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P-Shot: How it Works, Costs, Benefits, and Risks

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 9/19/2019

Would you inject blood into your penis if it meant better function for sexual activities? 

While it may sound like something a college kid orders at his neighborhood gimmick bar, the p-shot is actually a medical procedure designed to apply a well-explored medical technique to increase health in a specific area of your body by way of injection. 

The p-shot, or Priapus Shot, is a penis-specific version of platelet-rich plasma treatment — a treatment where a supply of the “good stuff” in your blood is drawn from your arm, concentrated and then injected at the site where those components are needed. 

We know: needles, “experimental” treatments and your dick don’t exactly seem like an ideal combo on paper. 

But there is some backing to suggest that this treatment may be beneficial for sexual health, sexual function and sexual performance. 

We’re not saying this is the new miracle ED treatment — research is still in a pioneering phase, and a claim like that is far from supported, at this point. 

But for people struggling with ED and finding current treatments ineffective, the p-shot may offer some benefits worth considering.

How Erections Work

Before we get into injections and platelets, we should cover a few basics about how your penis works, and what happens when it doesn’t. 

Sustainable erections result from two primary functions: the increased blood flow to the blood vessels of the penis, and the subsequent trapping of that blood by the tunica albuginea within the penis.

Inside your penis, there are two long chambers, which are called the corpora cavernosa. These chambers contain cardiovascular mechanics like blood vessels and tissues, and each one also contains a major artery.

Your brain dilates the blood vessels when you become aroused, allowing for proper blood circulation. When the blood becomes trapped in these two chambers, it causes you to be erect. 

What’s Going Wrong?

It’s not always the case that things work the way they should, and when they don’t work correctly, it causes ED.

There are several ways ED can present. Arteriogenic ED, for instance, is caused by inefficient arteries that can reduce oxygen tension, which weakens the muscles that typically keep the penis filled with blood and can make them leaky. 

If your blood flow is insufficient or if the seal isn’t tight,you may have trouble becoming or staying fully erect.

Erections can also fail to attain full size for other physiological reasons, including chronic inflammation (commonly associated with diabetes), high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome, as well as cardiovascular and neurological diseases, multiple sclerosis and even Parkinson’s.

But not every factor is physiological — depression and low self esteem can affect your ability to get hard, as can the effects of stress and anxiety.

And yes, it’s important to understand that partial erections are a warning sign for erectile dysfunction, and while they’re not as severe, they represent a problem that should be addressed before things function even less efficiently. 

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How Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment Works

There’s a macabre reason that a version of this treatment for the face is sometimes referred to as a “vampire facial.” PRP therapy is a simple process that is a bit like a blood transplant. 

Here’s a simple explanation of how it works:

  1. A healthcare professional draws a blood sample from your body (typically your arm). 

  2. The blood is centrifuged to separate the blood into three components (platelet-rich plasma, platelet-poor plasma and red blood cells).

  3. The platelet-rich plasma is extracted with a syringe, and is then injected into the treatment site (in this case, your penis).

What actually happens once the platelets are injected is less clear. Scientists are still trying to understand the exact mechanism that makes PRP effective. 

According to one study, “There is a general consensus in PRP research that the injection of concentrated platelets, once activated, results in an exponential increase in numerous growth factors at the sight of injection.” 

It’s true that growth factors and other compounds in PRP could have rejuvenating effects on tissues and cause tissue growth (and repair, if there’s damaged tissue), and that can encourage cellular regeneration and healing, (which has been observed in sports injuries and hair regrowth). 

After all, a concentrated platelet is essentially a normal healthy blood cell on steroids.

PRP, The Priapus Shot and Sexual Dysfunction

So how does this relate to your penis? Well, PRP has shown in some limited testing that, in addition to its other benefits, it may also benefit sexual health and function. 

The p-shot injection or Priapus Shot has mostly shown its efficacy in animal testing, but very limited human clinical trials have shown some benefits. 

Treatment of ED with PRP has shown benefits, with no notable adverse side effects. And this makes sense — it’s your own blood, after all.

Side effects are generally what you’d expect: soreness or mild pain at the injection site, penile bruising and otherwise nothing else reported. 

The studies thus far have found it an entirely safe and feasible treatment, though most caution that more research is needed to prove its efficacy.

Regardless, it’s all about improving your sexual experience.

