Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you've had an erection lasting more than four hours, go to the emergency room.
If you've experienced a painful, persistent erection that lasted less than four hours, or if you've experienced multiple unwanted, persistent erections (stuttering priapism), see a doctor. You're likely to see your family doctor or general practitioner first, although you may be advised to make an appointment with a specialist in reproductive and urinary organs (urologist).
If you have time before you see your doctor, it's a good idea to be prepared for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to your persistent erections.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking. And, let your doctor know if you've taken any illegal drugs.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make sure you cover everything that's important to you. For priapism, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing the persistent erections?
- What kind of tests do I need?
- Am I at risk of developing erectile dysfunction?
- How can I prevent unwanted, persistent erections?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Is it safe for me to have sex again?
- How long do I need to wait before I have sex again?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions regarding recurring episodes of persistent erections. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- How long have the erections lasted?
- Were the erections painful?
- Have you used drugs for treating erectile dysfunction?
- Have you used cocaine, marijuana, ethanol or other recreational drugs?
- How much do you drink?
- What medications do you take?
- Did the unwanted erections occur after consuming or using a particular substance?
- Have you had an injury to your genitals or groin?
Your doctor may also order laboratory tests to determine if you have a disease or condition that is causing priapism.
What you can do in the meantime
Don't use any recreational substance that could cause persistent erections. Don't stop your prescription medications without consulting your doctor.
- Priapism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec17/ch226/ch226j.html. Accessed Sept. 8, 2010.
- AUA guideline on the management of priapism. Linthicum, Md.: American Urological Association Education and Research Inc. http://www.auanet.org/content/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines/main-reports/priapism/online.pdf. Accessed Sept. 7, 2010.
- Broderick GA, et al. Priapism: Pathogenesis, epidemiology, and management. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2010;7:476.
- Burnett AL, et al. Priapism: Current principles and practice. Urology Clinics of North America. 2007;34:631.