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Where To Find Help

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 16:46

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

The best person to approach is your own doctor, who might be able to help you or who can recommend someone else. You may be referred to a urologist, a medical specialist with advanced training to deal with issues surrounding erectile dysfunction.

Nice To Know:

Some health care providers have special men's health clinics that offer a spectrum of services related to sexual health.

What To Expect In A Physical Examination

Because erectile dysfunction is so common and so treatable, you should try to put aside any embarrassment and answer your doctor's questions frankly.

Your physician will perform a thorough physical examination looking for possible clues of any unrecognized illnesses or possible hormonal problems.

A physical examination should include:

  • An exam of your penis and testicles. This may include a penile blood pressure test with a special stethoscope. Your doctor may suggest more sophisticated tests, such as a nerve function test, an ultrasound study, and an X ray study.
  • digital rectal examination to check your prostate gland.
  • Blood tests to exclude various medical conditions including kidney, liver, thyroid and adrenal gland studies as appropriate, and the hormone testosterone level.
  • A test to discover whether you have erections while you sleep. Most men normally have erections while they sleep. One such test is performed with a small plastic ring that you place over your penis before bed. If you have an erection during the night, the small plastic filaments connecting this ring will break. A more common method is the Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT) monitoring study. This allows a continuous recording of your penis during sleep with a small electronic recorder placed at your bedside.

If no erections occur while sleeping, then it is more likely that the problem is a physical one rather than due to psychological problems. However, these tests are not completely reliable.

The Role Of Counseling

If tests do not point to a physical cause, many men find the help they need through sexual counseling. You should choose a therapist who is a licensed and qualified psychiatrist, psychologist, physician, or social worker. For best results, your partner should be included in the counseling.

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