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How do I know if I have erectile dysfunction?

How do I know if I have erectile dysfunction?
4 minute read

How to tell if you have erectile dysfunction. 

There isn’t a test for erectile dysfunction you can do at home 

 

If you develop symptoms of erectile dysfunction, you need to get checked out by a doctor. I know talking to a GP about your bits is the last thing you want to do. But it’s the first thing you should do. Erectile dysfunction can be an early warning of serious health problems like heart disease or diabetes, so you need to get those ruled out. 

 

Plus, the GP is your gateway to accessing the best medications and getting started on treating your erectile dysfunction as soon as possible. 

 

Talking to a doctor doesn’t have to be awkward; it doesn’t even have to be in person. You can talk to a GP online.

 

In the past, men with erectile dysfunction would sometimes do tests at home like the Postage Stamp Test. This test was meant to check for nocturnal erections. A man would wrap a roll of stamps around his penis before he went to sleep. If he woke up and theroll was broken, that was supposed to prove he’d had an erection in his sleep, and that his ED was psychological, not physiological. 

 

In reality, being a rough sleeper, wearing pyjamas, or just having a wife with lots of pen pals could all cause a false-positive result. 

 

Take the Sexual Health Inventory Questionnaire 

 

One thing you can do at home before you talk to a medical expert, is to complete a Sexual Health Inventory. This test is a pared-down version of the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF-5), a diagnostic screening tool used by uranology specialists across the world. In just 5 questions, it’ll reveal whether your ED is mild, moderate, severe, or all in your head. 

 

This test isn’t a substitute for talking to a doctor, but you discuss your results in your appointment, to present an accurate account of what’s happening down south.

 

Answer the following questions and add up your scores. Score 1 point if your answer is number 1, 2 points if it’s number 2, etc. 

 

Over the past six months . . .

 

1) How do you rate your confidence that you could get and keep an erection?

1.         Very low

2.         Low

3.         Moderate

4.         High

5.         Very high

2) When you had erections with sexual stimulation, how often were your erections hard enough for penetration (entering your partner)?

1.         No sexual activity

2.         Almost never or never

3.         A few times (much less than half the time)

4.         Sometimes (about half the time)

5.         Most times (much more than half the time)

6.         Almost always or always

3) During sexual intercourse, how often were you able to maintain your erection after you had penetrated (entered) your partner?

1.         Did not attempt intercourse

2.         Almost never or never

3.         A few times (much less than half the time)

4.         Sometimes (about half the time)

5.         Most times (much more than half the time)

6.         Almost always or always

4) During sexual intercourse, how difficult was it to maintain your erection to completion of intercourse?

1.         Did not attempt intercourse

2.         Extremely difficult

3.         Very difficult

4.         Difficult

5.         Slightly difficult

6.         Not difficult

5) When you attempted sexual intercourse, how often was it satisfactory for you?

1.         Did not attempt intercourse

2.         Almost never or never

3.         A few times (much less than half the time)

4.         Sometimes (about half the time)

5.         Most times (much more than half the time)

6.         Almost always or always

 

Total score: _________

 

Results

 

1-7: You may have severe erectile dysfunction 

8-11: You may have moderate erectile dysfunction 

12-16: You may have mild to moderate erectile dysfunction 

17-21: You may have mild erectile dysfunction

 

22-25: No signs of erectile dysfunction 

 

Talk to a GP online.

 

Monitor your erectile dysfunction 

 

It’s a good idea to monitor your erectile performance over a few weeks. Notice if it gets worse at certain times (for example, when you’re under pressure at work) or if anything appears to improve it (like taking more exercise or having a weekend away). 

 

You can also try some natural treatments for erectile dysfunction.

 

 

But keep calm when you're carrying on

 

There’s a proven link between anxiety and sexual performance. The more you focus on erections, the more they will evade you. They’re very much like women in that regard. Try not to stress about your sexual performance so much that you start “spectatoring”. That’s when feel like you’re on the outside of sex looking in, noticing and logging every sensation in your penis instead of just enjoying the moment. 

 

Try to practise mindful sex. When you’re in bed, focus your attention back to how good everything feels, and to how intimate and connected you feel with your partner. 

 

You can make your partner part of this experience, too. Here's how your partner can help you with erectile dysfunction. 

  

If you're worried, you can get help with your erectile dysfunction here

 

 This blog was written by Kate Taylor, a Sex Expert, Sex and Dating Features Writer, columnist and author of five books, for HealthHero.ie.