Wondering if you have ED or not? A Urologist is a specialist you should approach. Urologists are doctors that specialize in the areas related to the urinary tract and male reproductive system. There are various types of tests for erectile dysfunction indication and confirmation. The urologists don’t jump to the tests immediately and take various other steps to identify the causes of erectile dysfunction. To confirm if you have ED, a urologist might do and suggest the following –
Detailed Medical History
This is not a test, but any further tests and treatments would be based on your medical history. Therefore, a urologist would start by taking a detailed medical history to understand any pre-existing health conditions. The questions under medical history would be based on any injuries or surgeries you might have had, any ongoing or past medication, lifestyle choices, drug intake, smoking, and drinking habits, or any other issue that might aid your doctor in eliminating or confirming ED.
The questions would also be related to your sexual activities – relationships, frequency, issues, erection, duration, orgasm, ejaculation, sexual arousal, drive, satisfaction after intercourse, etc. The key is to talk freely with your doctor on the topic.
For a fruitful experience, be honest with your urologist.
A urologist would undertake a physical examination to look for any signs of any underlying diseases (Blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). The examination would also include a thorough examination of the genitals to understand the appearance, the level of sensitivity towards the touch, signs of prostate enlargement, abnormality in the size of the breasts, etc. The examination helps in identifying the physical reasons for ED by analyzing the signs through examination.
Mental Health and Psychological Evaluation
Your mental health is an important factor that contributes to your sexual life. To assess that your ED is not driven by psychological conditions or an unhealthy mental state, a psychological evaluation might be conducted.
The evaluation would be done based on a questionnaire that would be built upon personal questions related to your life. The evaluation would be based on anxiety issues (performance or otherwise), stress levels, depression, type of relationships, sexual arousal, or other mental health disorders. These would help in identifying any psychological or emotional issues as causes of erectile dysfunction.
Lab tests: Blood and Urine
Post the physical examination, if the urologist deems it necessary, blood tests to measure blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and hormones might be done. In addition to these, various organ functioning tests such as Liver, Kidney, thyroid, etc., can also be prescribed. The different types of tests for erectile dysfunction help in identifying the underlying issues that could be the cause of erectile dysfunction, thereby aiding in its effective treatment.
A urologist can prescribe some imaging tests to get a clear idea of the causes of erectile dysfunction. Following imaging tests can be undertaken –
Ultrasonography or Penile Doppler Ultrasound –
This imaging test is primarily done to check the flow of blood in the penis. The test is harmless. It is a non-invasive test that works with sound waves to show the state of the penile arteries for further evaluation. The images were produced to give readings of the speed and direction of the blood flow.
This test can be performed in combination with an injection test to better stimulate the blood flow and produce an erection for clear readings of the ultrasound.
Pelvic x-rays –
- Arteriography, MRI, or CT scan can be done in case of a history of trauma or cancer. These are seldom done.
- Pharmacologic cavernosometry and cavernosography –
- These tests are performed to evaluate penile veins, thus helping in identifying any leakage in the veins.
- Injection tests
It is also known as an intracavernosal injection, it is a test wherein the expert injects a drug (vascular stimulant) into the penis or urethra to cause an erection. This helps the expert in analyzing the firmness and duration for which the erection stays and problems (if any) related to the blood flow.
At times injection tests are used in combination with stimulation, also known as the combined Intracavernous Injection and Stimulation (CIS) Test. In this test, a drug is injected into the penis, and visual or manual sexual stimulation is used to analyze the subsequent erection or the causes of erectile dysfunction.
ED self-test or Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) is an overnight test to check for erection during sleep. For this, one has to wear a battery-operated ring-like device around the penis to test for erections while one is sleeping at night. The device records the firmness, the number of erections, and the duration of the erections last. The data is then used for further assessment. The subject himself does this ED self-test to help in determining the causes of erectile dysfunction.
The medical history and the various types of tests for erectile dysfunction can help the urologist to determine the causes of erectile dysfunction. The causes can range from physical to psychological, depending on which appropriate treatment to treat ED could be undertaken.