Skip to main content


Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is priapism?

Priapism is an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours. The erection happens without sexual arousal. The cause of priapism is not always known. Priapism can be painful and lead to permanent tissue damage.

Male Reproductive System

What are the types of priapism?

What increases my risk for priapism?

How is priapism diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you. Tell your provider when your symptoms began and if they are constant. Also tell your provider about all your current medicines. Your provider may ask about any recent surgery or procedure you had. You may also need any of the following:

How is priapism treated?

Treatment will depend on the type you have. High-flow priapism often goes away on its own. You may need any of the following:

How can I manage my symptoms?

Apply ice on your groin for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps decrease blood flow to your penis and relieve your erection.

How can I help prevent priapism?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© Copyright Merative 2024 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Learn more about Priapism

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

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