Everything You Want To Know About Prolonged Erections
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Everything You Want To Know About Prolonged Erections

Lakshmi Devan
2 min read

Everything You Want To Know About Prolonged Erections

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Too much is not good, and if you consider the case of priapism, also kind of painful. To put it straight, you do NOT want an 8-hour long erection.

Priapism is the medical name for when you’ve had an erection for more than 4 hours, and it won’t go down. Sometimes, the blood that fills the penis during an erection is unable to get out – causing intense pain. Take it seriously, because an erection that lasts over 4 hours is an emergency room situation. If not treated in time, it may completely damage the penis, and cause erectile dysfunction and scarring. There are 2 kinds of priapism:
  1. Low flow (ischemic) priapism
  2. High flow (non-ischemic) priapism
High flow (non-ischemic) priapism is usually not painful, and happens because of excessive blood flow to the penis during arousal. The low flow type of priapism, where blood gets trapped within the penis, is more dangerous and pain-causing. Could it happen to you? Only you'll know, but here's what could cause it:
  1. Diseases like sickle cell anaemia, leukaemia, carbon monoxide poisoning, and scorpion stings.
  2. Side effects from drugs like antidepressants, blood thinners, and especially drugs taken for erectile dysfunction.   
  3. Alcohol abuse, and the use of illegal drugs like cocaine.
  4. Lastly, injuries and trauma to the genitals, damaging nerves and arteries.
So what do you do when priapism happens? Have you watched the show called Sex sent me to the E.R.? Never mind, you run to the E.R...that's what you do.

Now, how do you know when and if it's really happening (other than the 4-hour erection of course)? Well, a few additional symptoms are:
  1. Pain or tenderness in the penis.
  2. A rigid shaft, but a soft glans.
The doctor will study your medical history and run the following tests:
  1. A colour Doppler test, to see how blood is flowing through your penis.
  2. Another test where a dye will be injected to study it flowing through your arteries, called an arteriogram.
And lastly, once all the results are out, he is going to recommend from the following treatments – some simple, some not so much:

  1. Application of ice packs to soothe the swelling for high-flow cases.
  2. Draining of blood from the area, using a needle to ease the swelling, pressure, and pain.
  3. The low-flow cases get adrenergic alpha-agonists prescribed, that narrow down blood vessels, and slow down blood flow to the area. Alpha-agonists are available as both pills and injections.
  4. Blocking of the artery that is the root of all this pain, in a procedure called arterial embolisation.
  5. Tying up the broken artery that is the causing the issue, called surgical ligation.
  6. Lastly, a surgical passageway achieved to drain out blood from the area, which sadly puts the person at high risk of erectile dysfunction later.
Takeaway from this? Nothing but that the sooner you get yourself to the doctor, the better your chances of a complete recovery. So, stop with the procrastination and start taking your wellness seriously.

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