Do I Have Erectile Dysfunction? ED Symptoms and Diagnosis
You have a question that many men are concerned about. You go online to research the question: do I have erectile dysfunction?
You are not alone 50% of men in their 50s are affected by ED symptoms (University of Wisconsin Health, 2019). Sometimes a man becomes nervous during sex, or perhaps he’s had too many drinks beforehand. While this may affect his sexual performance, it doesn’t necessarily mean a man has ED.
ED becomes a concern when a man has persistent problems getting or keeping an erection. But how do you know for sure? And what are the major symptoms of ED?
Keep reading for answers!
Signs of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is the ongoing inability to achieve or maintain an erect penis, and men experience these erectile dysfunction symptoms:
- Reduced sex drive
- Unable to get an erection
- Unable to maintain an erection
Some men experience symptoms of sexual disorders that are related to erectile dysfunction, including:
- Ejaculation happens too fast — this is called premature ejaculation
- Ejaculation happens too slowly (a man needs stimulation for more than 30 minutes) — this is called delayed ejaculation
- Ejaculation doesn’t happen, or a man doesn’t orgasm — this is called anorgasmia
What Causes ED?
Sexual arousal is complex! It involves our brains, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction may be triggered by physical or psychological issues or stressful situations.
ED Risk Factors
When your question is: do I have erectile dysfunction? We can answer it by examining the risk factors of ED:
- Age. A primary risk factor of ED is age. ED generally afflicts older men. But aging isn’t always a cause of ED, and men can enjoy sex well into their senior years.
- Medical conditions. ED may occur at any age due to serious health conditions like diabetes or heart conditions.
- Smoking. Tobacco use restricts blood flow to the veins and arteries. Over time, this can lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Weight. Obesity is a key risk factor for ED.
- Medical treatments. Prostate surgery or some medical treatments like radiation treatments for cancer can increase the risk of ED.
- Post-traumatic situations. Some serious injuries may contribute to ED, especially when there is nerve or arterial damage to a man’s pelvic area.
- Medication side effects. Certainmedications like antidepressants or antihistamines may have side effects that increase the risk of ED. Some blood pressure medications, pain medications, or prostate medications also have risks.
- Mental health. Psychological conditions including anxiety, stress, and depression increase the risk of ED.
- Alcohol or drug use. Chronic drinking or substance abuse is considered an ED risk factor when men drink more heavily or use drugs for extended periods.
Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosis
You’re taking the first important step by researching ED online. But every man’s situation is unique, and a specialist is the best way for you to be diagnosed accurately.
A physical examination helps in diagnosing ED. Some additional testing may rule out underlying health issues.
Let’s explain it more for your peace of mind.
Your private physical examination happens with an ED specialist in a confidential men’s health clinic. Your blood pressure will be checked. Your testicles and penis will be examined, and a brief rectal exam may be recommended to check your prostate health.
Medical and Psychosocial History
A thorough review of your past medical history and psychosocial history examines your symptoms, overall health, and sexual history. You may fill out a questionnaire. This information helps your ED specialist to evaluate your situation, and it remains confidential.
Your ED specialist is interested in your physical and mental health, your relationships, and if medications, drugs, or alcohol could also be contributing factors. There is no judgment, and your honest responses can lead to a more effective ED treatment.
Physical Health Questions
- How long have your ED symptoms been happening?
- Did your symptoms happen suddenly, or were they gradual?
- Do you ever have firm erections?
- Are your erections harder in particular situations or with different types of stimulation?
- Do you awake with an erection or feel an erection at night (a nocturnal erection)?
- Are you aware of any underlying health conditions?
- Have you suffered a pelvic injury or had any pelvic surgery?
- Do you take prescription drugs?
Sexual Health Questions
- Do you have problems feeling desire, having an orgasm, or ejaculating during sex?
- How often do you have sex?
- Do you have sex less often now?
- What is your current relationship status?
- Do you and your partner have expectations for each other?
- Has your relationship or your expectations changed?
Mental Health Questions
- Have your stress levels increased?
- Do you use tobacco, alcohol, or nonprescription drugs more frequently or to de-stress?
Oakwood Health Network specialists commonly send patients a requisition form for:
- A blood test to check the patient’s testosterone levels
- An ultrasound to diagnose a relatively common condition called Peyronie’s disease
If you’re wondering about these tests, please don’t be concerned. This testing is covered under OHIP at certified labs.
Family Doctor Visit
Some men schedule a physical examination with their family doctor, including blood and urine tests, to check for underlying health problems like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. A patient may also be referred to a urologist for further tests if indicated, including:
- A nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test. A small, battery-operated device evaluates a man’s nocturnal erections on his thigh. Dava saved on the device is reviewed by the urologist.
- An injection test. A man’s penis is stimulated to form an erection with an injectable medication. The erection is evaluated for firmness and longevity.
All of this is available to ensure a proper diagnosis of your ED. It allows your ED specialist to customize a treatment specifically for you!
ED Treatment Options
The exciting news is, ED can be treated effectively in many ways, and treatments can be combined and customized for you. Our clinics offer 8 ED treatments backed by science and extensive research.
- Shockwave Therapy (or Acoustic Wave Therapy). Acoustic wave therapy is long-lasting, pain-free, and drug-free. It treats erectile dysfunction with sound waves that dissolve micro-plaque clogging blood vessels in the penis. New blood vessels are encouraged to grow, resulting in longer, stronger erections.
- TRT. Testosterone replacement therapy helps when ED is caused by low testosterone. However, TRT is not recommended if artery blockages are causing ED.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP Therapy). A man’s own blood is used to accelerate healing if plasma is deficient in the penis.
- Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy. Strengthening exercises guide a man’s pelvic floor muscles to improved erections, easier urination, and more ejaculations.
- Penis Pumps. A pain-free suction device improves erections by stimulating blood into the penis.
- Oral Medications. Viagra and Cialis are well-known drugs taken by men before sex. These can be taken in conjuction with other therapies if well tolerated.
- Psychological help. Patients with mental health concerns can benefit greatly from speaking to a professional.
Next Steps for ED Diagnosis
Don’t try to use a search system to give yourself a diagnosis.
Book a free consultation with us at Oakwood Health Network, our specialists will evaluate your case and build a custom plan for diagnosis and treatment if needed.