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An erection is a normal part of sexual function, but one that lasts for more than a couple of hours is an indication of a serious medical condition. Priapism is a rare occurrence, affecting less than 10 percent of the male population, though it can develop at any age. The causes range from mundane to complicated. In all cases, getting help quickly means the difference between temporary discomfort and life-altering issues.

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1. Types of Priapism

When blood is unable to leave the penis, this is known as low-flow, ischemic priapism. The shaft becomes rigid, but the tip of the penis, the glans, is soft. This is a common and painful type of priapism. On the other hand, improperly regulated blood flow causes high-flow, non-ischemic priapism. In these cases, the shaft is erect but not rigid, making it less painful.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.