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What are the complications of an erection lasting more than four hours?

Madeleine M. Castellanos, MD
Psychiatry
We all know the commercials that warn about getting medical attention for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. The reason that this is no joke is because having an erection for too long without some exchange of blood makes the tissues of the penis start to die off from lack of oxygen. Cock rings worn too tight or for too long can cause the same effect. If necrosis does occur, amputation of the dead tissue is required to prevent gangrene.
An erection that lasts more than four to six hours is known as priapism. This can be very painful and is considered an emergency. If not treated, it can cause permanent damage to the tissue, erectile dysfunction, cosmetic issues and, in worst cases, gangrene.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.