Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Priapism

Priapism is a potentially harmful and painful condition brought about as a result of having an erection for an extended period of time (over four hours). The condition usually comes about despite the lack of physical or mental stimulation and is a medical emergency.

Priapism can arrise via various different neurological and vascular factors. Men with spinal injuries have been known to suffer from priapism. 35% of male sufferers of sickle-cell disease have experienced it (click). Intra-cavernous injections for the treatment of erectile dysfunction can also cause priapism as can some anti depressants.

An extended erection can cause damage to the tissue and blood vessels within the penis. This can result in erectile dysfunction, impotence or in extreme cases, gangrene. Immediate hospital treatment should be sought if you experience prispism, as there are various options for helping to reverse the priapic state. If reversal is not achieved quickly, corporal fibrosis can occur, which can result in peyronie's disease like symptoms.

In men damaged as a result of priapism there is however some hope. In this study, two men who suffered from priapism of greater than 48-hour duration benefited from a treatment also used to treat peyronie's disease, the PAV cocktail. The PAV cocktail consists of Pentoxifylline, L-arginine and Viagra, and through increasing nitric oxide production can have an antifibrotic effect.

The study notes that "At 1 year, both patients were found to have supple corpora without evidence of corporal fibrosis.". It's a shame there aren't more studies into this particular treatment regimen for priapism at this time, but it at least provides a long term treatment option, on top of the well understood emergency ones.

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