Erectile Dysfunction and Priapism
How Is Priapism Treated?
The goal of all priapism treatment is to make the erection go away and preserve future erectile function. Treatment options include:
- Ice packs: Ice applied to the penis and perineum may reduce swelling.
- Surgical ligation: Used in cases where an artery has been ruptured, the doctor will ligate (tie off) the artery that is causing the priapism in order to restore normal blood flow.
- Intracavernous injection: Used for low-flow priapism, during this treatment drugs known as alpha-agonists are injected into the penis. This causes the veins to narrow, reducing blood flow to the penis and easing swelling to the area. Oral alpha-agonists have also been used for the acute treatment of priapism.
- Surgical shunt: Also used for low-flow priapism, a shunt is a passageway that is surgically inserted into the penis to divert the blood flow and allow circulation to return to normal.
- Aspiration: After numbing the penis, doctors will insert a needle and drain blood from the penis to reduce pressure and swelling.
If you suspect that you are experiencing priapism, you should not attempt to treat it yourself. Instead, seek emergency care as soon as possible.
What Is the Outlook for People With Priapism?
As long as treatment is prompt, the outlook for most cases of priapism is very good. However, the longer medical attention is delayed, the greater the risk of permanent erectile dysfunction.