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ED Diagnosis

How Is ED Diagnosed?

Penile Doppler ultrasound is an important diagnostic tool used to assess blood flow in and out of the penis during and after an erection. This specialized imaging study looks at the blood flowing into the penis through the arteries (causing an erection) and flowing out of the penis through the veins (returning to flaccid). The imaging study also is useful for monitoring surrounding nerves and tissue structures to identify any scarring or calcification.

How Penile Doppler Works

Penile Doppler is a detailed, non-invasive imaging study performed by a physician and it takes only about 30 minutes. Ultrasound utilizes painless sound waves to create images.

The following steps are taken during this image study:

  1. Your physician will inject medication into the penis to cause an erection and an increase in the arterial blood flow.
  2. The ultrasound wand is used to show and measure the blood flow into and out of the penis during the erection.
  3. Your doctor is looking to see how much blood is flowing through the arteries to determine the health of the vessels.
  4. The Doppler ultrasound will also assess the flow of blood out of the penis as well as nerve function.
  5. After the ultrasound exam, some men may experience temporary discomfort around the injection site.

The results of the Doppler ultrasound test will help your physician diagnose erectile dysfunction as well as determine the best course of treatment for your condition.

Other Diagnostic Tests

While Doppler ultrasound is an excellent diagnostic tool, your physician will also conduct a thorough physical exam and medical history.

Additional diagnostic tests may include:

  • Blood tests – A complete panel of blood work can show your physician if conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol may be health concerns; both of these medical conditions affect blood flow through the body and can contribute to ED in some men. Your doctor may also run hormone tests as low testosterone levels are also linked to ED.
  • Urinalysis – Your doctor may test urine for elevated blood sugar and protein levels, which can indicate diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Blood pressure check – Hypertension and heart disease are also among the leading causes of erectile dysfunction in men.