Misuse Viagra, and your five-hour erection could be the start of an extremely unpleasant experience. In Dr. Karan Raj’s latest Instagram post, he details one of the worst things he’s done as a doctor in what he calls “the story of the prolonged stiffy,” otherwise known as priapism treatment.
Dr. Raj’s tale of a young man taking too much Viagra is a lesson for guys seeking a longer and stronger erection. The popular blue pill meant for those with erectile dysfunction is now recreationally popped by people without a prescription.
But an erection lasting longer than four hours—and in Dr. Raj’s case, five hours—requires medical attention for a condition known as priapism. And if you’re wondering, yes, it’s very unpleasant.
What Is Priapism?
Priapism is a prolonged erection lasting more than four hours—Viagra is supposed to wear off at the four hour mark—and develops when blood is trapped in the penis and cannot drain, starving the cells of oxygen. Misuse of medication is a common cause for priapism, which can sometimes lead to tissue scarring and erectile dysfunction.
A doctor can treat priapism quickly—but you probably won’t enjoy the thought of it.
Dr. Raj explains a process called detumescence: sticking a needle in the penis to drain excess blood.
If you find yourself with a marathon boner, a doctor will insert a small needle and syringe and aspirate (aka withdraw fluid through the needle) to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
“Doctors are often accused of not being empathetic, but this time I felt it—maybe not as much as him,” says Dr. Raj.
If you don’t have a prescription for Viagra—or another erectile dysfunction medication—don’t take it, unless you want to risk going through the aforementioned, ahem, procedure.