Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/03/2021
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common sexual issue that can have a negative impact on your wellbeing and quality of life.
Men of all ages can potentially develop erectile dysfunction. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, more than 30 million men in the United States are affected by some degree of ED.
If you often find it difficult to develop or maintain an erection, you may have considered meeting with a urologist to talk about your symptoms.
Below, we’ve explained how urologists diagnose and treat ED, as well as the steps that you can take to find and schedule an appointment with a urologist in your area.
We’ve also discussed the other options that are available if you’d like to treat ED, from meeting with your primary care provider to accessing FDA-approved ED medication online.
Urology is a field of medicine that involves treating diseases and conditions that affect the male and female urinary tract, as well as the male reproductive system.
This part of the body consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladders and urethra, as well as the male testes, penis, prostate and scrotum.
A urologist specializes in this field. Some urologists also focus on subspecialties, such as male infertility, urologic cancers or other conditions that affect the urinary system.
Urologists often treat erectile dysfunction. In fact, since ED is one of the most common sexual problems for men, many urologists have a large amount of experience diagnosing and treating this particular issue.
Finding a urologist typically isn’t a difficult process. According to data released by the American Urological Association, more than 13 thousand urologists currently practice in the US, meaning you’ll usually be able to choose from several urologists if you live in a midsize or large city.
You can find a urologist to treat erectile dysfunction by:
Asking your primary care provider for a referral. Your primary care provider should be able to refer you to a urologist. In some cases, they may be able to provide several recommendations for you to choose from.
Contacting your insurance provider. Your insurance provider will be able to suggest urologists that participate in your insurance plan. Choosing one of these urologists can help to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
Contacting your local hospital. Most hospitals have a urology department that should be able to provide assistance and schedule an appointment for you. If not, they may be able to refer you to a local urology practice.
Searching online. Many urologists and urology practices are easy to find online with a simple Google search. Try searching for “urologist in [your location]” and contacting the businesses that are listed in the search results.
Be sure to check previous patients’ reviews and feedback before choosing a urologist or other healthcare provider online.
Using the Urology Care Foundation’s database. The Urology Care Foundation has a convenient online Find a Urologist tool that you can use to search for qualified urologists by state, city or postal code.
Most of the time, a urologist will be able to diagnose erectile dysfunction by talking to you about your symptoms. During your appointment, you may need to talk about:
How confident you feel about your ability to achieve an erection
How firm your erections are, as well as how often you’re able to achieve and maintain an erection that’s firm enough for sex
Your general level of sexual satisfaction, particularly whether you’re usually able to reach orgasm and ejaculate during penetrative sex
Whether you’re able to wake up with an erection (often referred to as morning wood)
Your general health, including any other medical conditions for which you’re currently receiving treatment
Whether or not you currently use any over-the-counter or prescription medications
Whether or not you use of alcohol, cigarettes, nicotine products and/or illicit drugs
It’s important to provide truthful, accurate information to the urologist. While it might feel a little awkward to talk about your sex life with a stranger, try to remember that they specialize in this field of medicine and need accurate, detailed information in order to help you.
You may need to complete one or several tests as part of your appointment. These may include:
A physical exam. The urologist or other healthcare provider may physically inspect your body. They may need to inspect and/or touch your penis, chest and other areas to check for signs of reduced sensitivity, hormonal problems or other issues.
A blood test. You may need to provide a sample of your blood for analysis. Blood tests can often reveal hormonal issues and underlying medical conditions that may contribute to or cause erectile dysfunction.
A Doppler ultrasound. This type of test is used to check the blood flow to certain parts of your body, such as the tissue of your penis. You may need to take medication before this test to produce an erection.
An intracavernosal injection test. Your healthcare provider may inject a medicine into your penis to cause an erection, then evaluate its fullness and duration. This test helps to identify the cause of your erectile dysfunction.
Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your ED, you may need to complete additional tests for an accurate diagnosis. Our guide to diagnosing erectile dysfunction talks about these in more detail and explains why they’re important for an accurate diagnosis.
To treat your erectile dysfunction, the urologist might suggest implementing lifestyle changes to improve your sexual health.
You may also be prescribed ED medication, such as sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®, generic Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis®) or others. These medications improve blood flow to your penis and can make it easier for you to get and maintain an erection when you’re sexually aroused.
You can find out more about these medications and others in our guide to the most common ED treatments and drugs.
Urologists specialize in diseases and conditions that affect your urinary tract and reproductive system, making them a great source of information about erectile dysfunction.
However, you don’t always need to visit a urologist to get treatment for ED. Erectile dysfunction is a common, well-known condition that can be diagnosed and treated by a range of healthcare providers.
Other ways to seek treatment for ED include:
Contacting your primary care provider. Most of the time, your primary care provider will be able to diagnose erectile dysfunction and, if appropriate, prescribe medication to treat your symptoms.
If your symptoms appear to be related to your mental or hormonal health, your primary care provider may refer you to a mental health professional or endocrinologist for more specialized assistance.
Talking to a healthcare provider online. If you’d prefer not to talk about ED in person with your primary care provider, you can talk to a healthcare provider about treatments for erectile dysfunction via an online consultation.
If appropriate, you may receive a prescription for FDA-approved medication to treat ED and improve your sexual performance.
Erectile dysfunction is a common issue that can develop in men of all ages. If you find it difficult or get or maintain an erection, it’s important to seek help from a qualified professional.
A urologist can diagnose erectile dysfunction and provide expert advice on the best options for treating your symptoms and improving your sexual performance.
You can contact a urologist using the tips listed above. Alternatively, you can also seek help for erectile dysfunction by contacting your primary care provider or accessing ED treatments such as sildenafil via an online healthcare consultation.
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