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Priapism is when you have an erection that lasts 4 hours or longer. The erection may occur without sexual stimulation. Your penis may be dark red or purplish. Priapism is usually painful and can lead to permanent tissue damage.



  • Medicines may be given to decrease pain and swelling or to regulate your hormone levels.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Sexual activity:

Ask your healthcare provider when it is safe for you to have sex again.

Prevent priapism:

  • Manage medical conditions that increase your risk for priapism.
  • Do not drink alcohol if it caused your priapism before.
  • Do not use drugs. Talk with your healthcare provider if you use drugs and need help to stop.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have an erection for more than 4 hours.
  • You have a painful erection that happens over and over.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Priapism (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.