Does your erection last more than 4 hours?
You might be wondering what priapism is all about so priapism is an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours, is usually painful, and may happen without sexual arousal.
It can happen to males of all ages, including newborns.
Erections can’t happen without proper blood flow. Normally when a man gets aroused, the arteries in his pelvis and penis relax and expand, bringing more blood to spongy tissues in the penis. At the same time, the valves in the veins close, trapping blood in the area and causing an erection.
After the excitement ends, the vein valves open, the blood flows out, and the penis returns to its usual state.
Prompt treatment for priapism is usually needed to prevent tissue damage that could result in the inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction).
There are two main types of priapism which include:
- Low-flow or ischemic priapism: This type happens when blood gets trapped in the erection chambers. Most of the time, there’s no clear cause, but it may affect men with sickle-cell disease, leukaemia, or malaria. If you don’t get treatment right away, it can lead to scarring and permanent erectile dysfunction (ED)
- High-flow or non-ischemic priapism: This type is more rare than low-flow and is usually less painful. It often happens when an injury to the penis or the area between the scrotum and anus, called the perineum, ruptures an artery, which prevents blood in the penis from moving normally.
The signs and symptoms include;
- Erection lasting more than four hours or unrelated to sexual interest or stimulation
- Erect but not fully rigid penile shaft
Causes of priapism
Priapism occurs when some part of this system the blood, blood vessels, smooth muscles or nerves changes normal blood flow, and an erection persists. The underlying cause of priapism often can’t be determined, but several conditions may play a role.
Injury to the spinal cord and the genital area
A common cause of nonischemic priapism a persistent erection caused by excessive blood flow into the penis is trauma or injury to your penis, pelvis or perineum, the region between the base of the penis and the anus.
Blood-related diseases might contribute to priapism usually ischemic priapism when blood isn’t able to flow out of the penis. These disorders include:
- Sickle cell anaemia
- Other hematologic dyscrasias, such as thalassemia, multiple myeloma and others
Alcohol and drug use
Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other illicit drug abuse can cause priapism, particularly ischemic priapism.