Sleep Related Prolonged Erections (SRPE)

Content written by Irwin Goldstein, MD

Sleep related prolonged erections (SRPE) refer to an unusual sexual dysfunction where a man gets an erection while sleeping that becomes extremely rigid to the point of causing pain and sleep deprivation. The only way to stop the erection is to wake up and perform a maneuver like walking around to start detumscense. These erections occur only during sleep so they do not interfere with erections in sexual activity or spontaneous erections.

There are muliptle reasons for having this condition and mutliple treatments that can treat SRPE. In some patients SRPE can be due to lumbosacral disc disease where there is irritation of a nerve root in the lower spine. Treating the spine pathology can successfully treat the SRPE.