The important thing you can do is preventing priapism. There are many causes for priapism and out of those causes some can be prevented with lifestyle changes and patient education. The main problem with patient who gets priapism is that they present late to the hospital; therefore, the chance of them getting complications significantly increase, especially erectile dysfunction rate is high when the patient present late to the hospital.
What Are The Lifestyle Changes For Priapism?
So let us see how you can prevent priapism by lifestyle modifications.
Patient education is a good lifestyle change for priapism. First issue doctors see with priapism is that patient’s actually do not know that priapism is a serious condition. By definition priapism is partial or full erection of the penis which lasts for more than 4 hours, which arise in the absence of sexual stimulation or last well beyond sexual stimulation and orgasm. Priapism can be painful or not painful depending on the type of priapism.
Many patients who have presented with priapism has thought that the erection will resolve itself and they have not given much attention about it especially when it’s not painful. Most of the patients were reluctant to see a doctor or get medical advice because they were ashamed of telling that they have been having a prolong erection for hours or days.
This late presentation of priapism mainly occurs due to patients not knowing that this is a very serious condition and it can affect their erectile function which can affect the quality of their life and family life. Realizing this after an attack of priapism can be too late.
Priapism is a very serious condition and if you get a prolong erection which lasts more than few hours (it can be less than 4 hours) you need to come to the hospital as soon as possible, so that necessary investigations can be done and according to the diagnosis proper treatment can be carried out. Early presentation can preserve the normal erectile function of the penis completely most of the time. However there is a very small percentage of erectile dysfunction even with timely management. The important message here is that you should seek medical advice if you get a prolong erection without a sexual stimulation or if the erection lasts well beyond the sexual stimulation and orgasm.
Reducing the usage of particular drugs is a recommended lifestyle change. Some drugs can give rise to priapism therefore, it is important that you take the drug dose according to the prescription given by your doctor. Do not increase the dose on your own. Inform your doctor about the current drugs you are taking with prescription and without prescription to avoid prescription of same class drugs which can enhance the effect and give rise to priapism. The drugs that can cause priapism are-
- Antihypertensives – hydralazine, guanethidine, propranolol
- Antidepressants and antipsychotics – trazodone, bupropion, fluoxetine, sertraline, lithium, clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, chlorpromazine, thiorizadine, phenothiazines
- Alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonists – prazosin, terazosin, doxazosin, tamsulosin
- Antianxiety agents – hydroxyzine
- Anticoagulants – heparin, warfarin
- Do not use hormonal treatment such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone, testosterone or vasoactive erectile agents (i.e. papaverine, phentolamine, sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil) without consulting a doctor. You should avoid recreational use of hormones and erectile dysfunction drugs.
- You should avoid recreational drugs such marijuana, cocaine (intranasal and topical), crack, cocaine. These can have serious health effects.
- If you had a priapism attack before, you should stop consumption of alcohol as this can increase the risk of getting another attack.
- If you get priapism you must tell your doctor all the drugs you have been taking by prescription, over the counter and recreational drugs. After the attack avoiding the drug/drugs caused priapism is the best method to prevent further attacks.
- If you have sickle cell disease, thalassemia, leukemia, multiple myeloma, tumors in the prostate, urethra, bladder kidney, if you are on hemodialysis there is an increased chance of getting priapism. So you need to be vigilant about it.
Lifestyle changes and being educated about the disease plays an important role in the prevention of priapism. If you get priapism immediate medical advice should be sought as this can prevent the occurrence of complications. You should avoid recreational drugs, increasing doses of prescribed drugs, recreational use of hormones and vasoactive erectile agents.
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