Peyronie's disease is an acquired benign physical disorder and deformity of the penis.
Usually caused by scar tissue or plaque inside the penis, a pronounced bend, curve or narrowing occurs in the penis during erection. This has the potential to result in:
- Painful erections
- Inability to engage in sex
- Serious psychological problems
There is a causal relationship between Peyronie’s disease and an injury or trauma to the penis. Often, any penile related trauma takes place prior to adolescence or adulthood and leaves no significant memory for the affected male to recall. As the condition may not manifest or cause difficulties until middle age, any inability on the male’s part to remember causation is normal.
The sponge-like tubes and elastic fibers in the tissues of the penis allow its growth during an erection. When an injury happens, tissues in the penis that were torn or otherwise traumatized may not align, causing them to heal in a disorganized manner. Disorganized healed tissue hardens over time and prevents expansion of the elastic fibers. This process causes the symptoms listed below.
Occasionally, a genetic link is present, and Peyronie’s disease is an inherited condition. The average age for onset of Peyronie’s disease is 53 years.
Mild cases of Peyronie’s disease often resolve spontaneously with no bend or curve deforming the penis. Situations that are more serious may present these symptoms in males.
- Pain experienced in the penis with or without erection.
- Scar tissue, or plaque, is felt as a band of hard tissue or flat bumps/lumps under the skin of the penis.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) is present in approximately 30% of men diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease.
- Substantial bend to the penis when erect – the penis may be bent to the side, downward or curved. A bend of more than 90 degrees may happen. When erect, the penis might have an hourglass shape, a narrow tight band may exist around the shaft and the penis may have significant narrowing or indentations.
- Loss of length – Peyronie’s disease may cause the male’s penis to become shorter.
- Loss of sexual ability – the pain felt when the penis is erect may cause the male’s loss of interest or ability to engage in sexual relations.
- Psychological issues – limited or lack of ability to engage in sex may cause feelings of inadequacy, shame and failure in the male with Peyronie’s disease.
The diagnosis or condition happens when the male with Peyronie’s disease discovers the problem and brings it to the attention of his physician. Confirmation through a manual exam and a biopsy is typically performed.
Peyronie’s disease has two category divisions, acute and chronic. Medication therapy may be the recommended course of action, occasionally counseling or therapy is necessary. Other treatment options may be considered if the pain experienced during the acute phase, which can last for a couple of years, does not resolve on its own, or interferes with intercourse.
Penile injections and steroidal ointment is available. Surgical intervention is reserved for the most severe cases that resist resolution through other methods. Surgical techniques available include options such as plaque excision/incision, penile implants, or grafting.