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Erectile Dysfunction Health Center

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Erectile Dysfunction and Priapism

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The goal of any treatment for the condition is to make the erection go away and prevent ED. Options include:

  • Ice packs: They may bring down swelling for high-flow priapism.
  • Removing the blood: After your doctor numbs your penis, he’ll use a needle to drain blood from the area to ease pressure and swelling.
  • Medicines: For low-flow priapism, your doctor can inject drugs called alpha-agonists into your penis. They make the blood vessels narrow, bringing less blood the area and easing swelling. You might be able to take pills instead of getting an injection.
  • Blocking the artery: A doctor will block the blood vesselthat’s causing the problem, a procedure called an arterial embolization. Doctors sometimes use it for high-flow priapism.
  • Tying off the artery: When a ruptured artery causes priapism, a doctor will do an operation to tie it off, called surgical ligation. This is also for high-flow priapism.
  • Surgical shunt:  It’s passageway that a surgeon creates in the penis to allow the blood to drain. The procedure is best for low-flow priapism, but it does mean a high risk of ED later on.

If you think you have priapism, don't try to treat it yourself. Instead, get emergency care as soon as possible.

What's the Outlook?

Most people recover completely when they get treatment quickly. But the longer you go without medical care, the greater your risk of lasting problems getting and keeping erections.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD on September 09, 2015
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