Erection Danger The Real Health Risks of Priapism

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    Feb 14, 2014
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Erection Danger The Real Health Risks of Priapism Photo by John Dugan

What man hasn’t, on occasion, wished for a never-ending erection that can last for hours upon hours? Well, as the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for. This dream condition, known as priapism, does in fact become a reality for some men, but for those who have experienced priapism, it often turns out to be more of a nightmare than a dream come true. Learn more about this painful and potentially dangerous condition, what to do if it happens, and how to keep the penis healthy.

Pria-what now?

Priapism is the medical name for a condition in which a man has a boner that has been persistent and will not go away for 4 to 6 hours or more - in the absence of any type of stimulation. Meaning, a guy is just chillin’ on his couch -- not doing anything - with a woody that won’t quit. Not as fun or pleasant as it may sound, priapism causes painful swelling and can permanently damage the tissue of the penis if not treated quickly; thus, a trip to the ER is usually needed to return the penis to a flaccid state. The condition all but stops proper circulation to the penis; after several hours, this can damage the tiny blood vessels and capillaries that supply the penis with oxygen and nutrients. Because the damage can be irreversible, the man who does not seek medical help can suffer numerous serious health problems:

1. Permanent loss of erectile function;

2. Impotence;

3. Gangrene - a condition which is fortunately very rare, but could ultimately lead to a penectomy, or complete surgical removal of the penis.

What causes priapism?

There are two types of priapism that are caused by different situations. Low-flow priapism simply occurs when blood enters the penis and becomes trapped in the penis and cannot flow back out. There is no known cause for this condition, and it can happen in an otherwise healthy man; however, it is more likely to occur in men who have sickle-cell anemia. The other type of priapism, known as high-flow priapism, is much more rare and is caused by a ruptured artery somewhere in a guy’s undercarriage. It may have ruptured in the penis itself, or in the perineum; this obstruction causes the blood to stay in the penis, rather than returning to circulation.

There are a few other conditions that have been linked to priapism, though again, there is no one clear cause. These may include certain cancers, medications - including some that treat erectile dysfunction, genital injury, spinal cord trauma, a venomous bite from a black widow spider, carbon monoxide poisoning and use of some illicit substances like pot and cocaine.

How is it treated?

That depends on what the doctor determines the cause is, which is why a man should not attempt to self-diagnose and treat this rare condition on his own. A doctor may recommend ice packs to reduce swelling, removal of blood from the penis via a needle, a shunt, an injection of medication into the penis, or even surgery - in the case of a ruptured artery.

Keeping the penis healthy

While there is no clear-cut reason as to why a man may become inflicted with this painful problem, and therefore no specific prevention, there are things he can do to keep his penis healthy overall and hopefully minimize his chances of encountering the issue. Exercising regularly will keep the circulation flowing to the entire body, therefore keeping those teeny blood vessels healthy and functioning properly. Having regular physicals with a doctor to get the undercarriage checked out may also help spot areas of concern before they become a big problem. Finally, stepping up the daily penis hygiene routine will help keep the manhood strong and healthy. Simply applying a penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) directly to the penis after a shower will deliver important nutrients directly to the penis where it is needed most. A vitamin-packed cream can help improve circulation and erectile functioning while enhancing sensitivity to the entire manhood.

Author's Profile

Visit for more information about treating common penis health problems, including soreness, redness and loss of penis sensation. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.

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