What is Priapism?

Priapism, as it is called, is an abnormal reaction of the nervous system that causes the tongue to become stiff and drool. There are two main types of priapism, ischemic and non-ischemic. There are various treatment options for these conditions, including antithrombotic therapy.


Priapism is a condition where a person experiences erections that last longer than normal. This condition can be caused by a number of factors. Some of the most common causes are sickle cell anemia, drug use, or cancer. If left untreated, priapism can result in permanent damage to the penis.

When a person has a sudden, painful erection, he or she should seek medical care immediately. This is because priapism can cause permanent nerve damage and erectile dysfunction.

The first step in treating priapism is to remove the blood that is trapped in the penis. This can be done with a procedure called aspiration. This is done by inserting a small needle into the penis and then removing the blood. This is an effective method of removing the obstructed blood in about 80 percent of men with ischemic priapism.

In some cases, the doctor may inject a drug that will allow the blood to flow out of the penis. This is called phenylephrine. Alternatively, a surgeon may perform surgery to ligate the damaged arteries.

If the doctor determines that the priapism is due to sickle cell disease, oxygenation and alkalinization may be required. A comprehensive blood test can also reveal signs of leukemia. In addition, a Doppler ultrasound can be performed to determine if the blood is clogged or narrowed.

A shunt can also be used to drain excess blood. This procedure can be done in the glans, glans of the corpora cavernosa, or in the corpora cavernosa itself. In extreme cases, a surgically implanted penile prosthesis may be used.

During treatment, the goal is to maintain erectile responsiveness and prevent permanent damage to the penis. If a shunt is not necessary, oral medications may offer relief.

Non-ischemic vs ischemic priapism

Priapism is a penile erection that persists for more than four hours without sexual stimulation. This erectile dysfunction may be caused by a variety of reasons, including medications, illicit drugs, trauma to the penis, and hematologic or central nervous system-mediated abnormalities. It can be treated with various techniques, but proper diagnosis is important to ensure the appropriate treatment.

Nonischemic priapism, also known as high-flow priapism, is caused by an arterial fistula in the corpus cavernosum, a structure within the penis. This arterial inflow is not regulated and causes a nontender, partially erect erection. However, there are some cases when nonischemic priapism is diagnosed after a traumatic injury.

Ischemic priapism, on the other hand, is characterized by low flow and a decrease in the return of blood to the penis. This leads to hypoxia, which can damage the tissues of the penis.

The initial work-up for ischemic priapism is similar to that for nonischemic priapism. It includes a physical examination, an assessment of pain, and a color-flow Doppler ultrasonography of the penis. The color-flow Doppler ultrasonography will provide information on the blood flow and vascular structures.

The initial treatment for ischemic priapism consists of selective arterial embolization, which is a form of interventional therapy. A variety of devices, such as microcoils, N-butyl cyanoacrylate, and ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer, are used for this purpose.

For nonischemic priapism, a watch-and-wait approach is commonly used. This approach involves observing the patient for up to five days before undergoing surgery. In the majority of patients, spontaneous resolution occurs. This is more likely in the case of patients who have no underlying anatomic abnormalities.

A number of sympathomimetic agents, such as phenylephrine, have been studied to determine their efficacy. However, these agents can cause cardiac arrhythmias and hypertension.

Stuttering priapism

Priapism is a condition that is characterized by recurrent episodes of prolonged erection. The duration and frequency of the episode vary from individual to individual and usually end in spontaneous remission. Ischaemic priapism, a form of stuttering priapism, is characterized by a reduced or absent flow of blood from the penis, which can result in fibrosis of the corpus cavernosum.

Priapism may be triggered by a variety of factors, including sexual stimulation, vasoactive drugs, metabolic diseases, and benign hematological disorders. Prolonged erections are usually induced during nocturnal sleep. They are also accompanied by detumescence, a process that results from increased intracellular calcium and opiorphins.

The incidence of stuttering priapism is estimated at 0.5 to 1.5 per 100 000 person-years. The average Hgb level of SCD patients with stuttering priapism tends to be lower than those without the disease, and the incidence of stroke and acute chest syndrome is higher.

Several pharmacological agents have been suggested for the treatment of stuttering priapism. These include terbutaline, antiandrogens, clomiphene citrate, nitric oxide (NO) agonists, digoxin, and sildenafil. The dosage of each agent should be determined based on the clinical picture and CBC laboratory findings.

