Priapism: A medical condition that causes prolonged erection. Check out the causes and complication. | FUN, ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Priapism: A medical condition that causes prolonged erection. Check out the causes and complication.


Priapism is usually defined as a painful erection of the penis. It lasts for hours and it is not a result of sexual stimulation. Priapism is not a common condition but it is found among a particular group of people such as people with sickle cell disease. It is also common in men who are 30 years and above. If it is not treated promptly, it can cause serious complications.

Causes of priapism

For an erection to take place, blood, blood vessels, smooth muscles, and nerves come into play. Though the exact cause of priapism is not known, anything that affects these things could result in priapism. Let's take a look at the following implicated in priapism.

1. Blood Disorder

*Sickle cell anemia


2. Prescription drugs

*Drugs such as alprostadil, papaverine, and phentolamine are injected into the penis to treat erectile dysfunction.

*Antidepressants (drugs that are taken to cure depression) such as bupropion and fluoxetine

*Medications such as hydroxyzine, risperidone, olanzapine, lithium, clozapine, chlorpromazine, and thioridazine are used to treat psychotic and anxiety disorder

*Warfarin and heparin are medications used as blood thinners.

3. Alcohol and drug abuse

4. Other causes of priapism

*Toxic infections from spider or scorpion bite

*Injury to the spine

*Penile cancer

Complications of priapism

If priapism is allowed to continue for a long time without treatment, a complication known as erectile dysfunction may occur.

Treatment of priapism

1. Apply an ice pack to the penis to reduce swelling 

2. A medication such as alpha-agonists can be injected into the penis to reduce swelling in low-flow priapism.

3. Surgical shunt can be created in the penis to drain the blood. A syringe and needle can also be used to remove blood from the penis after numbing the penis.

The normal function of the penis returns if treatment is sought early. Long last problems turn to develop if they are not treated promptly.

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