Today we’ll talk about priapism. The term comes from the name of Priapus, the Greek god of fertility, the son of Aphrodite and Dionysus, whose distinguishing feature was a member of great length and rigidity. In modern terms, priapism -is a prolonged (4-6 hours) pathological erection of the penis that persists even after an orgasm and is not necessarily associated with a sexual stimulus.If you do not seek help in a timely manner, priapism can lead to irreversible tissue damage and later on erectile dysfunction..
Classification of priapism
Various forms of priapism are divided into two broad categories: ischemic (venous) priapism and non-ischemic (arterial).
The first category is characterized by a particularly stiff and painful erection. (The ischemic type of priapism is found mainly in patients with hematological diseases).
With arterial priapism, the penis is not so hard and squeezing it is almost painless.
Causes of Priapism
Priapism is a fairly rare disease. One of the causes of the disease is sickle cell anemia, which occurs in boys aged 5 to 10 years. It provokes a pathological erection of blood stasis in the cavernous bodies. After a few hours, in the absence of blood circulation, smooth muscle cells begin to suffer from a lack of oxygen. There is a state of local acidosis with increased blood viscosity. When oxygen starvation of tissues becomes especially prolonged, a lack of oxygen causes necrosis and fibrosis of muscle cells.
Venous priapism is caused by a number of systemic blood diseases, such as leukemia, thalassemia, hemophilia. Sometimes tumor, allergic, toxicological and pharmacological factors «come into play» . As for the latter, one of the most common causes of priapism in adult men is the injection of drugs such as phentolamine and alprostadil. .
There are frequent episodes of priapism associated with the abuse of new generation drugs, such as sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil. Among other drugs that can contribute to the appearance of priapism are antidepressants and anticoagulants.
The cause of a pathological erection can also be alcoholism and drug addiction.
What to do in case of priapism?
An urgent therapeutic intervention is needed to prevent erectile dysfunction and secondary fibrosis of the corpora cavernosa. An important step is the diagnosis and correct identification of the causes of priapism, and in the future - the prevention of relapse.
As emergency therapy, specialists use an intracavernous injection of vasoconstrictor substances, for example, phenylephrine, norepinephrine, metaraminol. In a word, in the event of priapism, you should immediately call "103". Do not flatter yourself - ice does not help, but only causes an increasing sympathetic tone!