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Erectile dysfunction investigations and tests

Erectile dysfunction investigations and tests

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by physical problems such as diseases that affect the nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, prostate surgery), hormonal problems (including a low testosterone level), diabetes, high blood pressure and vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels).

Seven out of ten cases are due to narrowing of the small arteries in the penis. This can often be an early warning sign of heart disease and stroke, particularly in men over the age of 40. So it is really important that you see your doctor for further tests to look for the underlying condition. 

Treatments for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis and Levitra will only treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and not the underlying cause.

The recommended tests will vary depending on your exact medical history but the following is a guide;

Medical Relevance Blood Tests Other Tests
All men

Cholesterol level

Diabetes test

Blood pressure check

Physical exam of the penis (to exclude conditions that can affect the physical structure of your penis)

Men who experience a low sex drive, have a poor response to medication for ED, have had a previous head injury or experience loss of erections at all times (with your partner, on your own, morning erections) Testosterone level

Men with abnormal testosterone levels or other symptoms of a hormonal imbalance

(e.g. weight changes, mood changes, family history of hormonal problems, previous head injury)

Further hormonal tests (such as prolactin LH and thyroid)
If you have symptoms of an enlarged prostate such as weak or irregular urination  Physical examination of the prostate

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Authors and editors

Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 21-01-2023