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Patient with Persistent painful penis erection Seeking Medical Assistance

Case Study: Priapism – Management of painful penis erection

Case Presentation of painful penis erection

A 36-year-old male, a bus driver by occupation and resident of Mardan City. Presented at the clinic with a complaint of painful penis erection that had been ongoing for the past 14 hours. The patient reported that the prolonged erection. It began after he engaged in sexual intercourse with his wife for approximately two hours the previous night. However, despite the extended sexual activity, he did not experience ejaculation. The erection persisted throughout the night without any sexual stimulation or arousal.

The patient revealed that he had taken a recreational dose of Viagra before engaging in sexual activity. In a hope to enhance his sexual performance. He admitted that he had never used Viagra before. He was totally unaware of the potential side effects and risks associated with the medication.

As the hours passed, the persistent erection became increasingly uncomfortable and painful, leading the patient to seek medical assistance. He acknowledged feeling embarrassed and hesitant to seek help. But the pain in the shaft and glans of his penis push him to visit the clinic.

Apart from the persistent erection and associated pain, the patient reported experiencing whole body spasms, nausea, and headache. He attributed these symptoms to the distress and anxiety caused by the prolonged erection. The embarrassment of discussing such an intimate matter.

During the physical examination,

The patient’s erect penis was measured to be approximately 16.9 centimeters (6.5 inches) in length. With evident engorgement of the corpora cavernosa. The penis was tender to touch, which further corroborated the suspicion of priapism. However, there were no signs of penile discharge, dysuria, or trauma. The scrotum showed no edema or erythema, indicating that the issue was confined to the penis and not affecting other parts of the genitourinary system.

The patient appeared extremely shy and nervous, and his heart rate was elevated, indicating tachycardia. These findings likely resulted from the psychological distress associated with the prolonged erection and the visit to the clinic for such a sensitive issue.

The patient’s surgical history was remarkable for no significant previous urological procedures or interventions. Moreover, he had no history of genitourinary trauma, infection, or previous episodes of priapism.

Introductionpainful penis erection

This case study provides a comprehensive overview of a rare, yet critical condition in urology known as priapism. Taking as reference a real-life scenario. A 36-year-old male bus driver residing in Mardan city who experienced a persistent, of painful penis erection lasting 14 hours. This condition arose subsequent to recreational Viagra usage, with the erection persisting beyond a two-hour period of sexual intercourse and without accompanying sexual stimulation or orgasm. The purpose of this case study is to analyze this instance of priapism in detail to better understand the condition. It includes symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and potential treatments. In doing so, we can provide valuable insights for medical practitioners and students alike. Underlining the importance of early detection and prompt treatment of such serious urological conditions. Through this case, we aim to enhance our readers’ understanding and ability to manage similar future cases more effectively.

Patient Presentation

Our case revolves around a 36-year-old male bus driver, who resides in Mardan city. Presented at the clinic with a rather unusual and embarrassing complaint – of painful penis erection lasting for approximately 14 hours. This unusually prolonged erection was neither linked to sexual stimulation nor accompanied by an orgasm. Making the situation particularly puzzling and worrisome for the patient.

It is important to note that the patient confessed to consuming a recreational dose of Viagra the previous night, prior to engaging in sexual intercourse with his wife that lasted for approximately two hours. However, he did not experience an ejaculation, and the erection remained stubbornly persistent throughout the night, causing him severe discomfort.

Complicating the situation further, the patient reported additional symptoms, including body spasms, nausea, and headache. Which added to his overall distress. The physical manifestation of the issue had reached such a level that it compelled him to overcome his embarrassment and seek medical help.

The erection was associated with pain in the shaft and glans of his penis, a typical characteristic of priapism. Upon questioning, the patient disclosed no recent history of genitourinary trauma or infection. The unique combination of these symptoms and their progression paints a complex picture. Highlighting the importance of comprehensive patient history-taking and careful clinical examination in making a correct diagnosis. Through this case, we underscore the critical role of vigilant observation in the field of medicine, particularly in complex and rarely encountered situations like priapism.

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Understanding Priapism (painful penis erection)

Priapism is a rare but serious urological condition characterized by a persistent and often painful penis erection that lasts more than four hours and occurs without sexual stimulation or arousal. The condition derives its name from Priapus, the Greek god known for his permanent penis erection. Priapism can manifest in two types – ischemic (low-flow) and non-ischemic (high-flow). The former, which is more common and more serious, happens when blood isn’t able to leave the penis, causing pain and potential damage to the penile tissues.

Understanding the etiology of priapism is crucial for its management. It can occur due to a variety of causes such as sickle cell disease, spinal cord injury, and certain medications. In this case, the patient’s priapism was seemingly induced by the use of Viagra, a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor. This drug, usually prescribed for erectile dysfunction, works by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes smooth muscles in the penis, thereby facilitating blood flow and enabling an erection.

