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Priapism - Know Reasons Behind It!

Reviewed by
Dr. Prakash Phatnani 87% (28 ratings)
MBBS
Sexologist, Ajmer  •  22 years experience
Priapism - Know Reasons Behind It!

Priapism is a condition of the penis where the erection persists long after the sexual stimulation. It is a painful condition and is extremely common among patients suffering from sickle cell anaemia. Medical treatment is necessary at the earliest in order to prevent any damage to the tissue. This condition is mostly observed in people in the age segment of 30-40.

Symptoms of priapism:
The symptoms of priapism vary according to the type of priapism a person is affected with. Two of the most common types of priapism are non-ischemic and ischemic priapism. While the latter is more common to those with a family history of the same disease, the former can occur to any person. Some of the common symptoms of both the condition include the following:

  1. An erection that lasts for more than an hour or more
  2. Pain in the penis during erection
  3. Rigid shaft of the penile with a soft tip

What are the causes of priapism?

  1. Blood-related disorders such as leukaemia, thalassemia, and sickle cell anaemia
  2. It can also arise from side effects of other medications such as fluoxetine, sertraline, papaverine, warfarin, atomoxetine, chlorpromazine, phentolamine etc
  3. Abuse of alcohol, marijuana, drugs etc.
  4. An injury or trauma to the penis, perineum and pelvis restricting the blood flow.
  5. Penis cancer
  6. Metabolic disorders such as amyloidosis and gout
  7. Neurological disorders such as syphilis or an injury to the spinal cord
  8. A toxic infection or a bite from a spider

What are the possible complications?
Priapism can lead to serious consequences, especially the ischemic type. The trapped blood inside the penis that is devoid of oxygen can start damaging the tissue of the penis. If this disease is not treated on time, it can lead to erectile dysfunction.

How is priapism diagnosed?
A doctor starts from a physical exam and goes through medical history in order to get first-hand knowledge of the condition. This is followed by the prescription of tests such as blood gas measurement, ultrasound, count of red blood cells and platelets and other toxicology tests.

What are the treatment options?
There could be various approaches that are taken by a doctor. Excess blood can be drained out with the help of a syringe and the penis can be flushed with saline in order to get rid of the oxygen-devoid blood out of the penis. Certain medications can be injected into the pen that helps the blood to flow normally without accumulating inside the penis. If all else fails, a surgeon can perform a procedure in order to drain the blood from a different route.

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