Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction)
Exams and Tests
Because both physical and mental factors are often involved, it may be difficult to diagnose the exact cause of your erection problem.
To start, your doctor may:
- Review your risk factors for an erection problem.
- Ask Reference questions about your sexual function.
- Do a complete physical exam of the abdomen, penis, prostate, rectum, and testicles.
- Do lab tests for:
- Reference Testosterone. A low level of testosterone may reduce sexual desire, leading to an erection problem.
- Reference Prolactin, Reference follicle-stimulating hormone, and Reference luteinizing hormone. If you have low testosterone levels, your doctor may recommend these blood tests.
- Reference Thyroid hormone. A thyroid hormone level that is too high or too low may cause problems with sexual desire or erections.
- Reference Blood sugar (glucose) levels. A high blood sugar level may mean the presence of Reference diabetes Opens New Window, which can contribute to erection problems.
At this point, pills such as sildenafil (for example, Viagra), tadalafil (for example, Cialis), and vardenafil (for example, Levitra) are often recommended unless an easily treated cause (such as a medicine side effect or testosterone deficiency) has been identified.
If pills don't work or if your doctor feels more testing is needed, he or she may recommend:
- Reference Specific tests for erection problems. These tests help find out whether physical or mental factors are causing your erection problem.
- A psychological evaluation, if a mental issue is suspected.
An Reference ultrasound may be done if your doctor thinks you may have a circulation problem (Reference peripheral arterial disease Opens New Window).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology