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When do i know it's time to see a doctor?

If you consider that an erection has lasted longer than it should (more than a couple of hours, at most three hours if you have taken a drug against impotence), becomes painful or persists even in the absence of sexual stimuli, you must suspect a problem of priapism and it is vitally important that you attend the emergency room as soon as possible so that health professionals confirm the diagnosis and give the most appropriate treatment for the case.

This is no time to waste on shameful thoughts (will they laugh at me when I seek help?) or home remedies on the Internet that could worsen your state of health and endanger the integrity of your penis. We're talking about something serious.

What are the most serious complications of priapism?

In the worst case scenario, priapism could cause almost irreparable damage to the tissues of the penis and adjacent structures (such as the scrotum or testicles). Lack of blood supply (leading to lack of oxygen and other nutrients, accumulation of waste substances such as carbon dioxide or lactic acid) can lead to cell death and gangrene.

In this case, treatment consists of amputation of the penis. Fortunately, for this to happen, priapism should last more than 24 hours, more than enough time to seek medical help.

Can priapism be a manifestation of a sexually transmitted infection?

Not directly. Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as syphilis, human papillomavirus or certain fungi, can swell the delicate mucous membranes of the penis (glans or foreskin), making it easy to confuse them with priapism, especially when there is a lack of knowledge about the clinical manifestations of these pathologies. Indirectly, they could predispose the area to blood imbalances.

Can i develop penile cancer if i have suffered from priapism?

In theory, there is no clear relationship between priapism and the onset of penile cancer (which in itself has a cause that is difficult to determine).

However, severe priapism (accompanied by signs of tissue necrosis) can predispose the cells of the penis to alter its normal processes, so there must be continuous monitoring to assess that everything is progressing well.