What Is Priapism – Definition, Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Posted: August 22, 2017 by admin in Uncategorized

In men, erections occur when sufficient blood enters the erectile chambers of the penis. For this to happen, blood arteries around the genital organs must relax a bit to allow more blood to flow through them.

Since an erection in most cases is required to be maintained for a significant period of time, the veins that take blood away from the erectile muscles have to constrict a bit. This is an enzyme controlled reaction. Some natural ED remedies work by enhancing the process.


It at times happens that the normal occurrence of an erection is interfered with. In most cases, we are used to erectile disorders revolving around the inability to get an erection. Well, the reverse can happen.

What is priapism?

What is priapism in regards to erectile disorders? Priapism is a condition in which an erection lasts for more than four hours. It is not as beneficial as it may sound from afar. In fact, the condition is painful and causes a lot of discomforts. Some remedies for treating ED which have not been checked for safety guarantees can contribute to the condition.

Priapism definition includes the fact that it is an erectile disorder. This is because the normal process in which an erection is supposed to occur in men is inhibited.

When an erection is no longer necessary, the blood veins that take blood from the erectile muscles relax and open up. This allows more blood to pass through them, the reverse of what happens when a man is aroused. The enzyme that promotes this process is the same one that is blocked by erection pills like Viagra.

If for any reason it happens that blood is blocked from leaving the erectile muscles of the penis, priapism is likely to occur. Untreated priapism can end up damaging the muscles of the penis.

Priapism has been noted to mainly occur in people in their 30s. It is also common in children. In fact, if you notice an erection that won’t stop in your child, better that you seek medical help immediately.

Types, symptoms and priapism treatment

There two main types of priapism:

Low flow priapism
Also known as ischemic priapism, it occurs when blood gets trapped in the erectile muscles of the penis. This means that the penis will stay engorged even after the need for an erection is over. It is not clearly understood what exactly causes the condition.

People with leukemia and sickle cell anemia have been observed to be more predisposed to the condition. If left unaddressed for long, it can lead permanent ED on top of causing pain and discomfort.

High flow priapism
Also known as non-ischemic priapism, it occurs when a damaged blood artery inhibits the flow of blood in the penile area. An injury sustained on the penis or just below the pelvic bone can cause this type of priapism.

It is not very common. It is also less mild and easier to treat. However, it can still cause a level of damage to the penis if not addressed.

Symptoms and priapism treatment

The symptoms of the two types of priapism discussed above are not the same.
For low flow priapism, following symptoms are common:

  • An erection that has lasted 4 hours or more
  • Pain in the penile muscles
  • A hard shaft but soft glans

With low flow priapism, symptoms start occurring at a slower rate then increase with time. For example, you may notice erections that occur without sexual stimulation. They will last for a little while, sometimes even go unnoticed. With time, they will become a nuisance and much longer lasting.

High flow will basically produce almost similar symptoms. The notable difference is that in this case, you will rarely feel any pain. Priapism treatment should be sought in a hospital immediately.

Main priapism causes and home remedies for treatment

Priapism is basically caused by disruptions in how blood flows in the penis. This can be caused by any of the following:

Sickle cell anemia
Most patients with this condition do suffer priapism attacks. It is not known exactly the two conditions are related.

Some medications
Medications that will manipulate normal blood circulation are potential priapism causes. Such include ED drugs, alpha blockers, antidepressants, blood thinning drugs, some hormones and others. Commonly abused drugs such as alcohol and marijuana can also cause priapism. Saw palmetto extract and best multivitamin supplements should be taken with care if you are suffering from priapism.

Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide causes a form of poisoning where blood is unable to carry enough oxygenated blood. This is the same case that happens in sickle cell anemia patients.

Injured penis
Injuries to the penis or around the genital area are major priapism causes. Some injuries sustained in parts of the spinal cord can also contribute to the condition.

Spider bites
A certain species of spiders are known to cause priapism through its bite. It has also been reported that scorpion bites can promote the occurrence of priapism.

Priapism should be treated in a hospital, mostly through surgery. As for home remedies, you can take painkillers to relieve the pain before making it to a hospital. You are also advised to avoid holding back the urge to urinate. Also, make sure to include enough liquids in your meals.

Diagnosing untreated priapism from symptoms

If you have experienced an erection that won’t go away or that is causing you pain and discomfort, you are advised to seek medical attention. Untreated priapism can be diagnosed based on the symptoms experienced. Generally, you will need to provide information on:





  • For how long has the erection lasted for
  • Any injury that you might have sustained in the recent past
  • Drugs and medications that you might be currently using; including herbal products such as Yohimbe supplement
  • The average duration you can say your normal erections last

The doctor will run a diagnosis based on the provided information. You will also be checked for any signs of growing tumors or blood clots. The doctor may also inject some dye into your blood arteries and trace it using an x-ray machine.

By the end of the diagnosis, you will know what exactly is causing the priapism and how it can be treated. It, in fact, is very important, for it can help uncover some forms of cancers.

There are a couple of priapism treatment options that your doctor can choose from. They include surgery to remove trapped blood, use of medicines that fight alpha blockers, using ice packs to relieve the arteries even tying off damaged arteries.

These are complicated medical procedures which should not be attempted as home remedies. Your doctor will advise you on which one is best. You actually need not know about them as long as you can access professional medical services.

Female/Clitoral priapism definition

As you may already know, the clitoris the equivalent of the penis in women. When a woman is sexually aroused, the clitoris becomes engorged and slightly increases in size. This is one of the notable Muira puama benefits. It has been said to promote erections in women by increasing blood flow to female genitals especially the clitoris.

The same inhibition of blood flow that occurs in male priapism can occur in females. In this case, it is known as clitoral priapism. Note that sexual stimulation is not necessary for clitoral priapism to occur.

Alpha blockers and antidepressants are the leading female priapism causes. Although it may not be as serious as priapism in men, medical attention should be sought, to avoid any further complication.

You can browse through some clitoral priapism pictures available online to understand the condition and how to treat it better.

Final thoughts
If you are using zinc supplements and basically any other form of enhancement remedy, it is best that you get to tell your doctor about the same.

Seek medical attention immediately you suspect a priapism attack. If untreated, it may leave you permanently unable to achieve erections.