Male sexual impotence (sometimes referred to as erectile dysfunction or more generally as male sexual dysfunction) is a complicated disorder because it can be caused by a number of factors.
Researchers have pinpointed a series of diseases and conditions that are linked to male sexual dysfunction. These include diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, prostate disease, vascular disease and others.
We also have a good understanding of the lifestyle choices that may make some men more vulnerable to developing a sexual dysfunction. These lifestyle choices include cigarette smoking; excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, substance abuse, eating overly processed foods and lack of exercise.
Other underlying causes of male sexual dysfunction include injury, trauma incurred during surgery, and psychological factors such as stress, fatigue and depression. However, researchers believe that the majority of these cases can be traced to medically diagnosable conditions. In order to get at the root of the problem, your physician may order specific clinical tests.
Here are the four most common clinical tests that your doctor may order.
1. Duplex ultrasound:
A duplex ultrasound is used to detect a number of medical problems. They are used to find signs of venous leak, atherosclerosis, and to detect any possible scarring of the erectile tissue. A duplex ultrasound is also used to examine blood flow.
Injecting prostaglandin allows a duplex ultrasound to be used for detection of these and other conditions. Prostaglandin is similar to a hormone. Injecting it causes the patient to achieve erection. Once an erection has been achieved, the duplex ultrasound is used to monitor and examine the dilation of blood vessels and to measure the blood pressure in the penis. These measurements are then compared to the penis in its flaccid state.
2. Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT)
This clinical test uses two specific methods for determining the penis’ circumference and rigidity at night during nocturnal erection. These methods are known as the snap gauge and the strain gauge.
Most men can experience up to five or six erections during sleep, especially during the stage of deep sleep known as rapid eye movement. If the patient is not achieving erections while asleep, this indicates that there may be a problem with the patient’s vascular system and nerve function in the area of the penis.
3. Penile biothesiometry
This is a special clinical test that uses electromagnetic vibration. The electromagnetic vibrations are used to evaluate the nerve function in the area of the penis, particularly the area of the shaft and the head. They are also used to evaluate how sensitive the penis is to the vibrations.
If the test reveals that the penis is not responding to the electromagnetic vibrations, this may indicate that there could be possible nerve damage in the area of the penis, thus explaining the patient’s sexual impotence.
4. Penile nerves function test.
Penis nerves function test refers to any kind of test that studies the extent of nerve sensitivity in the area of the penis. One such test is known as the bulbocavernosus reflex test.
In this test, the clinician gently squeezes the head of the penis to see if the anus contracts, a normal response. If it does not, this may also indicate nerve damage to the penis.