Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

For many men, a physical exam and answering questions (medical history) are all that's needed for a doctor to diagnose erectile dysfunction and recommend a treatment. If you have chronic health conditions or your doctor suspects that an underlying condition might be involved, you might need further tests or a consultation with a specialist.

Tests for underlying conditions might include:

  • Physical exam. This might include careful examination of your penis and testicles and checking your nerves for sensation.
  • Blood tests. A sample of your blood might be sent to a lab to check for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels and other health conditions. 
  • Urine tests (urinalysis). Like blood tests, urine tests are used to look for signs of diabetes and other underlying health conditions.
  • Ultrasound. This test is usually performed by a specialist in an office. It involves using a wandlike device (transducer) held over the blood vessels that supply the penis. It creates a video image to let your doctor see if you have blood flow problems.

    This test is sometimes done in combination with an injection of medications into the penis to stimulate blood flow and produce an erection.

  • Overnight erection test. Most men have erections during sleep without remembering them. This simple test involves wrapping a special device around your penis before you go to bed.

    This device measures the number and strength of erections that are achieved overnight. It can help to determine if your erectile dysfunction is related to psychological or physical causes.

  • Psychological exam. Your doctor might ask questions to screen for depression and other possible psychological causes of erectile dysfunction. 

Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic offers a full range of tools for evaluating erectile dysfunction. Doctors will likely perform a physical exam and blood and urine tests. They might also use a sexual health questionnaire to help understand your problem.

Some men might require specialized tests. Mayo Clinic provides both noninvasive and invasive testing for erectile dysfunction, which can include:

  • Color duplex Doppler ultrasonography
  • Injecting dye to see blood flow in arteries carrying blood to the penis (penile arteriography)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 
  • Nocturnal penile erection monitoring
Feb. 04, 2015

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