What is priapism?

While maintaining an erection for a while is desirable from a sexual function standpoint, when it goes on too long it can be harmful.

Priapism is called a prolonged erection that exceeds four hours. It may be related to sexual stimulation, but not necessarily.

This term comes from a god from Greek mythology: Priapus, son of Dionysus and Aphrodite. According to legend, Priapus was born with a huge member. He was considered the symbol of fertility or male sexuality.

Priapism is not a very common condition. It is more likely in men over the age of 30. Although it can manifest in children suffering from sickle cell disease.

Its incidence is estimated at 1.5 cases per 100,000 people per year. In men older than 40 years, the proportion increases a little, reaching 2.9 cases per 100,000.

According to some investigations, this problem has increased in recent years, due to the excessive or inappropriate use of drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, such as sildenafil.

Causes of priapism

Priapism is usually secondary to an alteration of the hemodynamic mechanisms that contribute to the decrease in blood volume within the cavernous bodies or detumescence.

In turn, the problem may be related to blood vessels, muscles, or nerves.

And although in some cases it is not possible to know the root cause, there are several factors, and even conditions, that can have an impact on this problem.