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If you've had an erection for more than four hours, go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department.
If it's been less than four hours, the following tips may help:
However, if these steps do not help and you've had an erection for more than four hours, go to A&E, as this is an emergency.
The medical name for having an erection that won't go down is priapism. It happens when the blood that fills the penis to make it erect gets trapped and cannot flow back out again. Priapism can be extremely painful.
A prolonged erection can damage the penis and could cause permanent problems in getting an erection. Therefore, it’s important that priapism is treated quickly.
The cause of priapism is often unknown. It can be due to nerve damage or a side effect of some types of medication, such as those for erectile dysfunction (impotence).
It can also be caused by conditions that affect the blood, such as sickle cell anaemia or leukaemia, or by an injury to the penis or genital area.
Alcohol and some illegal drugs can also cause priapism.
Treatment for priapism may involve taking medication or draining blood from the penis.
If the priapism is caused by an underlying condition, this will need to be treated. Surgery may be necessary to prevent permanent damage.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.