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Erectile Dysfunction Doctors: Which Is the Best for ED?

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Vanessa Gibbs

Published 03/13/2021

Updated 03/08/2024

So you’re having trouble getting or keeping an erection. Who you gonna call? *Cue Ghostbusters theme song.*

You’ll want to connect with an ED (erectile dysfunction) doctor — but there are many types of doctors that can treat erectile dysfunction.

To get started with ED treatment, talk to your primary care provider (PCP) or get in touch with a healthcare professional online. If needed, they’ll refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist, an endocrinologist (a doctor who treats hormone-related conditions) or a mental health professional, depending on what’s causing your ED.

Keep reading to learn how to find the best erectile dysfunction doctor for you and what your treatment options are.

You’re not short on options when it comes to erectile dysfunction doctors.

General practitioners can diagnose erectile dysfunction and may get you started on treatment. If needed, they can also refer you to the right specialist for further tests or treatment.

General Doctors Who Treat Erectile Dysfunction

If you don’t know what doctor to see for ED, start with your primary care provider or an online healthcare provider.

Your Primary Care Provider

Yup, the same guy or gal you see for your yearly check-ups and miscellaneous health woes. Your primary care provider is trained in a wide range of medical issues, including men’s sexual health conditions.

An Online Healthcare Provider

If it’s too awkward to talk to a primary care provider you’ve potentially known for years, or you don’t want to leave the house (we feel that), you can connect with a licensed healthcare provider online.

Telehealth platforms like Hims allow you to talk to a healthcare provider online and get ED treatment delivered to your door.

Specialists for Erectile Dysfunction

A general practitioner may refer you to a specialist for treatment, further tests or follow-ups.

Most men don’t need further investigations. But specialized testing could be necessary if a doctor finds an abnormality of the penis or testes, or if you’re unresponsive to ED treatments and are considering surgery, for example.

Here’s who they might put you in touch with.

A Urologist

A urologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive organs, and that includes erectile dysfunction.

You might be referred to a urologist if you have ED alongside a prostate issue or penile deformity.

The American Urological Association and most medical guidelines recommend men who are at high risk for prostate cancer or lower urinary tract symptoms along with ED get screened for prostate cancer. A urologist can do this.

You can also skip the general practitioner and book an appointment directly with a urologist, either at a urology practice or an ED clinic.

Check out our guide to ED clinics to learn more.

An Endocrinologist

An endocrinologist specializes in hormone-related diseases and conditions such as:

  • Diabetes

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • Adrenal disorders

  • Obesity

  • Sexual function and reproduction issues

Where does ED fit into this? Well, ED can be caused by diabetes or hormone deficiencies like hypogonadism (low testosterone). In fact, men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop ED than those without diabetes.

So if a doctor suspects that uncontrolled diabetes or a hormonal deficiency is contributing to ED, you may be referred to an endocrinologist to treat the root cause.

A Cardiologist

A cardiologist specializes in conditions relating to the heart and blood vessels, such as:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries)

  • Heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Heart disease

ED is tightly linked with heart problems, as erections are all about healthy blood flow.

ED can be caused by heart-related conditions like:

  • High blood pressure

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Heart disease and blood vessel disease

It can also be caused by blood pressure medications.

If you’re seeing another type of doctor for ED, you might be referred to a cardiologist who can screen you for cardiovascular disease.

A cardiologist could even be the first doctor who consults you about an ED problem if you’re seeing them for what you may have thought was an unrelated heart condition.

A Mental Health Professional

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by psychological and emotional issues such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Fear of sexual failure

  • Guilt about sexual performance or sexual activities

  • Low self-esteem

  • Stress (about ED or daily life)

  • Relationship problems

  • Psychological trauma

This is where a mental health professional can help. You might be referred to a mental health professional if a psychiatric disorder is causing problems in the bedroom or if you’re a younger man with lifelong ED.

Depending on what’s triggering ED, you could benefit from mental health treatment. This could be medication or therapy, such as talk therapy, sex therapy or couples therapy.

And even if a psychological issue isn’t behind your ED, you may still benefit from seeing a mental health professional, as ED can cause mental health issues like stress, relationship problems and sexual performance anxiety.

Learn more in our guide to psychological ED.

Choose your chew

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The good news here is you don’t necessarily have to figure out who’s the best doctor for erectile dysfunction.

Start by talking to your primary care provider or an online healthcare provider. They may be able to diagnose and treat ED without any further doctors.

