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Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction

Standard lab test

Before ordering any tests, your doctor should perform a medical history and a physical exam. Is possible that a psychological referral may also be included especially if depression or other mental health issues are evident. Because there are many different causes of erectile dysfunction there are several different lab tests that may be useful:

  • For example a CBC or complete blood count:looking for anemia that is indicated by low levels of red blood cells or abnormal red blood cell formation, low levels of hemoglobin, iron; but also looking for an infection that would be characterized by increased levels of white blood cells.
  • Liver and kidney function tests, of course, checking for the function possible disease in these organs.
  • Lipid profile:high levels of triglycerides or another lipid may indicate a higher risk of atherosclerosis.
  • Thyroid function test:thyroid hormones such as thyroxine do help regulate the production of sex hormones such as testosterone.
  • Blood hormone study: the general tests but of course testosterone and prolactin levels would be most relevant here.
  • urinalysismay be helpful: you will be looking at protein, glucose, white blood cell and testosterone levels. High levels of glucose is associated with possible diabetes.
  • PSA test: prostate specific antigen you are looking for there,which is indicative of some kind of pathology of the prostate gland,whether it be benign hypertrophy or prostate cancer. And of course,problems with the prostate do affect the ability to get an erection because of the proximity of the gland to the male penis.

Specialized testing for ED

Sometimes more specialized testing is needed to figure out the cause of ED:

  • Duplex ultrasound: this is useful to evaluate blood flow in check for signs of a venous leak but also atherosclerosis or potentialexcessive tissue scarring, which is the case with Peyronie’s disease.
  • Nocturnal penile tumescence or NPT. This measures erectile function while you are asleep. Normally men should have five, possibly six erections, while they sleep. Fewer than these numbers or no erections during nighttime may indicate nerve function or circulation issues.
  • A penile biotheliometry involves the use electromagnetic vibration to determine sensitivity. As a man cannot feel these vibrations that are indicative of reduced nerve function.
  • Vasoactive injection: an erection is produced by injecting a special solution that causes the blood vessels to dilate,which allows blood to enter the penis. Vasoactive injections are often combined with ultrasound studies.
  • Dynamic infusion cavernosometry: this is used for men that are diagnosed with ED to determine the severity of the venous leak. So fluid is pumped into the penis at a predetermined rate, and it is measured how quickly it flows out. The dye can be added to this fluid in the X-rays can also be taken.

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