How Erectile Dysfunction Is Diagnosed

How Erectile Dysfunction Is Diagnosed

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

About five percent of men who are 40 years of age have complete erectile dysfunction (ED); that number increases to 15 percent for 70-year-olds. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection that is firm enough for sex.

ED can be triggered by stress, a reduction in sexual desire, or an underlying health issue. One’s ability to get and maintain an erection requires the proper functioning of psychologic, neurologic, endocrine, vascular, and local anatomic systems combined. 

For this reason, diagnosing the condition typically involves a variety of testing. Let’s explore how this is done.

Testing for ED

Your clinician will first ask a series of questions. It’s best to keep track of when your symptoms started and how long they’ve been a problem, because these answers will be important in this phase of diagnosis.

There are many risk factors associated with ED, from medical conditions such as high blood pressure to psychological conditions such as stress, depression, or anxiety. The list of possible triggers is boundless, so your physician will begin with an evaluation of your medical history.

Your doctor may also ask you to fill out a questionnaire that answers how confident you are about keeping an erection, whether you have erections when you wake up in the morning, how often you find sexual intercourse satisfying, and how often you’re able to climax, orgasm, and ejaculate.

While these topics may feel taboo to discuss, doing so can make all the difference in solving your erectile issues. Remember that a urologist diagnoses and treats health issues like these every day, so there is no reason to be embarrassed.

Examination Techniques for Erectile Dysfunction 

Your urologist will conduct a physical exam of the testes and penis – which will test for sensation and other issues. This exam will also confirm whether there may be an issue with the nerve endings in these areas.

Your doctor may direct you to have lab work done if you haven’t already done so. Both urinalysis and blood draws will help to diagnose many different health conditions, and they will also indicate whether heart disease, diabetes, or low testosterone levels are to blame for your ED.

Radiology imaging is integral to the field of medicine and to diagnosing of health issues. Ultrasound – which is a commonly known type of radiology due to its role in pregnancy – is beneficial for detecting poor blood flow in the genital area, as well as recording the speed and direction of blood flow.

Psychological Causes for ED

There is sometimes a psychological factor involved in health conditions such as ED, so a mental health evaluation may be a necessary part of your diagnosis. NYU Langone Health estimates that approximately 10 percent of ED cases have a psychological component; ED due to psychological reasons tends to be more common in younger men. 

If you’re experiencing extreme stress at work, or you have a history of depression, it may be impacting you sexually. The most common mental triggers for erectile dysfunction are fear of sexual failure, depression, and stress. 

Who Can Help Treat My ED?

Seeking the medical advice of a reputable and trustworthy urologist can help you get back to feeling like yourself again. Led by board-certified urologist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, Urology Specialists of Milford diagnoses and treats a variety of men’s health issues – including low testosterone, male infertility, and ED. 

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (508) 473-6333 or fill out our appointment request form here. We look forward to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness so you can enjoy life to the fullest.