If needed, they can refer you to the right type of specialist for your needs, such as a urologist, an endocrinologist or a mental health professional, depending on what they suspect is behind your ED.

You should see an erectile dysfunction doctor if you regularly experience symptoms of ED.

Symptoms of ED include:

  • Not being able to get an erection

  • Not being able to maintain an erection

  • Being able to get an erection sometimes, but not every time you want to have sex

We all have off days — especially when stressed, distracted or not in the mood for sex — so don’t panic if you occasionally find it difficult to get or keep an erection.

But if you repeatedly find it hard to, well…get hard, reach out to a healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms.

While it can be embarrassing to talk about, ED is treatable, so the sooner you speak up, the sooner you can get back on your A game.

Plus, erectile dysfunction can be a sign of a serious health condition, so it’s always worth getting checked out.

See our guide on how to know if you have erectile dysfunction for more details.

Choose your chew

As you can see, there are many different types of doctors who can treat erectile dysfunction. The right ED doctor for you will depend on what’s causing your ED.

The first doctor you see about erectile dysfunction — whether that’s your primary care provider or an online provider — will ask questions to determine what could be causing ED.

Deep breath. It’s about to get personal real quick. You may be asked about your sex life, lifestyle and any other known health problems.

Potential questions include:

  • How often your penis is firm enough for sex

  • How often you’re able to maintain an erection during sex

  • How often you find sex satisfying

  • How you’d rate your level of sexual desire

  • How often you’re able to ejaculate

  • If you have an erection when you wake up in the morning

  • Whether you take any over-the-counter or prescription medications

  • Whether you drink, smoke or take illegal drugs

  • Whether you’ve had any surgeries or treatments that may have damaged nerves or blood vessels near your penis

Remember, healthcare providers have heard it all before. So be honest with your answers to ensure you get the best treatment possible.

It’s normal to have questions about sexual dysfunction and your treatment options, so don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions back. It’s not a one-way interview.

You can ask your doctor:

  • What could be causing your ED

  • How to take the medications you’ve been prescribed

  • About potential side effects and interactions from prescribed medications

  • What alternative treatment options are available

  • What lifestyle changes you can make to improve your ED

  • Whether you need to see a specialist ED doctor

There’s no such thing as a stupid question — especially when it comes to your health. Feel free to talk to your ED doctor or healthcare provider about anything related to your symptoms, treatment or what to expect in the future.

The first thing to expect at an appointment for ED is questions about your sexual and medical history (see above).

Once that’s out of the way, your healthcare provider may run some tests when diagnosing ED to try and determine the cause.

They may do a mental health exam with a questionnaire (more questions, groan) to look for any psychological causes of ED.

They may also do a physical exam and check:

  • Your blood pressure

  • Your pulse

  • If your penis is sensitive to touch or lacks sensitivity

  • Your penis’s appearance for problems like Peyronie’s disease, which causes a bend or curve in the penis when you have an erection

  • If you have any extra body hair or breast enlargement (a clue you may have hormonal problems)

You may need further tests such as:

  • Lab tests. You might get a blood test to check for hormonal problems, diabetes, atherosclerosis and chronic kidney disease. These tests may measure your fasting glucose level, lipid profile and total testosterone level.

  • Imaging tests. An ultrasound test can detect poor blood flow in your penis. A healthcare provider may inject your penis with medication to create an erection before doing this test.

  • Injection tests. These tests also involve injecting your penis with medication to trigger an erection and sometimes inserting medication into your urethra instead.

  • Nocturnal erection tests. Just like it sounds, this test checks for erections at night. But instead of an ED doctor hiding in your bedroom corner, you’ll wear a plastic ring-like device around your penis to monitor whether you have any erections in your sleep.

Learn more about ED tests.

Erectile dysfunction is treatable, and plenty of treatment options are out there. 

Here’s a breakdown of how an erectile dysfunction doctor can treat ED.

Medication

Erectile dysfunction medications exist.

Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (aka PDE5 inhibitors) are a type of oral medication and a first-line treatment for ED. They work by increasing blood flow to the penis.

PDE5 inhibitors approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) include:

  • Sildenafil. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra®. You take it an hour before sexual activity, and it lasts about four hours per dose.

  • Vardenafil. Vardenafil is the generic version of Levitra®. Similar to Viagra, you also pop a pill an hour before sex, and it lasts about four hours.

  • Tadalafil. Tadalafil is the generic for Cialis®. You take it at least 30 minutes before sex, and it lasts up to 36 hours — hence the nickname “the weekend pill.”

