Priapism- Causes and Prevention

Kuman (pseudonym), 35, holds the zipper of his plain black trouser tenaciously like a ferret, his black furry chest glistering under the neon-bulb light in a knocking shop. Before his romp with a lady of the evening the previous night, Kuman had doused himself with plenty of alcohol and a known oral medication for his poor erection. Hours after the pleasure dance, his Big Uncle refused to go down.

He took a sudden flight to his house and did all he could to calm Big Uncle down but to no avail. He poured ice on it, temporarily camped it in the freezing compartment of his refrigerator but Big Uncle refused to be appeased. When he saw that the dance has moved from shoki to egwu odi n’ala, he boarded a cab and zaa! he was in the waiting room of a private hospital.

A nurse approached him with a smile that would have ordinarily made him want to display his flirting skills but a man whose house is on fire does not go after the rats.

‘Can I see a doctor quickly?’ his voice ragged with a potent mixture of fear and strain. He was still holding down his zipper and this time with his two hands, afraid that Big Uncle would explode in any second.

Standing alone before the doctor, Kuman quickly unzipped his trouser and Big Uncle jumped out, saluting the doctor with several nods.

He was later diagnosed of Priapism.

Priapism is a medical condition resulting when a penis stays erect for a long time, usually for more than four hours without being stimulated sexually. Normally when a man is in the mood or is sexually aroused, blood flows into the penis causing it to stand at rapt attention thus closing off the veins that drains the blood from the penis. When there is less blood flow to the penis, ejaculation follows releasing the pressure on the veins, thereby allowing the blood to flow out. I hope you understand this? Okay, simply say when a man is sexually aroused, blood flows to the penis to keep it erect.  After ejaculation (which results when the blood flow lessens) the blood flows out and the penis returns to its initial flaccid state. I hope you get it now? Now, when the blood does not flow out of the penis for more than four hours it becomes a problem with a huge capital P. This condition is called Priapism.

Priapism is gotten from a certain Greek fertility god called Priapus, who was legendary for his large, permanent erection.

Types of Priapism

There are basically two types of priapism, ischemic and non-ischemic priapsim.

Ishemic priapism otherwise known as low-flow priapism is the common type of this condition and it could be found in men between the ages of 20 to 50 and in boys between the ages of 5-10 years. This condition which is characterized by painful erection occurs when the blood could not exit the penis.

Non-ischemic priapism: This is less common and occurs when too much blood flows into the penis causing a painless erection.


Priapism is usually characterized by a painful long lasting erection which usually last for more than four hours.


Some of the causes of priapism are:

  • Frequency in the use of drugs for erectile dysfunction e.g. Viagra
  •  Sickle cell disease
  • Illegal use of drugs like marijuana and cocaine
  • Drinking too much of alcohol
  • Abuse of prescribed medications like anti-depressants


To prevent priapism, avoid/quit the unwholesome use of drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, cut down on your consumption of alcohol and before you use any oral medication for erectile dysfunction it is advised that you consult a medical practitioner.

If you suspect that you have priapism, don’t try in any way to treat it yourself, seek medical attention ASAP and with any luck you can have your Big Uncle back to shape but if you dare play nurse/doctor to yourself, the probability of having him back lies a fraction above zero.


You Might Also Like