Sexual health expert Dr. Catherine Hood answers a question on what causes prolonged erections in the company of Emma Howard.
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Emma Howard: Hello! We're answering questions on sexual health. I am joined by Dr. Dr. Catherine Hood. Hello! Dr. Catherine Hood: Hello! Emma Howard: Catherine, I've got a question here from a 26-year-old young man who has recently been experiencing prolonged erections of he says between four and six hours, which sounds really uncomfortable. Now since he is on medication for an unrelated condition, and he says could this be the cause? Dr. Catherine Hood: Okay. The first thing is he really does need to go and see somebody about this, because having an erection that last that long can be quite damaging. It's a condition that we call Priapism. And really if you've an erection that lasts about four hours or over, it can start to damage the penis and actually in the future it could lead to problems with getting erections in the first place. So it is important he goes to see somebody to try and find out what the causes are behind it. Now the thing is when you've an erection, what happens is the blood flows into the penis and that's what makes it hard. And anything that stops blood flowing out of the penis again is going to make it difficult for that erection to disappear. Emma Howard: Hence the damage. That could be damage. Dr. Catherine Hood: Hence the damage, yeah. And there are many things that can damage that mechanism of blood going in and blood coming out again. Certainly prescribed medications can do it, some of the older antidepressants have been known to cause this side effect. But also recreational medicines that he may or may not be taking such as marijuana or cocaine have been linked with prolonged erections as well. So if he goes to the doctor, it's very-very-very important, he is totally honest. Emma Howard: Yeah, he is totally honest. Dr. Catherine Hood: I don't think! There are certain health conditions as well that can lead to problems with the erectile apparatus. Sickle cell disease is one. If any sickle cell runs in his family then it maybe that it's worth to being checked out for sickle cell. Emma Howard: But he really must go and talk to somebody? Dr. Catherine Hood: He really just need to go on to somebody. And the other thing is, if it does happen, if you has a sustained erection, because it's very painful having this. Emma Howard: Yeah, but if thought, it's incredibly uncomfortable. Dr. Catherine Hood: Exactly. The thing is you'd need to get help to sometimes reduce the erection. Don't try and do it yourself because it can cause further damage. Emma Howard: So this is in everyway you do need help and you need to be honest about everything you might have taken. Dr. Catherine Hood: Absolutely. Emma Howard: Good advice as always, Catherine, thank you. Well, if you've a similar problem we hope we might have given you some help, but remember it's always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching. We'll be back with more health questions and answers.