Being woken by nighttime painful erections.
November 17, 2006 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Over the past few months I've been waking up several times during the night with an extremely turgid painful erection that won't go away unless I stand up and walk around for a bit, or raise my legs or squeeze my thigh muscles. When this happens, I don't feel sexually aroused and my penis doesn't feel responsive in any way - it seems to be purely a blood-pressure thing of some sort.

What's going on? It feels like my penis is going to explode in a bloody mess sometimes. Has anyone else had this problem? If it matters, my normal resting blood pressure is quite low - on average 110/60.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (18 answers total)

See a doctor!
posted by dcjd at 2:14 PM on November 17, 2006

Sounds like you should go to a doctor immediately. A quick google search on nighttime priapism mentions sickle cell anemia.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2006

added note from the OP:

I want to clarify and say that the problem **immediately** goes away once I stand up or otherwise effortfully redistribute blood away (e.g., muscle contractions), which as far as I understand it isn't usual in priapism?
posted by jessamyn at 2:40 PM on November 17, 2006

Are you on any medications? Even if the answer is yes you should see a physician if this occurs with any frequency or on a regular basis.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:53 PM on November 17, 2006

I once read a magazine story about a man who kept getting erections whenever he stood up. After finally managing to convince the doctors it was a real problem, they found that one of the discs in his lower spine had slipped and was pushing too much blood to his penis when his posture changed. Maybe something similar is happening to you??
posted by leibniz at 2:58 PM on November 17, 2006

Honestly, seriously, you're trying to clarify a question to get advice about a problem with your penis on a public website?

Go to a doctor! Even if there *was* a urologist that hangs around Ask.Mefi (I don't think there is), I wouldn't waste my time using Ask Mefi to get a semi answer, especially when it involved something most men find pretty important.

(People really don't realize how often answers are incorrect here, especially on health-related issues. And even when it's an anecdotal "I had the same symptoms, and found out I had disease X," it's still often inaccurate.)
posted by gramcracker at 3:00 PM on November 17, 2006

Yes, it is probably a blood pressure thing. Viagra was originally developed to be a drug for cardiovascular disease, believe it or not. If you have one of these lasting more than 4 hrs you probably should go to the emergency room. Don't wait for that though - call your doc.
posted by selfmedicating at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2006

That is called "Priapism Pain in the Penis."

Go to the Emergency Room of the Hospital or your doctor as soon as possible.

Google it. You will find it is a serious ailment.
posted by JayRwv at 3:47 PM on November 17, 2006

>>sickle cell anemia
Is anonymous of african descent?
posted by allelopath at 4:04 PM on November 17, 2006

(It's not clear from your question whether you know this, but white people get sickle cell anemia too. In the New World, at least, black people do carry the gene more often, but it's not an exclusive thing.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:24 PM on November 17, 2006

Grahamcracker: I am guessing that most people really do not want or expect definitive medical advice. And god only knows that there are certainly enough disclaimers and exhortations to see a physician or other professional. This is a community and like any other community people reach out for information, direction, support, validation, encouragement and reassurance. I would guess most of us at times have said to friends or family I have this ( a description of symptoms/complaints) followed by what do you think I should do. If I take anything away from the posts on physical/mental health and legal issues it is to see a professional. For instance I believe 6 of the eight posts said see a doctor.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:32 PM on November 17, 2006

That's fine, rmhsinc, but when it's something serious, I don't think they should be reaching out to the Ask Metafilter community for "information, direction, support, validation, encouragement and reassurance," they should be reaching out to a friend or family member if they're not sold on seeing a physician yet. God forbid someone on the site gives another person inaccurate information, direction, or reassurance and they suffer for it.

Exactly the reason doctors don't like diagnosing things over the phone, via email, or at cocktail parties.
posted by gramcracker at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2006

[please take further OT commentary to email or metatalk]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:24 PM on November 17, 2006

Oh dear god, go to a freaking doctor man!! Seriously, this is your penis! You only get one!!
posted by !Jim at 6:15 PM on November 17, 2006 [2 favorites]

I am aware that it is not exclusive. It is however, highly skewed towards blacks, and to a lesser degree hispancs.
posted by allelopath at 9:25 AM on November 18, 2006

get a home-use blood pressure machine and take your blood pressure during one of those episodes, it's probably very useful data

and no, I don't think a penis can "explode in a bloody mess", don't worry too much about that
posted by matteo at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2006

It's normal to have an erection or two during a normal night of sleep; in fact, it's abnormal *not* to have an erection while sleeping.

However, it's not normal to have an erection that is painful. I guess if this kept happening to me, I would see a doc (a urologist) about it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:41 PM on November 18, 2006

There are a number of things that this could be, and most of them are definitely serious enough to warrant you getting to a doctor. This could easily be a sign of something that is happening to your blood vessels systemically, and that is absolutely something to get checked by a professional who knows what they're talking about. Don't self-diagnose. Don't google any more about it. Just get to a doctor.
posted by jennyjenny at 2:57 PM on November 19, 2006

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