Saturday, 14 September 2013

Are you impotent? test it with simple symptom!

Erectile dysfunction is without a doubt one of the most dreaded conditions for men but there are times when one tries to claim impotence to get out of legal hassles. Case in point being the recent incident where Asaram Bapu tried to wiggle out of the accusations levelled at him of sexually assaulting a girl by claiming he was impotent and incapable of rape. To explain impotency tests you first need to understand: 
How does the penis become erect?
Technically speaking, an erection is caused due to the hydraulic effect of blood entering and being retained in spongy bodies within the penis. In most males, this happens when they’re sexually aroused thanks to signals transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis. Both the brain (to send a signal) and the heart (to pump blood to the penis) must work properly to get and maintain an erection. ED occurs whenever any of the proceedings are disrupted.
Know the difference between infertility and impotence
Because of similar sounding vernacular terms, there’s some confusion between the terms impotence and infertility. Impotence is the inability to get an erection whereas infertility (or sterility) is the inability to father children. They are not related or synonymous in anyway except perhaps when impotence can prevent a man from penetrating his partner during sex.
It’s not just physical
In the Indian medical and legal circles, there’s a gross oversimplification when it comes to dealing with impotence or other sex-related conditions in medical circles. Suspects are routinely sent to doctors by Judicial Magistrates and police to check for sexual potency to establish whether or not a suspect is physically capable of committing a crime. They usually look at whether the suspect has any ‘obvious anatomical anomaly’. A similar case occurred when Pinki Pramanik was accused of rape by her former roommate who claimed she was male. After various tests, it was determined that though Pinki’s gender was ‘male’ she was physically incapable of rape. Earlier, suspects were even asked to masturbate to prove their potency, as there’s an erroneous belief that a person who can ejaculate can’t be impotent.
What the law fails to understand that the ability to maintain an erection involves both physical and psychological factors and simply conducting semen or hormone tests won’t tell whether a person is impotent or not as the sperm count has nothing to do with sexual potency. The issue is even further complicated thanks to drugs or devices used to beat impotency. Would the law consider an impotent man who can have sex after taking Viagra potent or impotent? And strangely impotence is a valid legal reason for divorce in India!
So here are some of the tests used to check impotency or erectile dysfunction:
Physical stimulation
This is the first stage of most potency tests. Normal people who don’t suffer from ED will get an erection on manual stimulation and a TOI report suggests that godman Asaram Bapu’s potency was established at the first stage of the examination (our condolences to the person who had to manually stimulate him).
Other than that, more advanced tests include:
Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT) Test
The NPT test checks whether a man is getting an erection during sleep. According to WebMD, most men even those who’ve psychological problems can still get erections during deep sleep. The test involves putting a simple ring-like device made of plastic films around the penis which will break if an erection is achieved.  Another way to observe this is through electric monitoring devices which give a more accurate and detailed information about erections during sleep.
Intracavernosal Injection Test
This test involves the doctor injecting a medicine into base of the penis to make it erect and is called an intercavernosal injection. Once erect, the fullness and length of the erection are maintained. This helps the doctor decide whether or not the person suffers from erectile dysfunction. 
Doppler Ultrasound Test
The test relies on a tool which uses reflected sound waves to estimate the direction of blood flow in the vessel which helps gauge whether a man is capable of an erection or not.
How accurate are these tests?
According to Dr Vijaysarathi Ramanthan, a Men’s Health Physician and Medical Sex Therapist said the accuracy of the tests would depend on the quality of technicians, doctors and equipment used when conducting the test. That being said he said certain diagnostic tests are suggested by some doctors for routine screening of erectile dysfunction. Instead, more emphasis should be given to sexual and relationship history, psychological assessment and assessing underlying health conditions such as diabetes and risk factors like smoking. (Tips to beat erectile dysfunction) While diagnostics tests are vital in the assessment of any health problem, maximum benefits are obtained when they are used judiciously. Once these tests are done and the results are positive, one can consult a sexologist about the problem and take medications prescribed by them. With professional help and lifestyle changes, this problem can be brought under control.