Getting Help/What to Expect
A doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. Be prepared to identify every medication you are taking. As many as 25% of erectile dysfunction cases are attributed to medications. Be prepared to answer questions about the frequency, quality, and duration of your erections. Your answers may help determine if primarily psychological and/or physiological factors are causing your impotence.
Because penile erection is a complex interaction of both halves of your autonomic (automatic) nervous system, your blood circulation, and your emotions, some symptoms may suggest a psychological issue. These can include problems as depression, and/or a medical problem such as diabetes.
Symptoms of these issues include:
- A less firm penis
- Fewer erections
- Fewer spontaneous nighttime erections
The doctor will examine your penis, testes, and rectum. If a physical cause is suspected, laboratory tests may be ordered. The following factors will be evaluated:
- Routine laboratory tests: Blood count, urinalysis, and a battery of blood chemistry tests will evaluate your general health.
- Testosterone: If you are over 50 years old or if your doctor suspects hypogonadism (small testes and reduced bodily hair), a blood test for testosterone will be ordered.
- Endocrine tests: Other endocrine tests may be ordered, such as TSH, prolactin, and fasting blood sugar.
- Nocturnal erections: Potent men have spontaneous erections at night. If you do not remember them because you were asleep, there are devices that can measure and record them.
- Psychology: There are always psychological factors associated with sexual functioning, whether they are the cause or just a result. You and possibly your partner may be given a questionnaire to help determine what emotional and psychological factors may be contributing to your condition.
Treatment involves the following:
- Lifestyles modifications
- Alternative and complementary therapies