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The doctor typically interviews the patient about many physical and psychological factors and performs a physical exam.
The doctor should take a medical and personal history and may ask about the following:
In addition the doctor will ask about the patient's sexual history, which may include:
If appropriate, the doctor may also interview the sexual partner.
The doctor will perform a physical exam, including examination of the genital area and a digital rectal examination (the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the patient's rectum) to check for prostate abnormalities. It is important to check the blood pressure and to evaluate the circulation by checking pulses in the legs.
Blood tests may be used to measure testosterone levels to determine if there are hormone problems. The doctor may also screen for thyroid and adrenal gland dysfunction. In addition, the doctor may order tests for blood sugar (glucose) levels to check if diabetes is a factor. For more sophisticated tests, the doctor may refer the patient to a urologist. Because erectile dysfunction and atherosclerosis are often linked, it is important to check cholesterol levels.
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