There is a lot of shame attached to the problem of erectile dysfunction. Because virility is so closely tied to the social concept of what defines manliness, men are often embarrassed if they experience problems with their erections. The result is a hesitation to seek out erectile dysfunction treatment. According to one study, the majority of men with erectile dysfunction will not seek out treatment. Part of the problem is that some men aren't sure if what they're experiencing is temporary or if it's even erectile dysfunction at all. Fortunately, if you are among this group, there are self-tests that can be performed at home to determine whether you should seek out medical care.
International Index of Erectile Dysfunction
The most common test is the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction. It's a self-reporting assessment that contains 15 items to help you assess erectile function, orgasmic function, libido, and satisfaction with intercourse. Taking this test can help you determine the severity of your ED.
The NPT test or nocturnal penile tumescence stamp test is an easy, old-fashioned way to figure out if you're experiencing erectile dysfunction. The test helps determine if healthy nocturnal erections are happening. According to the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, a healthy adult male should experience three to five episodes of nocturnal penile tumescence, or nighttime erections, each night. Each episode should last about 30 to 60 minutes, though the amount of time tends to decrease with age. To determine if this is happening, use either a roll of stamps or a flat piece of paper secured with a piece of tape. Sleep in the nude or pull the flaccid penis through the fly of your underwear. Moisten one of the stamps on the roll and wrap the roll around your shaft, overlapping the stamps in the roll to ensure they stay in place and fit snugly enough that the stamps will break apart if you should experience an erection. Sleep on your back to avoid disturbing the stamps. Do this three nights in a row. If you're experiencing normal nocturnal penile tumescence, the stamp roll should be broken each morning.
Obviously there are flaws in the NPT test. For example, simply rolling over in your sleep could easily disturb the stamps. Fortunately, there are more technologically advanced self-tests that can be performed. A RigiScan is a tester you can get from your doctor to self-test nocturnal penile tumescence. The recording unit of this portable device straps around the thigh and includes two straps with loops. The first loop is placed around the base of the penis, below the corona, and the second loop is placed toward the tip. The loops are connected to a direct-current torque motor in the unit strapped to the thigh, which will measure tumescence and rigidity during the night. If the RigiScan find that your penis is not functioning normally, your doctor can recommend the proper erectile dysfunction treatment.