There are many questions and doubts involving the health of men, especially concerning the form, functioning and anatomy of the penis. Some conditions can come to a man, such as genetic ones, for example Congenital Curved Penis, or acquired ones, such as Peyronie’s Disease or penile fibrosis. Not to mention erectile dysfunction, which can have different causes, organic and hormonal.
As we can see, there are many factors that influence the sexual life of men and therefore it is always good to reinforce the importance of consulting an urologist from puberty on to have guidelines and avoid such conditions. With an early diagnosis, any problem can be efficiently solved.
But among the situations I mentioned above, one of them requires special attention, not only because it is an unknown condition for many men, but also by the urgency to seek a treatment in case this condition comes to occurs. I'm talking about Priapism. If you do not know what that is or have questions concerning this issue, just read this post through that I will explain you everything.
Priapism is a prolonged erection, lasting for more than 3 hours, persistent, usually painful and without sexual stimulation.
It can occur to men at any age, with a higher incidence in men over 40 years of age, with 2.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 1.5 cases for those that haven't reached that age (Urology ® Journal). Even with such a low occurrence, it is important to be aware of the symptoms, as it can have unpleasant consequences if not treated at the right time.
The seriousness of the subject requires some information about the disease so you can easily identify it if it ever happens to you. So keep reading this post to know more about its cause, consequences and treatments.
I’ve had Priapism, what now?
If your penis remains erect for more than three hours without any physical or psychological stimulation, this may be already the diagnosis. Of course, only a medical appointment can confirm this, but it is important to take immediate action.
First, go to the emergency to reverse the erection. This can be done by means of medications or draining the blood with a catheter, depending on the situation.
With that resolved, make sure to make an appointment with an urologist to get the necessary exams, the correct diagnosis and to start the appropriate treatment to prevent Priapism from happening again or evolve into something more serious.
Causes and Types of Priapism
There are two main factors that can cause Priapism. One of them we call it Low Flow Priapism, which is when the blood fills the cavernous bodies and it is not renewed. The erection is maintained, however, without oxygenation in the blood. This leads to the death of cells, causing fibrosis and scars inside the penis that can lead to sexual impotence.
High-flow Priapism is due to a penile trauma that can lead to a greater and more constant supply of blood into the penis. Although less serious than the first one, because blood continues to be renewed and that doesn’t cause cells to die or any other bad consequences, it is still necessary to seek a doctor to do the treatment as soon as possible and prevent this problem from worsening.
It is important to note that only an urologist will be able to state whether the existing priapism is of low or high flow.
What are the treatments for Priapism?
High-flow Priapism is easier to solve. As blood is constantly renewed, there is no danger of necrosis on the penis or fibrosis that can lead to sexual impotence. Usually the problem is treated with an embolization, that is, the passage of a catheter through the vessel to obstruct the local that is excessively supplying blood to the penis.
In the case of low flow Priapism, it is necessary to remove stagnant blood in the penis by means of pulsations. If not treated urgently, the stagnant blood runs out of oxygen and causes the cells to die, which will certainly lead to sexual impotence.
If you reach this stage, only extracting blood will not be enough to solve the problem, since the difficulty of erection will remain. It is necessary to implant a penile prosthesis by a specialist on that subject who will know how to deal with the fibrosis and scars that can make it difficult to insert the implant. The choice of the type of prosthesis depends on the situation in which Priapism is found and on patient's decision.
It is worth mentioning that, in cases where the penile prosthesis is indicated, it is essential to recover the size and caliber of the penis in the same surgical procedure, taking the necessary care with the nerves and urethra. This will contribute to the success of the treatment, to the satisfaction of the patient and the resumption of sexual life.
After this post you may have already realized the implications that omission in looking for an urologist can cause. So do not hesitate to look for a doctor if you notice something wrong with your penis.
If there are still any questions on the subject, or if priapism caused you an erection problem, contact us by the button below and we are going to seek for the most appropriate treatment.
Dr. Paulo Egydio
MD, PhD, Dedicado no Tratamento da Doença de Peyronie, Pênis Curvo e Implante de Próteses Penianas. Doutor em Urologia pela USP, CRM 67482, RQE 19514. - Vencedor do Debate do Sobrevivente da AUA em 2019.