Priapism (Prolonged Erection): Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Priapism (say "PRY-uh-piz-um") is an erection that does not go away. This happens when the penis fills with fluid without sexual stimulation. And it does not go away after orgasm. It may last on and off for days or weeks. The cause of priapism is often not known. But it can happen to men who have sickle cell disease or diabetes. Taking or using medicine for erection problems may also cause priapism.

Your doctor may have removed blood from your penis to ease the pain. And he or she may have given you a shot of medicine to soften the erection.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Urinate often. Don't wait until you feel the need.
  • Avoid the medicine that may have caused the painful erection.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a new painful erection that does not go away.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: December 3, 2017