For many men, a physical exam and answers to questions (medical history) is all a doctor needs to diagnose erectile dysfunction and recommend treatment. If you have a chronic medical condition or your doctor suspects an underlying condition may be involved, you may need to perform additional tests or see a specialist.
Tests for underlying conditions may include:
Physical examination – This may include a close inspection of your penis and testicles and checking your nerves.
Blood test – A sample of your blood may be sent to a lab to check for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone, and other health issues.
Urinalysis (urinalysis) – Like blood tests, urine tests are used to check for signs of diabetes and other underlying health conditions.
Ultrasound – This test is usually performed by a specialist in the office.
It involves the use of a rod-like device (transducer) that is held over the blood vessels that supply the penis. It creates a video image that your doctor can view to see if you have blood flow problems.
This test is sometimes combined with the injection of drugs into the penis to stimulate blood flow and produce an erection.
Psychological examination – Your doctor may ask questions to check for depression and other possible psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as a side effect of a particular medication. But for about 75% of men, the reasons are more complicated. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by vascular disease, neurological disease, diabetes, or prostate-related treatment or surgery.
Whether you currently have erectile dysfunction or want to avoid it, try these tips to overcome erectile dysfunction for better health and a better sex life.
Start walking – According to a Harvard study, walking 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction by 41%. Other research suggests that moderate exercise may help restore sexual performance in obese middle-aged men with erectile dysfunction.
Eat well – A diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish and eating less red meat, processed meat and refined grains – was associated with a lower likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study.
Pay attention to the health of blood vessels – High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides can damage arteries in the heart (leading to heart attack), arteries in the brain (leading to stroke), and penis (leading to erectile dysfunction). An enlarged waist also helps. Talk to your doctor to see if your vascular system — and your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape or needs adjustment with lifestyle changes and, if needed, medication.
Size matters, so be slim and stay slim
Slimming your waistline is a good defense – men with a 42 inch waist are 50% more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than men with a 32 inch waist. Losing weight can help fight erectile dysfunction, so achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is another good strategy for avoiding or correcting erectile dysfunction. Obesity increases the risk of vascular disease and diabetes, two main causes of erectile dysfunction. Excess fat interferes with various hormones, which may also be part of the problem. The moves a muscle, but we’re not talking about your biceps.
A strong pelvic floor increases stiffness during an erection and helps prevent blood from leaking from the penis by pressing on the collarbone. In a UK trial, three months of twice-daily Kegel exercises (strengthening these muscles), combined with biofeedback and advice on lifestyle changes – quitting smoking, losing weight , limiting alcohol consumption – were more effective than advice on lifestyle changes alone. Better results.
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