The Limits of Current Knowledge About PRP

There are still some unanswered questions about how platelet-rich plasma treatment works. Our understanding is primarily limited due to a lack of standardization in clinical studies for ED. 

The same, for instance, is true of PRP for hair loss, where limits have been acknowledged including — things like how the shots are prepared, at what dosages they’re administered, the number of treatments (and frequency of those treatments) and even the injection technique. All are still being explored.

A 2019 review of PRP for hair growth clinical studies outlined how PRP stimulates hair growth by “improving follicle vascularization, inhibiting apoptosis and thereby prolonging the anagen phase, and inducing a faster transition from the telogen to the anagen phase in dermal papilla cells.” 

What to Know Before You Seek Out Treatment

Before you seek out treatment, there are some things that are important to know, which may screen you out of the procedure before you ever see a needle. 

Tissue conditions including cancer and liver disease, as well as low platelet counts might disqualify you from PRP treatment, as might the use of certain drugs, both prescription or illicit. Your healthcare provider can also address any lifestyle conditions like smoking, poor diet or diabetes that might also disqualify you.

The good news is that side effects from studies on PRP therapy were very limited, mostly showing the potential for irritation and inflammation at the injection site.

Other ED Treatment Options

Vampire penile facials aren’t the only way to go, of course, even if they’re safe.

There are a lot of other options for increased sexual function and sexual satisfaction. Typical offerings include vacuum erection devices, numbing lidocaine cream or oral medications that benefit erectile and sexual wellness.

Sildenafil (the generic version of Viagra®) is the OG prescription ED treatment. It’s a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, which sustains simple dilation and blood flow within your penis — which, in turn, results in better, firmer erections. 

Sildenafil is a sort of pre-game solution to the problem, like carbo loading for your erections. It’s best taken when the action is going to take place within a few (up to four) hours, according to the National Library of Medicine

A different option might be tadalafil (Cialis®), which can work for a day or more. 

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Final Thoughts on P-Shots

If you’re considering PRP as treatment for your ED, there may be other effective treatment options that may work as well or better, including medications that can be taken alongside PRP treatment.

But the important next step is addressing the problem. A healthcare professional will be able to give you the best treatment plan recommendations, which may very well include a P-Shot.

But whether it’s a new treatment or an established one, the central figure in your successful treatment will be a healthcare professional, because starting with professional help is what’s going to solve the problem. 

10 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

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  2. Neera Nathan, M. (2020, May 01). Platelet-rich plasma: Does the cure for hair loss lie within our blood? Retrieved January 17, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/platelet-rich-plasma-does-the-cure-for-hair-loss-lie-within-our-blood-2020051119748.
  3. Bayat, M., Yazdanpanah, M. J., Hamidi Alamdari, D., Banihashemi, M., & Salehi, M. (2019). The effect of platelet-rich plasma injection in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 18(6), 1624–1628. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12907. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30895745/.
  4. Butt, G., Hussain, I., Ahmed, F. J., & Choudhery, M. S. (2019). Efficacy of platelet-rich plasma in androgenetic alopecia patients. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 18(4), 996–1001. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12810. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30393988/.
  5. Stevens, J., & Khetarpal, S. (2018). Platelet-rich plasma for androgenetic alopecia: A review of the literature and proposed treatment protocol. International journal of womens dermatology, 5(1), 46–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijwd.2018.08.004. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6374694/.
  6. Middleton, K. K., Barro, V., Muller, B., Terada, S., & Fu, F. H. (2012). Evaluation of the effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy involved in the healing of sports-related soft tissue injuries. The Iowa orthopaedic journal, 32, 150–163. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3565396/.
  7. Matz, E. L., Pearlman, A. M., & Terlecki, R. P. (2018). Safety and feasibility of platelet rich fibrin matrix injections for treatment of common urologic conditions. Investigative and clinical urology, 59(1), 61–65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5754585/.
  8. Krzastek, S. C., Bopp, J., Smith, R. P., & Kovac, J. R. (2019). Recent advances in the understanding and management of erectile dysfunction. F1000Research, 8, F1000 Faculty Rev-102. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6348436/.
  9. Dean, R. C., & Lue, T. F. (2005). Physiology of penile erection and pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction. The Urologic clinics of North America, 32(4), 379–v. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ucl.2005.08.007 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1351051/.
  10. Sooriyamoorthy T, Leslie SW. Erectile Dysfunction. Updated 2021 Apr 4. In: StatPearls Internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562253/.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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