Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by physical problems, psychological factors, or a combination of both.
Because ED is a sexual health problem, many men feel uncomfortable or embarrassed talking about their condition. However, it is important to get past any discomfort and discuss your ED with your doctor. There are numerous treatment options for ED. With help, most men will be able to find a treatment that will work for them.
Even when ED doesn’t start with psychological problems, it can cause them. Therefore, if you have ED, you may want to talk to a mental health professional. A sex therapist can also help you deal with the emotional and relationship problems that can occur with ED. However, the best place to start is with a visit to your primary care physician.
Your primary care provider (PCP) should probably be your first stop when looking for an ED diagnosis. There are many potential causes for ED. To determine the cause of ED, you may need a comprehensive physical examination.
The initial investigation into ED is usually straightforward. Then, if more information is needed, your doctor can refer you to specialists.
Urologists specialize in urinary and reproductive health. They can help diagnose any abnormalities in your reproductive system.
Endocrinologists are hormone specialists. Blood tests can help determine if your hormone levels are abnormal. Low levels of testosterone can cause or contribute to ED.
Mental Health Professionals
A mental health professional can help determine if psychological issues are causing or contributing to your ED. In addition, a therapist can help you work through psychological issues during ED treatment.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask
To help determine the cause of ED, your doctor may ask questions about your medical and sexual history. Be prepared to answer such questions as honestly as possible. Details about your past may provide important clues to the cause of your ED.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your doctor might want to know about:
- other health problems and chronic conditions
- other sexual problems
- changes in sexual desire
- whether you get erections during masturbation
- whether you get erections while you sleep
- problems in your sexual relationship
- when your sexual problems started
- how often your ED symptoms occur
- what improves or worsens your ED symptoms
- any anxiety, depression, or stress in your life
- whether you have been diagnosed with any mental health problems
- all medications you take
- any herbal medications or supplements you use
- how much alcohol you drink
- how much you smoke cigarettes
- any use of illicit drugs
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
You should also be prepared to ask your doctor important questions about your ED and its treatment. The Mayo Clinic suggests asking your doctor the following questions:
- What do you think is causing my erection problems?
- What else could be causing my ED?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Do you think my ED is temporary, or will it last a long time?
- How do you think I should treat my ED
- What are other options for treatment?
- Is my ED most likely temporary or chronic?
- How will ED treatment affect my other health conditions, and vice versa?
- Are there any foods, drugs, or behaviors I need to avoid?
- Do you think I need to see a specialist?