However, overusing or misusing such medications can result in over-stimulation of the relaxation process, causing an extended penile erection, as observed in our patient. The patient experiences this persistent erection, not typically linked to sexual desire or stimulation, leading to significant distress and confusion.

Understanding priapism is important for medical practitioners and students, as timely identification and intervention are critical to preventing potential long-term complications such as erectile dysfunction and penile tissue damage. Through this case study, we hope to shed light on this complex condition, its potential triggers, and implications for patient care.

Symptom Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the patient’s symptoms is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of the clinical situation and formulating the correct diagnosis. In this case, the primary concern is the of painful penis erection lasting for approximately 14 hours. The duration of the erection surpasses the usual time span following sexual stimulation, pointing towards a pathological condition, potentially priapism. This situation is unusual as the patient did not experience an orgasm and the erection remained without any active sexual stimulation.

The patient also reported pain in the shaft and glans of the penis, a characteristic symptom of ischemic priapism. This pain arises from the prolonged engorgement and resultant ischemia, which, if not promptly addressed, may lead to tissue damage and subsequent erectile dysfunction. The presentation of a persistent and painful erection, particularly after the consumption of a PDE5 inhibitor such as Viagra, strongly suggests priapism.

Adding to the complexity of the clinical picture are the systemic symptoms that the patient reported, including body spasms, nausea, and headaches. These could be secondary to the patient’s distress and anxiety related to the situation. However, they also might be indicative of a systemic effect of the drug, particularly if consumed in a large quantity or if the individual has some level of intolerance to the medication.

An essential part of the symptom analysis process is understanding the patient’s mental state. In this case, the patient experienced considerable embarrassment and distress, which delayed his decision to seek medical help. This psychological impact is an essential consideration when dealing with conditions like priapism, which have significant emotional implications due to their intimate nature.

Overall, the patient’s symptomatology paints a clear picture of an uncommon but serious condition – priapism. It emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach to patient care. The physical symptoms are evaluated alongside the psychological impact to deliver comprehensive and empathetic healthcare. This symptom analysis also underlines the significance of timely intervention in managing priapism to prevent irreversible complications. Thereby informing medical practitioners and students about the critical nature of this urological condition.

Physical Examination

A comprehensive physical examination is an integral part of the diagnostic process. In our patient, the examination revealed an erect penis measuring approximately 16.9 centimeters (or roughly 6.5 inches), with engorgement of the corpora cavernosa. This finding aligns with the patient’s complaint of persistent erection and further supports the preliminary diagnosis of priapism. It’s worth noting that the prolonged engorgement of the corpora cavernosa can lead to tissue ischemia and, if not addressed promptly, could cause permanent damage, emphasizing the urgency of treatment.

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Further, there were no signs of penile discharge or dysuria, ruling out any underlying infections or inflammations which could have contributed to the erection. Importantly, there was no indication of trauma on the penis, discounting injury-induced priapism.

However, no signs of scrotal edema or erythema were present, indicating that the issue was confined to the penis and not extending to other parts of the genitourinary system.

On the psychological front, we observed the patient to be extremely shy, nervous, and embarrassed, which is not unusual in cases dealing with intimate conditions like priapism. We also noted tachycardia, a fast heart rate.

Overall, the physical examination findings corroborated with the patient’s complaints and the suspected diagnosis of priapism. This step is crucial not only for diagnosis but also for understanding the extent of the condition and guiding the treatment process. It also underscores the importance of conducting a thorough and sensitive physical examination while considering the patient’s emotional state.


The diagnosis of a painful penis erection medical condition. It is a critical step that combines detailed patient history, symptom analysis, and physical examination results. In our case, the diagnosis of priapism was made based on the patient’s presenting complaint of a persistent, painful erection lasting 14 hours without sexual stimulation or orgasm, which is the hallmark of this condition.

The patient’s history of recreational Viagra use. A common cause of drug-induced priapism, was a significant piece of the diagnostic puzzle. While Viagra is meant to aid erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis. Misuse or overuse can lead to persistent erections, as in our patient’s case.

Further supporting the diagnosis were the findings from the physical examination, which revealed an engorgement of the corpora cavernosa and a tender penis, both characteristic of priapism. The absence of dysuria and penile discharge ruled out other conditions. Such as urinary tract infections or sexually transmitted diseases that could cause penile symptoms.

Anxiety, embarrassment, and delay in seeking medical help, common psychological aspects seen in priapism cases. This was also present in our patient. While these do not directly contribute to the diagnosis. They underscore the emotional toll of the condition and serve as reminders for healthcare providers to handle such situations with empathy and sensitivity.

