Priapism: The Pain of a Prolonged Erection

Priapism is a persistent and painful medical condition in which the erection in the penis lasts for several hours say 4 hours. The erect penis does not return to its flaccid state within 4 hours as in this condition, the erection is not necessarily related to sexual stimulation or excitement. During this time, the shaft of the penis is rigid and inflexible, but the head of the penis (the glans) is usually soft. The penis is also usually painful or tender.

Priapism is a relatively uncommon disorder, is a medical emergency, which should receive proper treatment by the Andrologist which is often required to prevent the tissue damages that can lead to the inability in order to get or simply maintain an erection causing erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms Of Priapism:

This condition is not often persistent erection, which is not relevant to certain sexual stimulation. The symptoms about the same can depend on various types which are mentioned below:

S.No. Type of Priapism Causing factor
1 Ischaemic  (Most common Type)

Also called as low blood flow Priapism

caused by lack of blood flow through the penis
2 Non- Ischaemic  (Rare Type)

Also called as high blood flow Priapism

caused by an injury to the genitals or perineum
3. Recurrent or Intermittent similar to ischaemic priapism but characterised by recurrent, long-lasting, painful erections that ease after 2-3 hours

Causes of Priapism

  • Injury: The injuries leading to blood loss from the penis
  • Blood disorders: can lead to this issue, which further brings in issues like leukaemia and sickle cell anaemia.
  • Alcohol & drug use: Misuse of ED drugs like Viagra and too much of alcohol consumption.

Diagnosing Priapism

When blood is trapped in the penis, it loses oxygen. That oxygen-poor blood can damage tissues in the penis. If you think you have the issue of priapism, you are supposed to see a competent Urologist right away. The following investigations help to rule out the type of Priapism:

  • Physical examination: Andrologist reviews all the medical history of patient and evaluate physically.
  • Blood Gas Measurement: A small needle is used to draw blood from the penis to see if it is low in oxygen.
  • Color Doppler ultrasound: It is an imaging test that simply show how the blood is seen flowing inside your penis

Priapism Treatment

There are several steps that can help in preventing this disease.

  • Change or put a full stop on the medications prescribed for ED that carry the possible causes.
  • Avoid use of illegal drugs or alcohol.
  • Stop taking the self-injection for erection.

The treatment for priapism depends on the results of the blood tests. These interventions are simply carried out in a step wise manner with surgery being the last option. If not treated this condition leads to erectile dysfunction in the future.

The Treatments for Priapism are as follows:

  • Medication: The medication simply constricts the blood vessels, which carry blood over the penis that is injected over the penis with a small 29 gauge needle over the corpora cavernosa area of the penis.
  • Aspiration: The blood is very much drained from the penis employing 16 or 18 gauge needle and syringe.
  • Surgery: A surgical procedure can help in rerouting the blood can be performed. After this you can place over the area over the genitals.

For any further enquiry on Priapism please contact:

Dr. Gautam Banga

MBBS,MS,M.Ch (Urology)
Urologist, Andrologist and Genito -Urinary Reconstructive Surgeon
Contact no. : 91- 9886624303 | +91-9999062316
Website :

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