JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Management of priapism with a trial of exercise in the emergency department.

CJEM 2019 January
Priapism is characterized by persistent penile erection in the absence of sexual arousal or desire that does not subside with orgasm. Although relatively uncommon, it is a genitourinary emergency that necessities prompt work-up and appropriate management, as there is a time-dependent relationship between total duration of erection and an increasing risk of permanent erectile dysfunction. Confirming the type of priapism is key to proper management, but the majority of cases presenting to the emergency department are ischemic in nature. Conservative management strategies for ischemic priapism are sparsely described in the literature but generally include ice pack application to the area, cold showers, masturbation and rarely, exercise. These strategies lack sound evidence, but the risks of attempting them are minimal as long as access to more definitive treatment is not delayed. Lower-limb exercise as a first-line treatment warrants further study in the undifferentiated emergency department priapism population. The case we present and discuss here illustrates the potential benefits of a trial of acute lower-limb exercise, specifically stair climbing, as a treatment for medication-induced priapism. If effective, this simple non-invasive management strategy may decrease the time to effective treatment, requires minimal resource utilization, and ultimately, avoids the need for more invasive treatment.

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