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Times of India
2, March 2010
By Prithvijit Mitra & Somdatta Basu
Kolkata, India

A 55–year–old Kolkata businessman found out what it would perhaps be like to have a Viagra overdose when he had a prolonged erection lasting a full 21 days. No, the father of two had not popped the magic pill. It was a neurological disorder.

An emergency surgery relieved him but he might have lost his ability to resume normal sexual activity, say doctors at Wockhardt Hospitals, where he was operated.

The man was suffering from priapism–a problem triggered by a peripheral nervous system disorder. While in normal individuals penile erection subsides once sexual excitement ceases, priapism victims fail to return to normal state. Prolonged erection usually causes permanent damage to the penis and even death. It has to be treated within six hours.

“It was already too late by the time he sought treatment. The condition could easily have been fatal for him,” said Avishek Mukherjee, urosurgeon at Wockhardt.

Priapism prevents blood from draining out of the penis, thus stiffening the organ. During erection, blood flow stops. If erection persists for over an hour, blood supply to the penis is reduced and can damage the organ. If cut off for longer, the penis can turn gangrenous. Blood needs to be drained out to allow fresh blood to flow in. For this, a passage or a shunt is created. The tip of the penis, called glans pens, has an outlet for blood to drain out.

What’s Priapism?
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