What You Should Know About Priapism

OK guys, this article is especially for you but not limited to the male folks. Priapism is a condition that can happen to men of all age group but bound to occur more in men with the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

I’m sure the average dude on the block would be so proud of himself to have an erection that lasts more than the usual time frame it should. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t mean when you have to enhance your sexuality using Viagra, or the usual alcoholic concoction drinks all in the name of taking herbs.

So, back to the reason this is coming out to you, Priapism is known to be a full or partial erection that persists for more than 4 hours. Oh you think that would be fun right? Wait till you’re done with this piece.

There are three kinds of Priapism: Ischemic priapism (veno-occlusive, low flow), Stuttering priapism (recurrent ischemic priapism), and Nonischemic priapism (arterial, high flow)..

Ischemic priapism is a pathologic phenotype, of SCD. It is considered a urologic emergency when untreated priapism results in corporal fibrosis and erectile dysfunction.

Its recommended treatment is the decompression of the penis by needle aspiration and if need be, give injection (or irrigation) with dilute sympathomimetic drugs.

Stuttering priapism is a pattern in which there is recurring unwanted painful erections in men with SCD. Patients in this category usually awaken with an erection that persists for several hours and ultimately become painful.

The aims of managing the stuttering ischemic priapism condition are: prevention of future episodes, preservation of erectile function, and balancing the risks vs benefits of various treatment options.

The current molecular hypothesis for stuttering priapism in SCD proposes that insufficient basal levels of phosphodiesterase type-5 are available in the corpora to degrade cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP).

Nocturnal erections result from normal neuronal production and surges of cGMP. In the context of SCD stuttering priapism, these nocturnal surges in cGMP go unchecked, resulting in stuttering priapism.

As earlier said,  erection normally occurs in response to physical or psychological stimulation. This stimulation causes certain blood vessels to relax and expand, increasing blood flow to spongy tissues in the penis. Consequently, the blood-filled penis becomes erect. After the stimulation ends, the blood flows out, and the penis returns to its nonrigid (flaccid) state.

Priapism can occurs in the case of blood-related diseases like Leukemia, and other times, occurs as a result of misuse or overdose of drugs like antidepressants, recreational use of erectile dysfunction drugs, blood thinners, excessive consumption of alcohol, use of illegal drugs, poisonous venom (from scorpion or black widow spider), blood clot or spinal cord injuries.

The condition is very embarrassing in nature and also a dire consequence to erectile function, it is important to inform patients, parents, and providers about the relationship of SCD to prolonged painful erections.

Prompt diagnosis and appropriate medical management of priapism is necessary to spare patients surgical interventions and preserve erectile function.

Plenty grammar and terminologies so far eh? Bottom line is that you make sure you seek medical attention once your erection or that of someone you know is prolonged beyond 4 hours like ASAP!

But why do you have to wait a whole 4 hours extra before easing yourself of the pain?! Be wise…

credit: pubmed/mayoclinic.org

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