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What are the complications of priapism?
Ischemic priapism can cause significant complications. Due to the lack of oxygen, there can be significant damage if priapism lasts for more than four hours. The complications include erectile dysfunction as well as disfigurement of the penis.
When to see a health care professional
A painful erection lasting for more than 4 hours should trigger an emergency department visit. If the unwanted erection resolves in less than four hours a nonemergent doctor's visit should be scheduled.
Can priapism be prevented?
Priapism or recurrence of priapism can be prevented by treating the underlying medical cause that resulted in priapism or changing medications that have priapism as their side effects. No medications should be discontinued or changed until you speak with your healthcare provider.
Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology
"Guideline on the Management of Priapism." American Urological Association.
"Priapism." MedscapeReference.com. Updated Oct. 15, 2015.