If the physical exam and lab tests show that you have a health condition that decreases blood flow to the penis or interferes with nerve signals that enable arousal and erection, the doctor may order a penile ultrasound scan to image blood vessels and tissues in the penis. The test can show whether blood vessels have become leaky or are narrowed because of cardiovascular (heart and vessel) disease, as well as whether there is hardened scar tissue in the penis (a condition known as “Peyronie’s disease”) that can interfere with an erection.
The doctor may also want to determine whether you have erections in your sleep with the Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test. Men typically have three to five erections while sleeping, and if you aren’t, it may be due to a health condition or medication that decreases blood flow to the penis or interferes with nerve signals that enable arousal and erection. If you experience erections in your sleep or upon awakening, your erectile dysfunction (ED) may be caused by stress or depression.
Whatever the cause of your difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection, your doctor can recommend treatment that will help.