Altogether, the patient’s history, presenting symptoms, and physical examination results aligned to confirm the diagnosis of priapism. This case study emphasizes the importance of thorough history taking, meticulous symptom analysis, and detailed physical examination in reaching an accurate diagnosis, thus enabling prompt and appropriate treatment to prevent potential complications.

Treatment and Management of painful penis erection

Once a diagnosis of priapism is established, it is essential to promptly initiate treatment to prevent long-term complications such as erectile dysfunction and tissue damage. The choice of treatment largely depends on the type of priapism – ischemic or non-ischemic, the former being the more common and more serious type.

Sympathomimetic medications can achieve this by constricting the blood vessels and thereby decreasing blood flow to the penis. If this fails to resolve the erection, the medical team can perform a process called aspiration, wherein they insert a small needle into the penis to withdraw the stagnant blood. This procedure is often combined with irrigation of the corpora cavernosa using a saline solution, which further aids in resolving the erection.

In our patient’s case, due to the prolonged duration of the erection and the severity of the symptoms, more invasive treatments might be necessary if the initial attempts do not bring relief. This may include a surgical shunt, a procedure wherein the medical team creates a passageway between the corpora cavernosa and another part of the body to divert the blood flow away from the penis and thereby resolve the erection.

Concurrently, it is critical to manage the patient’s associated symptoms, such as body spasms, nausea, and headaches. This might involve symptomatic treatment using analgesics and anti-emetics, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Moreover, the emotional and psychological aspect of the patient’s condition must not be overlooked. The embarrassment and anxiety experienced by the patient should be addressed through supportive counselling and reassurance. As part of the overall management, it may be beneficial to involve a mental health professional to address the psychological distress associated with the condition.

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Once we resolve the immediate crisis, educating the patient on the safe use of medications like Viagra and the potential risks associated with their misuse becomes crucial. We may need long-term follow-up to monitor for potential recurrence and assess any complications of priapism, such as erectile dysfunction.


The prognosis of priapism greatly depends on the duration of the condition before treatment. The nature of the priapism (ischemic or non-ischemic), and the effectiveness of the treatment provided. As priapism is essentially a urological emergency. Any delay in treatment could potentially lead to long-term complications. Such as erectile dysfunction and tissue damage, which can significantly impact the quality of life of the patient.

In the case of our patient, given that he presented 14 hours after the onset of symptoms, there is a risk of long-term complications. This underlines the importance of prompt medical attention in cases of prolonged erection, irrespective of the cause. It is worth noting that recreational use of erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra has been associated with priapism, and users of these medications should be adequately informed about the potential risks.

Given that the patient received treatment in a timely manner upon presentation. It is reasonable to expect a resolution of the acute episode. However, there is a need for close follow-up to monitor for any long-term complications like erectile dysfunction. As the risk remains given the duration of the episode before treatment.

An often overlooked aspect of the prognosis of priapism is the psychological impact. The experience of a priapism episode, particularly when associated with the use of recreational drugs and the potential for resulting complications, can lead to considerable psychological distress. The embarrassment, anxiety, and potential impact on sexual function can all contribute to this distress. Therefore, mental health support might be beneficial in these cases to aid in the patient’s overall recovery.


This case study provides a comprehensive overview of priapism, a rare but serious urological condition. Through an analysis of the patient’s presentation, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, we have highlighted the critical aspects of managing this complex condition.

The patient in question, a 36-year-old man, experienced an unusually prolonged and painful erection following the recreational use of Viagra. The physical discomfort, along with the emotional distress caused by this intimate condition, highlights the significant impact of priapism on the quality of life of patients. Despite the embarrassment, it is important for patients to seek medical help promptly to prevent potential long-term complications.

The case underscores the importance of thorough history taking and physical examination in reaching an accurate diagnosis. This, along with a detailed analysis of the symptoms, led to the identification of priapism and the implementation of appropriate treatment strategies. The management of priapism involves not only addressing the immediate issue but also managing the associated symptoms and psychological implications.

From a prognosis standpoint, timely intervention can effectively manage the acute episode of priapism, but close follow-up is necessary to monitor potential long-term complications like erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, it should not overlook the psychological implications of the condition, and mental health support may be necessary.

This case serves as a reminder of the importance of patient education. Particularly in the safe use of medications like Viagra. It is crucial to inform patients about the potential risks associated with the misuse of these medications.To encourage them to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any adverse effects.

In conclusion, this case study offers valuable insights into the complex condition of priapism. Emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive and empathetic approach to patient care. It serves as a useful resource for medical practitioners and students. Enabling them to understand and manage similar cases more effectively in the future.


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