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Erection for Long Hours - You Might be Suffering from Priapism!

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Mahesh Nawal 91% (641ratings)
Sexologist, Indore  •  34years experience
Erection for Long Hours - You Might be Suffering from Priapism!

Priapism is a disorder where the blood flow to the male reproductive organ is severely disrupted, which results in blood being trapped inside it. This will result in a prolonged erection even after sexual arousal has diminished which is not only painful but, may even disrupt your normal life. It's medical emergency. If not relieved priapism well in time, it may lead to gangrene of the organ and amputation may be required!

Arousal and Blood Flow 
When a man gets sexually aroused, the body supplies blood to his pelvis and penis. As soon as blood enters in the penis, it enlarges the vessels making the tissues turgid with blood and thus results in an erection. Once sexual arousal has gone down, the blood returns back and ensures that the penis returns to its flaccid state. 

Problems with Blood Flow 
Priapism occurs when the blood inside the penis is trapped even after sexual arousal has gone down. When blood fills the chambers of the penis known as corpora cavernosa it engorges the tissue. However, even after sexual arousal goes down the blood may remain trapped within keeping the penis erect. These erections may last for hours causing severe pain and even hamper sexual arousal later. 

Types of Priapism 
There are two types of Priapism which are: 

  1. Low-flow Priapism: This form of priapism has been primarily attributed to sickle-cell anaemia, blood cancer or even malaria. You need to get treatment urgently as regular occurrences of these can cause scarring and even lead to permanent erectile dysfunction
  2. High-flow Priapism: This type of priapism is comparatively rare and is less painful. This usually occurs due to an injury to the penis, scrotum or anus. It may hamper normal blood flow to the penis due to the rupture of an artery in the scrotum or the groin area in general. Correcting the underlying injury or the problems can usually quickly correct this form of Priapism. 


Some causes of priapism may include: 

  1. Sickle cell anaemia may cause Priapism most of the time 
  2. Side effect of intrapenile injection or Medications to treat other disorders are one of the major causes of this disorder 
  3. Injuries in the genital area or spinal cord 
  4. Sometimes it can be caused by insect bites from specific insects like the scorpion or black widow spider 
  5. Minute poisoning through different gases such as carbon monoxide
  6. Use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine 


There are simple symptoms for the disease like: 

  1. Rigidity in penile shaft 
  2. Tip of the penis remains soft 
  3. Severe pain in the organ 
  4. Penis remains erect for a long time(more than two hours) without any sexual arousal 


All the treatments revolve primarily around reducing the erection so as to prevent permanent damage and thus prevent erectile dysfunction. It's medical emergency. Consult doctor immediately. Some treatments, which are used to cure Priapism are: 

  1. Ice packs 
  2. Needle therapy to drain the blood from the penis and reduce the erection 
  3. Sometimes, your doctor might suggest blocking the problematic artery to prevent blood flow causing an erection 
  4. If you have low-flow priapism then the doctor might suggest surgery to drain the blood if all other means and options fail
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