Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can have a variety of causes, most of which are related to underlying conditions such as:

  • Circulatory issues, including hardening of the arteries 
  • Neurological disorders, including MS, stroke and injury 
  • Hormone abnormalities or treatments for other conditions 
  • Scar tissue in the penis, known as Peyronie’s disease 
  • Prostate disease 
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Side effect of certain medications 
  • Lifestyle choices, including excessive drinking, smoking cigarettes or marijuana and abusing steroids 

Risk factors for developing erectile dysfunction can include: 

Diagnosing erectile dysfunction will involve a physical exam, a review of your medications and a review of your sexual history. Your physician might also order lab tests to determine your blood counts, urinalysis, cholesterol count and thyroid function. 

Other diagnostic testing may include:

  • Color Doppler: This test analyzes the flow of blood through the blood vessels in the penis 
  • Penile arteriography: This test uses dye injected in the penis to analyze blood flow.  
  • Ultrasound: This imaging test uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the organs. In the case of erectile dysfunction, this test can indicate poor blood flow or scarring.  
  • Biothesiometry: This test uses electromagnetic vibration to test nerve function.  
  • Overnight testing: A special device wrapped around your penis can determine if you are having erections in your sleep.  
  • Hormone testing: Lab tests can determine hormone deficiencies that may be causing erectile dysfunction.