Erectile Dysfunction

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Erectile dysfunction diagnosis

Why can’t I get an erection?

Generally, only a physical exam and your medical history are needed for your healthcare provider to diagnose and suggest treatment for erectile dysfunction. However, because of ED’s strong correlation21 with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, some patients may require a cardiac assessment to determine whether an underlying health problem is causing erectile dysfunction.

The most commonly used method22 of determining the severity of erectile dysfunction is the International Index of Erectile Function. This abridged 5-item questionnaire (IIEF-5) was developed to monitor the success of treatments for ED.

The IIEF-5’s describes the severity23 of erectile dysfunction according to the following scores:

  • 1–7: severe erectile dysfunction
  • 8–11: moderate ED
  • 12–16: mild to moderate ED
  • 17–21: mild ED
  • 22–25: no ED

If an underlying condition is suspected, you may need to undergo further testing. You may also be referred to a specialist. Some tests24 used to determine what underlying conditions might be contributing to erectile dysfunction include:

  • Blood tests: Analyzing a sample of your blood can help determine whether you have signs of cardiac or cardiovascular disease, diabetes, low levels of testosterone, or other related conditions.
  • Urinalysis: Urinalysis, or urine testing, is also used to find indicators of diabetes and other health conditions.
  • Ultrasound: Using an ultrasound to diagnose ED involves using a wand-like tool called a transducer to take video images of the blood vessels in the penis. This can help a provider or specialist determine whether you have problems with blood flow.
  • Psychological exam: Your provider may ask you questions about your mental health and well-being to screen for the possibility of psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction often indicates the presence of cardiovascular problems. Because of this, it can serve as a warning sign of your risk for cardiovascular disease.

If you suspect that you may have erectile dysfunction, talk to your healthcare provider to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.