Tests for Erection Problems
Tests are usually done for at least two nights in a row.
If good erections occur during sleep, the cause of the erection problems
probably is not physical.
The NPT test may also be called the
stamp test or the rigidity test.
Intracavernosal injection test
During this test,
the doctor injects a medicine (usually alprostadil) into the side of the
penis to make an erection. This is called an intracavernosal injection. A
similar medicine may also be placed into the
urethra , the tube through which urine leaves the
penis. This is called an intraurethral injection. The fullness of the erection
and how long the erection lasts are measured.
Doppler ultrasound test
Doppler ultrasound (also
called color duplex Doppler) uses a handheld tool passed lightly over the
penis. The tool uses reflected sound waves to estimate the speed and direction
of blood as it flows through a blood vessel. The sound waves go to a computer
that changes the sounds to colors that are overlaid on a picture of the blood
vessel. This shows the speed and direction of blood flow. You may need to have medicine injected into your penis (intracavernosal injection) to cause an erection before the Doppler test is done.
The results of your tests may show which kind of treatment is a good choice for you.
Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?
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Why It Is Done
Tests for erection problems are done
to help find whether the cause of an erection problem is physical,
psychological, or a combination of both.
Physical conditions that
may cause erection problems include:
- Problems with the nerves of the penis.
Conditions such as
multiple sclerosis or
diabetes may cause nerve damage that affects a man's
ability to have an erection. Also, surgery, injury, or radiation treatment to
the pelvic area may cause damage to the nerves of the
- Problems with the blood vessels that supply blood to the
penis . Conditions such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) may make it difficult for a man to
have an erection. Activities such as long-distance bicycle riding on a hard,
narrow saddle may increase a man's risk for having an erection problem.
- Low levels of hormones, such as
- Side effects of
medicines, such as medicines taken for
high blood pressure (hypertension) or
- The use of tobacco, alcohol,
Psychological tests may be needed if no physical cause is
found for an erection problem. Psychological causes of erection problems may
- Anxiety about sexual
- Depression or grief.