Men with sickle cell disease experience greater sexual dysfunction when compared with men without sickle cell disease

Ibrahim M. Idris, Akib Abba, Jamil A. Galadanci, Sharfuddeen A. Mashi, Nafiu Hussaini, Sagir Ahmed Gumel, Arthur L. Burnett, Michael R. DeBaun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recurrent ischemic priapism is a common complication of sickle cell disease (SCD). We assessed the burden, characteristics, and types of priapism, including sexual dysfunction, in a cohort of men with and those without SCD, to test the hypothesis that sexual dysfunction is more prevalent in men with SCD. In Kano, Nigeria, we conducted a comparative crosssectional survey that included 500 and 250 men 18 to 40 years of age, with and without SCD, respectively. The survey used the Priapism Questionnaire and the International Index of Erectile Function for sexual function assessment. All eligible participants approached for the study gave informed consent and were enrolled. Stuttering and major priapism were defined based on the average duration of priapism experiences that lasted ≤ 4 and >4 hours, respectively. The prevalence of priapism was significantly higher in men with SCD than in those without it (32.6% vs 2%; P < .001). Stuttering priapism accounted for 73.6% of the priapism episodes in men with SCD. Nearly 50% of the participants with SCD-related priapism had never sought medical attention for this complication. The majority of the men with SCD-related priapism used exercise as a coping mechanism. Priapism affected the selfimage of the men with SCD, causing sadness, embarrassment, and fear. The percentage of the men with SCD who had erectile dysfunction was more than twofold higher than that of those without SCD who had erectile dysfunction (P = .01). The men with SCD had a higher prevalence of priapism and sexual dysfunction than the men without SCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3277-3283
Number of pages7
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 28 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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