When You Visit Your Doctor - Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence

Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you smoke cigarettes?
  • Have you been screened for other medical problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes?
  • Do you exercise regularly? How much? How often?
  • Do you have a neurologic disease or sickle-cell disease?
  • Are you taking any medications (prescription or over-the-counter)?
  • Has your erectile dysfunction worsened since starting any new medications?
  • What effect is your erectile dysfunction having on your relationship? Your self-esteem?
  • How long have you had erectile problems?
  • Do you have erectile problems sometimes or all of the time?
  • Have you ever had any psychologically stressful sexual experiences?
  • Are you less interested in sex (diminished libido)?
  • Are you having difficulty achieving an erection or sustaining it?
  • Do you ever awaken with early morning or nocturnal erections?
  • Do you have pain with erections?
  • Penile bumps or lumps?
  • History of penile trauma?
  • History of pelvic surgery?
  • What are your goals in receiving treatment?
  • What therapies have you tried?
  • Do you know how much benefit you can expect from medical therapies?
  • Do you know the side effects and important drug interactions?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Genital examination
  • Rectal examination
  • Pulses in the groin and feet
  • Neurologic examination

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Blood tests (complete blood count or CBC, glucose, cholesterol panels, thyroid function tests, prolactin level)
  • Blood testosterone level (if libido is decreased)
  • Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT)
  • Neurologic testing (nerve condition studies)
  • Your doctor may decide to do some vascular tests to establish whether the arteries that supply blood to the penis during erections are narrowed.

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.