An erect penis is one of the barometers by which a man measures his penis health, as the frequency of an erect penis and the firmness thereof are among the factors that determine organ health. And it goes without saying that a man desires a strong penis when he is ready to initiate sex, whether with a partner or with himself.

And yet there is a situation in which an erect penis, one caused by priapism, is not desirable - and in fact can be both painful and, ultimately, dangerous to a man’s health. There are several things that can bring about priapism; one cause can be the use of antipsychotic medications.

About priapism

A man who has never suffered from priapism is likely to joke about it and to say he wishes HE had an erect penis that would stay strong and firm for hours on end. But men who have been through a bout of priapism know that it is no laughing matter. Often, the erection is intensely painful, creating a throbbing pain that can last for hours. Of even greater concern is that priapism can cause serious and permanent damage to the penis.

As most men know, an erection occurs when a man experiences arousing stimulation of some sort. When that stimulation occurs, a message is sent from the brain to the penis to prepare for sexual action. The penis responds by telling its blood vessels to take a breather - to expand so that more blood can rush in and fill up the penis. As the spongy tissue absorbs the blood, the penis engorges. When it has reached an appropriate level of firmness, the "floodgates" close, trapping the blood in the penis so it stays erect until after ejaculation (in most cases). When the activity is over, the excess blood is allowed to leave, and the penis returns to normal.

But in the case of priapism, the blood remains trapped, creating the persistent erect penis. When the blood is kept trapped in the penis, the oxygen flow stops, which can damage or totally destroy delicate penile tissue. This can cause erectile dysfunction; in some severe (and very rare) cases, it may require removal of dead tissue.

Antipsychotic medications

Antipsychotics are a class of drugs traditionally used in treating schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but are sometimes used for other reasons, such as dementia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, and autism.

Many antipsychotics (as well as some other drugs) have an effect on something called an alpha-1 receptor. The penis has alpha-1 receptors, and it is believed that impairment of these receptors may create the situation in which penile blood flow becomes entrapped.

Any man who experiences priapism - an erection lasting 4 or more hours - should contact his doctor immediately. If he is taking antipsychotics, that should be discussed as a possible cause, especially if he experiences lengthy and painful erections regularly, even if they do not last as long as four hours. Adjusting the dosage or changing medications may be necessary to alleviate the problem. A man should never wait to get priapism checked out.

An erect penis is a wonderful thing, but priapism, whether due to antipsychotics or another cause, is not. When the priapism has been treated, soreness may remain, and use of a superior penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) may provide some relief. A crème with soothing moisturizing agents like vitamin E and Shea butter can help alleviate soreness. It also helps if the crème has vitamin D, the "miracle vitamin" that can encourage overall health of man’s favorite organ.