Home » What is Priapism? Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is Priapism? Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Priapism is a prolonged, often painful erection without sexual arousal lasting over four hours. This condition occurs when the blood in the genitals gets stuck and fails to drain. If the condition is not addressed quickly, irreversible erectile dysfunction and scarring may result. Hence, in case of such an event, immediately visit the top Sexologist Doctors in Jaipur. 

So the priapism types are: 

  • Low-flow Priapism occurs when blood becomes stuck in the erection chambers. Moreover, it often happens without a recognized cause in apparently healthy males. But it also affects those with sickle-cell illness, leukemia (blood cancer), or malaria.
  • High-flow Priapism is uncommon and often painless. A burst artery, caused by damage to the penis or perineum (the region between the scrotum and the anus), hinders normal blood circulation in the penis.

Priapism Symptoms

The symptoms differ based on the type. Low-flow Priapism has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Erection that lasts longer than four hours with no connection with sexual arousal
  • The penile shaft is rigid, whereas the penis tip (glans) is soft.
  • Increasingly severe penile pain

The signs and symptoms of High-flow Priapism include:

  • Erection that lasts longer than four hours with no connection with sexual arousal
  • Not a completely stiff penile shaft
  • Generally not painful

Priapism Causes

There are a variety of causes for this condition. They consist of the following:

  • Medications: Certain drugs may affect nerves throughout the body, including in the penis. Consequently, these neurons normally dilate the arteries that supply the penis, leading it to expand and erect.
  • Drugs abuse: Some recreational substances, particularly crystal meth, marijuana, and cocaine, are related to Priapism.
  • Any injury: Injuries to the penis or perineum may cause injury to the penile arteries, which can prohibit blood from flowing or draining. Moreover, this is a frequent reason for high-flow Priapism. 
  • Sickle cell anemia: Unusually shaped red blood cells may induce Priapism by blocking the penile artery. approximately 42 percent of people with sickle-cell anemia will ultimately develop Priapism.
  • Blood conditions: Certain blood disorders cause this condition. Chronic leukemia, thalassemia, and multiple myeloma have been linked to Priapism.

When To See A Doctor?

As per Dr. Chirag Bhandari, among the top Sexologist Doctors in Jaipur, If your erection lasts longer than four hours, you require immediate medical attention. The doctor at the emergency department will establish if you have low-flow or high-flow Priapism.

The lack of oxygen in the blood confined in the penis implies that the penile tissues get deprived of oxygen. Hence, it might be injured or destroyed. Additionally, you need to visit the doctor if you suffer repeated, prolonged, painful erections that subside independently. So you may need therapy to avoid such future episodes. 

Diagnosis & Priapism Treatment

Priapism is often diagnosed by a comprehensive physical examination and medical history. Further, the physician will examine the penis and groin to evaluate the pattern of stiffness and establish if trauma has occurred.

Occasionally, diagnostic testing is prescribed to get further information. The appropriate technique is as follows:

A little blood sample is collected from the penis; 

  • if the blood is black, the case is of low-flow Priapism
  • If the blood is brilliant red, the condition is likely high flow.

A physician may also order:

  • blood tests
  • ultrasonography 
  • toxicology of urine

The treatment depends on its cause and type. A physician will evaluate the condition and determine if it is ischemia or non-ischemic, as well as the probable reason.

If the penis has been upright for less than four hours, decongestants that reduce the penis’s blood flow may be beneficial in lowering the erection. However, if the erection has lasted between four and six hours, the medication is often beneficial.

After six hours, or if the medicine fails, more steps are required. These consist of the following:

  • Cold packs: Applying cold packs to the penis or perineum helps minimize swelling and high-flow Priapism.
  • Aspiration: After numbing the penis with medication, a doctor inserts a needle to remove the collected blood. So this technique often leads to rapid pain and edema alleviation.
  • Surgery: If cold packs and aspiration fail to resume normal blood circulation to the penis, surgery may be necessary. For low-flow Priapism, inserting a shunt or additional channel may assist drain excessive blood and normalize circulation.

Prevention Techniques & Priapism Management

You must check with your doctor if any health condition is causing it. If so, start taking medications to address the underlying problem. Ice packs will greatly help get rid of the swelling. Another tip while doing priapism treatment at home, avoid medication causing uncomfortable erections. 


Immediate priapism treatment will resolve the condition yet delaying might cause irreversible damage to the penis. Hence, it is always better to visit a doctor. For consulting with the sexologist, visit IASH Jaipur.  Read more articles on homeimprovementabout

Mack Thomas

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