Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects many men at different points in their life. While it seems to be discussed ad nauseum, not all men really understand erectile dysfunction. Sure, the common knowledge is that it’s a penis problem and can be easily cured with a little blue pill. However, that’s not the truth of the matter. A lot of times, ED goes deeper into a man’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
Erectile Dysfunction Explained
The first point that needs to be made about ED is that it’s a persistent problem. This means that if at least 25 percent of the time a man cannot get or maintain an erection when he “summons” it, he may have erectile dysfunction. It is a chronic condition, which implies that it is consistent and, while it can be treated, it cannot, for simplicity’s sake, be cured.
Let’s also take a moment to debunk a common myth: men of any age can have erectile dysfunction. It is not something that only affects older men. That also means that not all older men have ED. However, the risk of getting ED increases significantly as a man ages.
Finally, it must be understood that erectile dysfunction doesn’t look the same for every man. Some can’t get an erection at all, while others can get an erection occasionally. Some men can get an erection but can’t maintain it. There’s a lot of range to ED, but that also means there’s a wide range for testing and treatment.
What Factors Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
To understand the diagnosis process for ED, it’s important to understand that it can manifest due to a wide range of causes. For some men, it’s all psychological. Men who are depressed, feeling anxiety, or having body issues can have ED. The most common factor, however, is men who have a disease may be experiencing erectile dysfunction as a symptom of their initial or root disease. This includes diseases and afflictions such as:
– High blood pressure
– High cholesterol
– Heart disease
– Multiple sclerosis
Erectile Dysfunction: Tests for Diagnosis
There are many options for diagnosing erectile dysfunction. The most common are:
1) Physical Exam. It makes sense to inspect the equipment for any bruising, excessive scar tissue, lumps, or an excessive curve in the penis, which could be Peyronie’s disease, and to see what the sensation is like during the exam. This exam will include both the testicles and the penis.
2) Blood Tests. A blood sample may be drawn to check for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels, and other health conditions.
3) Urine test. Like blood tests, this test is also used to look for ED-related illnesses such as diabetes.
4) Psychological Exam. The doctor may ask questions to screen for depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
5) Ultrasound. The most physically invasive of the tests, ultrasound is performed by a specialist. He or she will hold a wand-like device over the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. A video image of the test will be given to the treating physician for review to see if blood flow is the issue. This test can also be done in concert with injections of medication into the penis, which cause the stimulation of blood flow and production of an erection.
After testing, the doctor will make a diagnosis and a specific treatment plan. Most times, erections will return with treatment.