Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Medical Diagnosis Of Erectile Dysfunction

There are no formal tests to diagnose erectile dysfunction. Some blood tests are generally done to exclude underlying disease, such as diabetes, hypogonadism and prolactinoma.

A useful and simple way to distinguish between physiological and psychological impotence is to determine whether the patient ever has an erection. If never, the problem is likely to be physiological; if sometimes (however rarely), it is more likely to be psychological.

Duplex ultrasound is used to evaluate blood flow, venous leak, signs of atherosclerosis, and scarring or calcification of erectile tissue. Injecting prostaglandin, a hormone-like stimulator produced in the body, induces erection. Ultrasound is then used to see vascular dilation and measure penile blood pressure. Measurements are compared to those taken when the penis is flaccid.

The diagnosis of male impotence is fairly easy. Determining why ED is occurring, on the other hand, can be more difficult. To accurately identify why a patient is suffering from ED, a medical professional will usually conduct a comprehensive patient interview, followed by a physical examination, and possibly laboratory testing.

The interview may include the following types of questions:Questions relating to the specific erectile complaintQuestions relating to medical factors that could be contributing to EDQuestions relating to psychosocial factors that could be contributing to EDQuestions relating to prior evaluation or treatment

Tests such as the bulbocavernosus reflex test are used to determine if there is sufficient nerve sensation in the penis. The physician squeezes the glans of the penis, which immediately causes the anus to contract if nerve function is normal. A physician measures the latency between squeeze and contraction by observing the anal sphincter or by feeling it with a gloved finger inserted past the anus. Specific nerve tests are used in patients with suspected nerve damage as a result of diabetes or nerve disease.

Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) is normal for a man to have five to six erections during sleep, especially during rapid eye movement (REM). Their absence may indicate a problem with nerve function or blood supply in the penis. There are two methods for measuring changes in penile rigidity and circumference during nocturnal erection: snap gauge and strain gauge.
Penile biothesiometry test uses electromagnetic vibration to evaluate sensitivity and nerve function in the glans and shaft of the penis. A decreased perception of vibration may indicate nerve damage in the pelvic area, which can lead to impotence.

Penile erection is managed by two different mechanisms. The first one is the reflex erection, which is achieved by directly touching the penile shaft. The second is the psychogenic erection, which is achieved by erotic stimuli. The former uses the peripheral nerves and the lower parts of the spinal cord, whereas the latter uses the limbic system of the brain. In both conditions an intact neural system is required for a successful and complete erection. Stimulation of penile shaft by the nervous system leads to the secretion of nitric oxide (NO), which causes the relaxation of smooth muscles of corpora cavernosa (the main erectile tissue of penis), and subsequently penile erection.

Additionally, adequate levels of testosterone (produced by the testes) and an intact pituitary gland are required for the development of a healthy male erectile system. As can be understood from the mechanisms of a normal erection, impotence may develop due to hormonal deficiency, disorders of the neural system, lack of adequate penile blood supply or psychological problems. Restriction of blood flow can arise from impaired endothelial function due to the usual causes associated with coronary artery disease, but can also include causation by prolonged exposure to bright light or chronic exposure to high noise levels.

A few causes of impotence may be iatrogenic. Various antihypertensive (medications intended to control high blood pressure) and some drugs that modify central nervous system response may inhibit erection by denying blood supply or by altering nerve activity. Antidepressants, especially SSRIs, can cause impotence as a side effect. Surgical intervention for a number of different conditions may remove anatomical structures necessary to erection, damage nerves, or impair blood supply. Some studies have shown that male circumcision may result in an increased risk of impotence, while others have found no such effect and another found the opposite.

Excessive alcohol use has long been recognized as one cause of impotence, leading to the euphemism "brewer's droop"; Shakespeare made light of this phenomenon in Macbeth.
A study in 2002 found that ED can also be associated with bicycling. The number of hours on a bike and/or the pressure on the penis from the saddle of an upright bicycle is directly related to erectile dysfunction.

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Find more on Impotence Treatment at Natural Cure Health Guide – Free Information on General Health Issues.