Hard as steel – what to do with a permanent erection?
Many men struggle with erection problems. Usually their best piece does not get stiff enough for sex or does not last long. Some people might wish they had a permanent erection. Better not, because this is a medical emergency.
The phenomenon is called priapism in medicine. It is a spontaneous erection. If the erection does not return within 2 hours, it is called a permanent erection. The scientific name priapism derives from Priapos, the ancient Greek god of fertility, who was always represented with an oversized, stiff limb.
A permanent erection is not a pleasurable state, but very painful. In contrast to a normal erection, in a permanent erection the two corpora cavernosa on the right and left side of the penis shaft are full to bursting with blood, but the glans is only normally supplied with blood.
Why is that dangerous?
Because it’s a blood stasis. The blood flows into the erectile tissue and remains there. This builds up pressure, which damages the blood vessels. If no action is taken against erectile dysfunction, the result is permanent erectile dysfunction, in other words impotence.
The blood congestion must be removed within 24 hours at the latest. That is why it is advisable to go to the emergency department of the nearest larger hospital in the case of a permanent erection. There are specialists there who can take care of the problem.
How does a permanent erection manifest itself?
The penis turns bluish violet and is curved upwards. The two corpora cavernosa are stiff, but the glans are flaccid. The longer the erection lasts, the more the pain increases. There are two types of permanent erections: Low flow and high flow. With the Low Flow type, the stiffening occurs because the venous blood flow is obstructed.
Most cases (90 percent) of a permanent erection belong to this type. It is more dangerous than the high flow type, where too much arterial blood is supplied so that it cannot drain off quickly enough.
What are the causes?
There is a wide range of causes. They range from inflammations, blood diseases, thromboses, diabetes but also side effects of medication. An overdose with sexual enhancers with PDE-5 inhibitors (active substances sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil) can also cause a permanent erection.
Alcohol and drug abuse, even cycling with tight trousers for hours on end, are also suspected of triggering a permanent erection. In more than 50 percent of all cases, doctors cannot find a specific cause.
How is a permanent erection treated?
If the patient doesn’t do anything, the erection will wear off on its own at some point. Until then, however, it is too late because the erectile tissue is irreparably damaged. It can get even worse and the lack of blood circulation can cause muscle tissue to die. Therefore, patients should go to the emergency room as soon as possible! The sooner the therapy begins, the greater the chances of recovery.
Physical activity is at least a means of alleviating the effects of a permanent erection, because it stimulates blood circulation. In the hospital, the doctor injects medication into the erectile tissue to relieve blood congestion. As the treatment causes severe pain, it is always carried out in combination with pain therapy. If the drug therapy has no effect, surgery will be performed if necessary.
If a professional therapy is carried out within 12 hours after the onset, the permanent erection can be cured in 90 percent of all cases without fear of permanent damage or long-term consequences.