ultrasound, you may have medication injected into your penis to bring on an erection.
The ultrasound tests for ED risk factors such as venous leak, clogged arteries, and tissue scarring.
Overnight Erection Test (Nocturnal Penile Tumescence)
Since erections are common while sleeping, an overnight erection test checks to see if you are having erections during your sleep. The test is done by wrapping tape around the penis. If the tape splits during the night, then you most likely had an erection. The purpose of the overnight erection test is to determine if the cause of your erectile dysfunction is physical or psychological.
Psychological Exam for ED
The ED psychological exam is designed to verify whether or not your impotence is being caused by emotional, rather than physical issues. It will consist of questions about stress, depression, performance anxiety, and relationship issues. If it is determined that the cause of your ED is psychological, you may be referred to a psychologist for further evaluation.
For more information on ED tests and ED diagnosis, contact Dr. Leroy Jones, urologist, of San Antonio.