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Stuttering priapism in sickle cell disease: Recommendations

Stuttering priapism – no one has ever wanted surprising erections – so every effort must be made to prevent them, by keeping the body hydrated. 

Stuttering or recurrent priapism is when multiple self-limited episodes of unwanted (painful) erections lasting less than 4 hours occur.

Priapism affects 35% of boys and men with sickle cell disease. The danger is its ability to render someone impotent as well as lowering their quality of life.

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Much as there are no data that have demonstrated improvement in functional outcomes, treating recurrent priapism with chronic hormonal therapy, transfusion therapy, as well as other treatments can reduce or even eliminate unwanted erections. However, individualised management plans are paramount due to the often-serious side effects of some of the therapeutic agents used.

The experts recommend that in men and boys with sickle cell disease and recurrent or stuttering priapism, offer evaluation and treatment in consultation with a sickle cell disease specialist and a urologist, specifically, when episodes increase in severity or frequency.



MBChB (MUK), Graduate Fellow, Department of Physiology, Makerere University Founder and Content Creator Peer reviewer, Associate Editor

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