A painful erection that lasts for an unusually long time is medically known as priapism. This can happen due to multiple causes and is most common in men in their 30s. Examples of conditions that can cause priapism include Peyronie's disease, a disease in which a sheet of scar tissue forms within the penis. Other causes can include
- medication side effects,
- trauma to the penis, or
Men with sickle cell anemia and some other blood diseases are at increased risk for priapism.
Painful or prolonged erections are not normal, and an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours requires urgent medical attention.
Other causes of painful erection (priapism)
- Trauma, Such as a Car Accident or Bike Accident
Main Article on Painful Erection (Priapism)
Causes of Painful Erection (Priapism)
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Peyronie's Disease (Curvature of the Penis)
Peyronie's disease or curvature of the penis (Peyronie disease) is a condition in which scar tissue develops inside the penis. This scar tissue causes the penis to develop an abnormal curvature in the scarred area. At this time, there is no known cause of Peyronie's disease. Symptoms of Peyronie's disease include pain during intercourse or ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), the inability to have sexual intercourse, anxiety, stress, an indentation of the shaft at the site where there is plaque or scarring, and an angulation of the penis when erect or flaccid. There is no cure for Peyronie's disease, however, there are medications that can reduce symptoms of the disease. Surgery or penile implants may be an option for severe cases.
Priapism (Penis Disorder)
Priapism is a penis disorder characterized by a prolonged, unwanted erection of the penis. Medical conditions, trauma, or medications can cause priapism. There are three categories of priapism: ischemic priapisim, non-ischemic priapism, and stuttering priapism. Treatment includes: medical intervention, medication, and at times, surgery.
Sickle Cell Disease (Anemia)
Sickle cell anemia (sickle cell disease), a blood disease which shortens life expectancy, is caused by an inherited abnormal hemoglobin. Symptoms of sickle cell anemia may include bacterial infections, painful swelling of the hands and feet, fever, leg ulcers, fatigue, anemia, eye damage, and lung and heart injury. Treatment for sickle cell anemia aims to manage and prevent the worst manifestations of the disease and focuses on therapies that block red blood cells from stacking together, which can lead to tissue and organ damage and pain.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the bowel and near the anus, causes most UTIs. UTI symptoms include pain, abdominal pain, mild fever, urinary urgency and frequency. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.