How is priapism diagnosed?
If you have priapism, it is important to get medical care immediately. Tell your doctor:
- How long you have had the erection.
- How long your erection usually lasts.
- If you have used any medication or drugs, legal or illegal. Be honest with your doctor—drug use is especially of interest, since both marijuana and cocaine have been linked to priapism.
- Whether or not the priapism happened after trauma to that area of the body.
Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to help determine the cause of priapism.
After the physical exam is complete, the doctor will take a blood gas measurement of the blood from the penis. During this test, a small needle is placed in the penis, some blood is drawn, and then it is sent to a lab for analysis. This provides a clue to the type of priapism, how long the condition has been present, and how much damage has occurred.