Encyclopedia > Priapism

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Priapism is a medical condition, where the sufferer is unable to lose a penile erection. This is an urological emergency and needs proper treatment by qualified medical practitioner.

The name comes from the god Priapus, referring to that god's most notable attribute. Priapism is not however, associated with sexual thoughts, and is a painful condition.

Priapism can be caused by certain drugs, such as anti-depressants and Viagra, and can be a possible sign of a spinal injury[?]. Conditions that thicken the blood, or affect the red blood cells, such as leukaemia and sickle-cell anaemia can cause this problem.

Erection is maintained, as blood cannot exit the vessels of the penis. Because there is little circulation when this happens, the penis can suffer ischaemic damage. Potential outcomes include gangrene, extensive clotting of the retained blood inside the penis causing damage to the vessels and perhaps impairing future erectile ability (with or without drug or mechanical asistance), and in the extreme, amputation. Treatment is usually hydraulic, withdrawing a part of the trapped blood.

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