We've all heard or seen the warnings in commercials and other ads about experiencing an erection for more than four hours. Honestly, almost anything lasting for four hours is too long, and, unfortunately, an erection is no different. The term for this condition is priapism, which is essentially a prolonged erection that lasts for several hours, or one that is not caused by sexual stimulation.

Most people encounter either ischemic or nonischemic types of this condition, with the former being a medical emergency. Earlier this month, the American Urological Association (AUA) and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA) updated the treatment guideline for acute ischemic priapism.

To better understand priapism, including its diagnosis and treatment, we spoke with Trinity Bivalacqua, M.D., Ph.D., the R. Christian B. Evensen professor of urology and oncology, and director of urologic oncology at the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute in Baltimore, as