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What is the definition of priapism?
Priapism is a prolonged, unwanted erection of the penis. It is usually painful and not related to sexual stimulation or arousal. Most clinicians consider priapism a medical emergency because the condition can result in impotence, sexual dysfunction or penile infection.
What causes priapism?
A normal erection occurs in response to sexual stimulation. Priapism occurs in several conditions that interfere with the blood flow to the penis or blood drainage from the penis. This condition is unrelated to sexual stimulation and can last for several hours. Below are some of the causes of priapism.
Medical conditions that can cause priapism:
Trauma as a cause of priapism:
- Direct trauma to the penis, pelvis, or perineum
- Spinal cord injuries
Medications (several drugs have priapism as a side effect):
- Blood thinners (warfarin [Coumadin] and heparin)
- Medications to help with erectile dysfunction (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Caverject)
- Illegal drugs ( cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, crystal meth, cannabis)