Hospitalized for COVID-19, an American had a painful erection lasting three hours. This strange reaction is rare but has an interesting explanation.
A 69-year-old American from Ohio was hospitalized at Miami Valley Hospital last August after developing respiratory distress that caused fluid to build up in his lungs. He then tested positive for COVID-19 and his respiratory condition worsened, his obesity being a co-morbid factor.
A victim of 'priapism' when he was positive for COVID-19
In the American Journal of American Medicine, doctors explained that, despite intubation, his condition did not improve, quite the contrary. And they had no choice but to place him on his stomach, to make it easier to breathe. But when the medics turned him over twelve hours later, they found the man had an erection.
This phenomenon, which is called priapism, can be caused by many reasons. To calm this erection, the doctors placed an ice pack on the area and then had to drain the blood from his penis with a needle. The man no longer had priapism problems, but died shortly after, when his lungs failed.
An erection directly caused by COVID-19?
Very quickly, doctors suggested that this painful erection which lasted for three hours was linked to COVID-19. And the most rational explanation is as follows. In many infected people, blood clotting has been detected as a dangerous complication. This same coagulation would have caused blood clots in his penis.
Whilst this remains extremely rare, this story does bring to memory that of a 62-year-old French patient, hospitalized at the Versailles Hospital Center last summer. He then had a four-hour erection caused by black blood clots. Cases of priapism linked to COVID-19 are therefore infrequent, but result from a far more common phenomenon that is blood coagulation.