One patient with stuttering priapism received daily PDE-5 inhibitor therapy. The medication shortened ischemic priapism episodes and resulted in the progressive restoration of erectile function over a 24-month follow-up period.

Surgical intervention can be considered in patients with prolonged stuttering priapism who have advanced to ischemic priapism. The procedure includes the aspiration of the penile blood and the introduction of a penile prosthesis.

Invasive procedures have been effective in major, protracted ischaemic events. However, many of these procedures are associated with significant adverse effects. The use of noninvasive measures, such as automated red cell exchange, can be useful in preventing ischaemic attacks.

Antithrombotic therapy

Priapism is a sexual dysfunction. It is caused by a number of conditions, including Fabry disease, melanoma, and renal cancer. The treatment of priapism involves antithrombotic therapy. However, the quality of the evidence for this treatment has been mixed. Several studies suggest that it is effective in the treatment of short-term pharmacologically-induced priapism.

In contrast, the majority of studies on the medical management of priapism have been retrospective case series with no formal protocol. The overall quality of the studies is poor and it was difficult to establish clear recommendations. The lack of systematic reporting of patient characteristics was one of the major limitations of the review.

There were also difficulties in defining the conditions included in the studies and in the definition of the outcomes. There was considerable variability in the length of follow-up among the studies.

Although a limited number of studies have reported the successful use of periprocedural antithrombotic therapy for ischemic priapism, further exploration of this approach is needed. The aim of periprocedural antithrombotic treatment is to reduce the risk of shunt thrombosis and facilitate the resolution of the priapism.

Intracavernous injections of alpha-agonists have been shown to be effective in treating low-flow priapism. These procedures are performed with an incision through the tunica albuginea. The injections are usually diluted in normal saline and the doses are given every 3 to 5 minutes. Some doctors recommend a total dose of 1,000 mcg.

Selective embolization with coils, clots, and gels is also recommended. The treatment is not usually as effective as surgery and the procedure should only be considered a second-line intervention.

Hydroxyurea is often used for priapism prophylaxis in sickle cell patients. It decreases the amount of hemoglobin S produced by the body, as well as increases the levels of fetal hemoglobin. The dose is increased slowly until the patient is able to tolerate it.

Treatments for high-flow priapism

Priapism can be classified into three subtypes: non-ischemic priapism, low-flow priapism, and high-flow priapism. These subtypes are classified based on their clinical features, coagulation profile, and erectile function.

Non-ischemic priapism is characterized by mildly painful persistent erection of the penis following perineal trauma. Patients with this condition may be treated with conservative methods. It is important to perform diagnostic testing in order to assess the extent of the disease and achieve optimal outcomes.

A 29-year-old male suffered bruising and swelling after a motorcycle accident. He also had a history of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The patient also had rigid corpora cavernosa and a soft abdomen. He requested rapid resolution of symptoms. He was referred to a urologist in Australia. He agreed to undergo distal shunting.

Priapism is often not diagnosed in a timely manner. It can be a serious medical emergency. If diagnosed early, it can be treated with conservative approaches. It is important to consider the risk of priapism, as it can lead to irreversible ischemia and tissue necrosis.

High-flow priapism can be caused by a vascular fistula. If this is the case, it is a rare complication. This complication can lead to unregulated cavernous arterial blood flow, reactive hyperemia, and erectile dysfunction.

In the case of high-flow priapism, endovascular embolization is a reasonable treatment. Superselective embolization is also a viable option. The treatment involves instilling an agent in the penile cavernosa at five-minute intervals. This therapy has proven to be successful in many cases.

For a patient with low-flow priapism, it is a good idea to have a physical exam. It is also helpful to use color doppler ultrasound, which can provide information on the circulatory state of the priapism.

Health Sources:

Health A to Z. (n.d.).

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.).

Directory Health Topics. (n.d.).

Health A-Z. (2022, April 26). Verywell Health.

Harvard Health. (2015, November 17). Health A to Z.

Health Conditions A-Z Sitemap. (n.d.).

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman is a Healthy Home Remedies Writer for Home Remedy Lifestyle! With over 10 years of experience, I've helped countless people find natural solutions to their health problems. At Home Remedy Lifestyle, we believe that knowledge is power. I am dedicated to providing our readers with trustworthy, evidence-based information about home remedies and natural medical treatments. I love finding creative ways to live a healthy and holistic lifestyle on a budget! It is my hope to empower our readers to take control of their health!

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