Do not ever laugh or shrug off what medical bottles or boxes give you as side effects or warnings. All of the side effects and warnings are put on the medication for a purpose. Priapism is a topic we all laugh or giggle about but it is a very serious emergency problem.
- You can have an erection for four hours plus without sexual stimulation!
The etymology of the word comes from Priapus, the Greek male fertility god. This condition is when the blood vessels which cause the flow of blood out of the penis contract, trapping the blood. The trapped blood causes an erection which is extremely painful. This condition can occur in all age groups, including newborns. Underlying conditions which can contribute to priapism are as follows:
- Sickle cell anemia. Most are adult cases. Approximately 42% of all adults with this disease will develop priapism.
- Multiple sclerosis or other nervous system diseases.
- Diabetes or other metabolic diseases.
- Drug side effects. The drugs most often involved are certain psychiatric drugs such as Desyrel, Prozac, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Valium, Thorazine and the blood thinner Coumadin.
- Medications taken orally to manage erectile dysfunction. We have all heard of Viagra and Levitra and Cialis.
- Doctors have also linked priapism with marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Drugs such as papaverine, which is directly injected into the penis to treat erectile dysfunction. Many men who have had their prostate removed use this type of drug.
- Other factors which can cause priapism are: spinal cord injuries, blood clots, and poisonous venom from black widow spiders or scorpions.
The most common causes of priapism are drugs that are used to treat impotence. These are usually injected directly into the penis. The second common cause is when a person does not have an erectile dysfunction problem and experiments with non-injectable drugs used to treat this problem. The third cause is regular drug overdose of recreational drugs.
When erections last over 4 hours it is a very serious condition and medical care is required immediately. The longer a man waits the more cell damage occurs from lack of oxygen due to reduced blood flow to the penis.
Some cases are resolved from repeated ejaculations. Other require a more aggressive treatment by a doctor inserting a needle into the penis to remove the blood. This is usually done in conjunction with heparin and saline to reduce clotting.
Blood clotting is one of the most common complications of priapism. Impaired erectile function can occur due to damage of the blood vessels and the worse complication (besides dying) is gangrene.
Erectile dysfunction drugs are not to experiment with for fun. They can cause serious problems and the problems should not be laughed at but rather taken care of immediately. Always consult your doctor before using any type of erectile drug or you could end up in the emergency room with priapism. Priapism is no fun and you will discover there is nothing sexy about it!