Priapism is a relatively rare condition involving an erection that lasts for an unusually long time which can usually be quite painful and unrelated to sexual stimulus. Immediate treatment is important to prevent tissue damage and erectile dysfunction.
What is Priapism?
Priapism most commonly occurs in men in their 30s and above. It involves a prolonged erection of the penis which can occur for many hours and is not caused by sexual stimulation. It usually occurs because the blood, blood vessels, smooth muscles or nerves changes normal blood flow causing an erection to persist. Although Priapism is an uncommon condition overall, it occurs commonly in certain groups, such as people who have sickle cell Anemia. Prompt treatment for Priapism is always required to prevent tissue damage that could result in the inability to get or maintain an erection.
Types of Priapism
The symptoms of Priapism will vary depending on the type of Priapism. The two main types of Priapism are ischemic and nonischemic.
Ischemic: the result of blood not being able to leave the penis. Symptoms include an erection which lasts for more than four hours with a rigid shaft, but a soft tip as well as progressive pain in the penis. Some men may also experience ischemic Priapism recurrently with symptoms worsening each time.
Nonischemic: occurs when blood flow to the penis is not regulated correctly in the body. Nonischemic Priapism is not as common as ischemic cases; however, they are usually less painful and pose far less risk. Signs and symptoms include an erection lasting more than four hours with an erect but not fully rigid shaft.
It can sometimes be difficult for a doctor to determine exactly what has caused a Priapism, however, there are a number of possible causes. These include:
There are a number of possible treatments that a doctor may suggest based on what type of Priapism has been experienced. Treatments include:
Prevention of recurrent Priapism
If you have recurrent Priapism, to prevent future episodes your doctor might recommend:
It is important to talk to a trusted professional when it comes to your health. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact or call Dr Arianayagam’s office on 1300 307 990 and his staff will be able to assist.