Priapism is a painful condition in which the penis stays erect
without sexual stimulation. Priapism can occur in short, repeated episodes, or
it may last for days or weeks.
Priapism can be a serious problem.
It can cause unbearable pain and may damage the penis, making it impossible to
get a normal erection (erectile dysfunction). Erectile dysfunction is the main
long-term result of priapism, and it can occur after just one episode of
Priapism can affect males of any age. Although the cause
is often unknown, it can result from sickle cell disease, diabetes, leukemia,
or the use of certain medicines.
Ice packs may ease the pain.
Any episode of priapism that lasts for more than 3 hours requires urgent
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD