Diagnostics of erectile dysfunction
In most cases, medical history and physical exam are enough for the doctor to diagnose erectile dysfunction and prescribe proper treatment. However, if you’re experiencing chronic health conditions or if your doctor suspects that underlying medical conditions may be a cause of your erectile dysfunction, your doctor might prescribe you further tests or a consultation with a specialist.
Tests for underlying health conditions may include:
- Physical exam that includes careful examination of your penis and testicles and checking your nerves for sensation.
- A urine test, also called urinalysis, is a laboratory examining your urine samples for signs of diabetes or other underlying health problems.
- Ultrasound diagnostics is a procedure that involves using a wand-like device (transducer) held over the blood vessels supplying the penis. This device creates a video image that helps your doctor determine if you have any blood flow issues. Occasionally, this test is combined with an injection of medications into the penis to stimulate blood flow, leading to an erection.
- Blood test. The doctor will check your blood sample in the lab for signs of diabetes, heart diseases, low testosterone levels and other medical conditions.
- Psychological exam. Your doctor will ask you some questions to see if you’re experiencing depression or other psychological conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction treatment
Firstly, your doctor will make sure you’re taking the proper treatment for any health problems that may contribute to or worsen your erectile dysfunction.
Oral medications for erectile dysfunction treatment
Sildenafil (Viagra), Avanafil (Stendra), Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis) are medications that enhance the nitric oxide effect in your body. Nitric oxide is produced by your body and relaxes penis muscles, consequently increasing blood flow and letting you get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
Taking one of the listed drugs won’t automatically generate an erection. In order for your penile nerves to release nitric oxide, you need sexual stimulation. These medications enhance the signal that allows the proper penile function.
It is important that these medications can be dangerous for some people, including:
- People who experience heart diseases or heart failure.
- Patients who take nitrate drugs. Such drugs are prescribed for people with chest pain.
- People with hypotension (low blood pressure).
Other methods of erectile dysfunction treatment
- Alprostadil intraurethral therapy. This procedure involves placing an alprostadil urethral suppository inside the penile urethra by a special applicator. Typically, the erection emerges in 10 minutes after application and lasts for about 30-60 minutes. Side effects of this treatment include mild bleeding in the urethra, burning sensations in the penis and development of fibrous tissue inside the penis.
- Alprostadil self-injection. This procedure involves injecting alprostadil into your penis using a thin needle. The injection is made into the base or side of your penis. Your doctor may also prescribe you penile injections with some medications for other conditions alone or in combination. Your doctor will prescribe such doses of medications that will result in an erection that lasts no longer than an hour. However, such treatment has side effects that include slight bleeding from the place of injection, prolonged erection, known as priapism, and sometimes fibrous tissue growth at the injection site.
- Testosterone replacement. Some cases of erectile dysfunction are caused or complicated by the low levels of testosterone (hormone) in the body. For such patients, testosterone replacement therapy may be beneficial in combination with other cure methods.
Penis pumps and implants for erectile dysfunction treatment
- A penis pump is a device aimed to create an erection. It is a hand-powered or battery-powered hollow tube pump. To use this device, you need to place the tube over your penis and start pumping it by sucking air inside the tube. By doing so, you will create a vacuum that pulls blood to your penis. After you get an erection, you need to place a tension ring around the base of the penis that will keep blood in the penis and remove the pump. Remove the tension ring after intercourse. Bruising of the penis and restriction of ejaculation by the band are the side effects of the pump. Also, your penis may feel cold to the touch.
- Penile implants. The procedure involves surgical implantation of the device into both penis sides. Such implants may consist of either malleable (bendable) or inflatable rods. You can control the duration of your erection with an inflatable device, whereas a malleable rod can hold your penis firmly but bendable. However, there is always the risk of infections after such a procedure, such as after any surgical intermittent.