When a man is having concerns about erectile dysfunction, it may take him a while to finally address the topic with his doctor. There may be a lot of anxiety and fear about a diagnosis and even about having the erectile dysfunction exam. We can ease some worry by giving you an overview and what to expect during an erectile dysfunction exam.
Erectile Dysfunction Defined
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined by not being able to get or keep an erection long enough or firm enough for sex. It is believed that up to 30 million men may have ED. If it only occurs rarely, it isn’t something to worry about. However, if it becomes progressive or happens routinely, it’s time to see urologist Peter Burrows, MD for an erectile dysfunction exam.
Three Underlying Causes of ED
You can experience ED due to three totally different reasons:
- When blood flow to the penis is limited or nerves have been harmed
- Emotional stress
- Due to more serious issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or hardening of the arteries known as atherosclerosis
Having high cholesterol, being obese, over the age of 50, a smoker, using drugs and alcohol to excess, and not exercising can all contribute to ED.
Therefore, you can expect the exam will be testing for all of the above issues.
Tests For Physical Issues
To diagnose any physical issues, expect urine tests, blood tests, and checks of your pulse at the wrist and ankles. A check of your penis and testicles is common to be sure they look normal. Dr. Burrows may look for hair loss or enlarged breasts as a sign of a hormonal problem. All of the typical tests you normally get for a physical exam, including blood pressure, will be performed.
In addition, there may be three special tests to confirm you can physically have an erection.
- The first is done overnight. Most men have 3 to 5 erections each night as they sleep. You place a ring device over your penis before sleep. If you have erections, the ring will break. If that is the case, then ED is not a physical issue, but could be emotional or mental.
- You may also have a Penile Doppler Ultrasound which is non-invasive. The physician holds a wand over your penis to detect blood flow.
- A third test is an injection test into the base of the penis which should give you an immediate erection. If you don’t get one, there is something wrong with blood flow.
Eliminating Physical Problems
If nothing physical seems to be causing your ED, other tests will look at depression and anxiety. Dr. Burrows will make recommendations or referrals to help solve this issue.
There are multiple treatments for ED and options for each cause. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your medications.
Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Burrows in Tucson, AZ. The sooner you discover the cause of ED, the sooner you can enjoy your sexual life again.
Contact urologist Peter Burrows, MD if you are experiencing issues with erectile dysfunction.