  • Avanafil. Avanafil is generic Stendra®. It’s the newest PDE5 on this list, and you can take it as little as 15 minutes before sex.

You can also get Hims hard mints, chewable erectile dysfunction meds that contain different doses of ED drugs.

Lifestyle Changes

Small tweaks to your daily life can help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Your ED doctor may recommend lifestyle changes on their own or alongside other ED treatments.

These include:

  • Avoiding drugs

  • Quitting smoking

  • Cutting down on alcohol

  • Exercising regularly

  • Eating a balanced diet

  • Reducing stress levels

Check out these natural tips for maintaining an erection.

Therapy

As we said above, therapy can be useful for both treating any psychological causes of ED and addressing any issues that ED has caused — like relationship problems or anxiety.

A therapist can teach you tools to better manage stress and anxiety, and a couples therapist can help you work through conflict or relationship issues.

Learn more about the types of therapy available.

Vacuum Erection Devices

A vacuum device (aka penis pump) is a plastic tube you put over your penis. There’s a pump to remove air from the tube. This creates a vacuum that pulls blood into your penis to create an erection.

Sounds like a medieval torture device — works like a charm.

Surgery

You can get surgery for erectile dysfunction. But this is usually reserved for men who can’t use nonsurgical treatments or who experience adverse effects from nonsurgical treatments. It’s sometimes an option for men with penile fibrosis (scar tissue on the surface of the penis) or penile vascular insufficiency (when penis veins can’t store the blood required to maintain an erection).

Surgical options for ED include getting penile implant surgery to help with erections or rebuilding arteries to increase blood flow to the penis.

A urologist will usually perform surgery for ED.

Remember, an ED doctor can determine the cause of erectile dysfunction and the best ED treatments for you, so the first step is reaching out to a healthcare provider.

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If you’re having erection problems, it’s time to reach out to a doctor. But there’s no single doctor that treats ED. In fact, your regular primary care provider or a doctor you connect with through a telehealth company can help with many men’s health problems, including erectile dysfunction.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Reach out to your primary care provider or an online doctor. They can diagnose ED and may be able to treat it themselves. If needed, they’ll refer you to the right specialist.

  • The best ED doctor depends on what’s causing ED. A mental health professional can help with psychological causes, whereas an endocrinologist can help when hormones are to blame.

  • ED is treatable. A healthcare provider can recommend the best treatment options for you, whether that’s Viagra, therapy or a vacuum device.

Want to treat ED from home? There’s an ED doctor for that.

Connect with one of our licensed healthcare providers through our telehealth platform. If appropriate, you can get FDA-approved ED medication online.

12 Sources

  1. McMahon C. G. (2019). Current diagnosis and management of erectile dysfunction. The Medical journal of Australia, 210(10), 469–476. https://www.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/210_10/mja250167.pdf
  2. Why Urology? (n.d.). https://www.auanet.org/about-us/aua-overview/why-urology
  3. All About Endocrinology. (n.d.). https://www.aace.com/all-about-endocrinology/what-endocrinologist
  4. Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. (n.d.). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes
  5. Pastuszak A. W. (2014). Current Diagnosis and Management of Erectile Dysfunction. Current sexual health reports, 6(3), 164–176. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394737/
  6. Ciaccio, V., & Di Giacomo, D. (2022). Psychological Factors Related to Impotence as a Sexual Dysfunction in Young Men: A Literature Scan for Noteworthy Research Frameworks. Clinics and practice, 12(4), 501–512. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9326597/
  7. Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction. (n.d.). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/diagnosis
  8. Huang, S. A., & Lie, J. D. (2013). Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors In the Management of Erectile Dysfunction. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 38(7), 407–419. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3776492/
  9. Dhaliwal, A., Gupta, M. (2023, April 10). PDE5 Inhibitors - StatPearls. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/
  10. Mollaioli, D., Ciocca, G., Limoncin, E., Di Sante, S., Gravina, G. L., Carosa, E., Lenzi, A., & Jannini, E. A. F. (2020). Lifestyles and sexuality in men and women: the gender perspective in sexual medicine. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 18(1), 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7025405/
  11. Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. (n.d.). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction/treatment
  12. Yafi, F. A., Jenkins, L., Albersen, M., Corona, G., Isidori, A. M., Goldfarb, S., Maggi, M., Nelson, C. J., Parish, S., Salonia, A., Tan, R., Mulhall, J. P., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2016). Erectile dysfunction. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 2, 16003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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