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Self-test for Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction

Men, if you have problems getting an erection, the cause may not be a physical one, or due to any medication you may be taking; it could be psychological, particularly if you still have nighttime erections.

A good way to pin down the reason is to take a simple at-home test that involves the use of four to six postage stamps.

How To Do the Test

  • Pick three nights for the experiment when you can get uninterrupted sleep. (Don't drink alcohol or take a sleep-inducing medication for at least two days prior.)
  • Each night wear briefs to bed, bringing your penis through the fly with as little pubic hair as possible.
  • Wrap a strip of four to six stamps snugly around the shaft of your penis, overlapping the stamps and moistening the end of one to seal the ring.
  • Once the seal has dried, carefully re-place your penis inside the briefs, keeping the underwear on to protect the stamps from falling off.
  • Check in the morning: Has the stamp ring been broken at the perforations? (If you're awakened at night by the tearing of the stamps, check for an erection and how rigid it is.)

What the Stamp Test Tells You

For most people taking the test, the ring of stamps will be broken at the perforations at least one of the three nights, meaning that erection problems may have a psychological cause. If the stamps are not broken during the three nights of testing, the erection problem is more likely related to a physical condition or impotence-causing medication.

Tell your health professional - doctor or psychologist - about the results of your stamp test. It could be a helpful first clue in diagnosing and treating an erectile problem.