Many men, when faced to erectile dysfunction, are reluctant to see a doctor.
There’s really no reason to be embarrassed! Over 30 million men in the United States have ED, so it’s an issue that doctors deal with regularly. It’s very important to see a doctor, because ED can be a symptom of a serious medical condition.
Your doctor will begin by asking questions about how often you experience ED. He may ask you to fill out a five-question form, the SHIM test for assessing ED. He’ll also ask questions about your health (do you smoke, how often do you drink alcohol, etc).
He will conduct a basic “check up,” listening to your heart and lungs, checking blood pressure, etc.
He will probably also order blood and urine tests.
- Blood tests will check for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone, hormone levels and other health problems.
- Simple urine tests will look for signs of diabetes and other underlying health conditions.
Based on these tests, your doctor should be able to determine the most likely cause of your ED, and recommend an appropriate treatment. The most common treatment is an oral medication like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra. If your doctor prescribes an oral medication, be sure to ask about generic forms, which are much cheaper.
He may also prescribe testosterone boosters if you have a testosterone deficiency,
If the oral medication is not effective, your doctor may raise the dosage, or ask you to try a different medication. (Some men respond better to one medication than another.)
If oral medications fail, you’ll need to have a follow up session with your doctor, and you may need a referral to a urologist or a specialist at a men’s health clinic. A specialist will often conduct more in-depth tests, which may include:
- An ultrasound to check blood flow to your penis. This involves using a wand-like device (transducer) that is passed over the blood vessels that supply the penis. Sometimes the doctor will inject a drug directly into your penis to determine if blood flow increases normally. (Don’t worry, this is done with a very small needle that feels like a pin-prick.)
- An overnight erection test. This involves wrapping special tape around your penis when you go to bed. If the tape is broken in the morning, this means you had an erection in your sleep. It’s a good way to assess whether your ED is physical or psychological.
Based on these tests, the doctor will recommend other treatments for your ED, which may include vacuum pumps, injections, PHP injection therapy, shockwave therapy, or stem-cell therapy.
In severe cases the doctor may recommend a penile implant. Penile implants actually have the highest rate of user satisfaction of any treatment option!
The important thing to remember is that a visit to your doctor is nothing to be stressed about. By seeing a doctor, you can rule out serious health issues, and you can get a safe and effective treatment for your erectile dysfunction.