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Conditions: Erectile Dysfunction

Questions Used in Diagnosing ED - Erectile Dysfunction

Diagnosing ED

How is ED diagnosed?

What questions do doctors ask when discussing ED with patients?

The kinds of questions a doctor might ask about ED are:

A. Questions relating to the specific erectile complaint:

1. How long have these symptoms been present? Did they begin gradually or suddenly?

  • Your doctor needs to know if this is a new problem or one that has been ongoing for some time.

2. Do you wake up with an erection? How about in the evening?

  • Men naturally have erections while they sleep and when they wake up in the morning. This is one way your doctor might determine the severity or cause of the problem.

3. If you do have erections, how firm are they? Is penetration difficult?

  • The doctor needs to get a sense of how severe ED is since dissatisfaction can vary.

4. How consistent is the problem: Is penetration difficult 50%, 75% or 100% of time?

5. Do your erections change under at different times such as with different partners, oral stimulation, or masturbation?

  • Does ED vary from one circumstance to another, or is it consistent throughout all sexual experiences?

6. Are there any difficulties with sexual desire (libido), arousal, ejaculation, or orgasm (climax)? If so, did these difficulties occur before or after the onset of the ED, or are they separate issues?

  • It is possible that your ED is due to, or occurring in conjunction with, a different sexual dysfunction?

7.What effect is this problem having on your sexual satisfaction, your sexual confidence, or your relationship (if you are in one)?

B. Questions relating to medical factors that could be contributing to ED:

1. What medical conditions do you have?

  • ED is strongly linked to a number of other common diseases in men such as: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, vascular disease, neurologic conditions, chronic liver or kidney disease.

2. What medications are you currently taking?

  • There are a number of medications that may cause, or contribute to ED.

3. If and how much do you smoke, drink, or use other drugs?

  • Certain lifestyle habits increase a man's likelihood of having ED. Alcohol or drug abuse can contribute to heart disease, hardening of the arteries and hypertension, all of which can lead to ED.

4. Is there a new curve or bend to the penis? If curvature is present, is it painful? What is the location and severity of the curvature?

  • Peyronie's disease, which is an inflammatory condition that produces scarring within the penis, causing it to curve or bend, can also contribute to ED.

5. Any previous history of surgery or radiation therapy, particularly in the pelvic region?

  • For example, treatments for prostate disease may also cause ED.

6. Any history of pelvic, genital, or spinal cord trauma?

  • Injury to these areas can sometimes interfere with the body's ability to develop and maintain an erection.

7. Do you experience urinary problems?

  • ED may also be caused by urinary tract problems, such as irritation or problems in voiding (such as urinary frequency, urgency, and dysuria [pain or burning during urination]).

C. Questions relating to psychosocial factors that could be contributing to ED:

1. How is your relationship with your partner? Has anything changed recently?

  • ED can sometimes be a result of marital (or relationship) problems.

2. What is your sex life like? Has anything changed recently?

  • This sometimes leads to questions about the quality of your sexual relationships and sexual intimacy, such as frequency, sexual expectations from you and your partner, or any performance anxiety that may exist.

3. In general, are you under a lot of stress? Or has anything particularly upsetting happened to you?

  • Excessive stress from any aspect of life - work, relationship, financial, etc. may lead to ED

4. Have you been feeling down and depressed a lot? Do you have any psychological illnesses or have you considered seeing a psychologist?

  • Depression or other mental illnesses can contribute to ED.

D. Questions relating to prior evaluation or treatment:

1. What testing have you have done to date?

2. Have you used any treatments for ED? What kind or response have you obtained? Have you been using them properly?

3. Did you experience any side effects from the medications?

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