Penis Tattoo Blamed for Permanent Erection

guy regretting tattoos.
The day after: Tattoo regret is common and is creating a large demand for tattoo-removal technologies. (Image credit: Maxfx |

A 21-year-old Iranian man now suffers from a permanent erection after getting a tattoo on his penis, according to a report of his case.

The man had the Persian phrase "borow be salaamat," meaning "good luck with your journeys," tattooed on his penis. He also had the letter M, the first letter of his girlfriend's first name, tattooed on it, according to the report. 

His condition is medically known as priapism, which is said to occur when an erection is not caused by sexual stimulation and lasts longer than four hours. The condition most commonly happens in boys ages 5 to 10, and men ages 20 to 50. The case report, published Jan. 3 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, notes that this is the first case of tattooing causing the condition. 

Tattoo troubles

A tattoo artist created the design with a handheld needle, according to the report. After the tattooing, the man bled from tissue deep within the penis, and experienced pain for eight days. His penis then became semi-erect, 24 hours per day.

When he visited the doctors, his erection had been ongoing for almost three months. The doctors conducted numerous tests to rule out other possible causes, such as a urinary tract infection, leukemia or syphilis. They determined that the tattooing was probably to blame, and suggested the needle may have been inserted too deeply.

The doctors determined that blood was still flowing in and out of the man's penis, so they diagnosed him with a nonischemic priapism. This occurs when blood enters the penis faster than it can go out, leaving the penis permanently erect, due to the increased pressure. An ischemic priapism, in which blood is no longer flowing, is a much more serious condition, and can cause severe damage if not treated. 


Doctors recommended that the man undergo a shunt procedure to drain excess blood. But the shunt did not work.

According to the report, the man did not wish to undergo additional surgery because he can still have sexual intercourse and he is not in pain.  He also does not regret the tattoo, the report said. 

The doctors do not recommend penile tattooing, according to the study.

Pass it on: Penile tattooing left one man with permanent semi-erection. 

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