Overview and Facts about Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease is a urological condition in men that causes fibrous scar tissue to develop inside the penis resulting in curved, painful erections.
A slight curve may not be a cause for concern, but a severe curve could result in painful symptoms. The condition can make it difficult to have sex, or it may entirely prevent it.
Signs and Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
The signs and symptoms of Peyronie’s disease can develop gradually or occur suddenly. They include:
- Scar tissue. The scar tissue can be felt underneath the skin of the penis. This tissue feels like a fat lump or a band of hard tissue.
- A significant bend to the penis. The penis may be curved upward, to one side, or downward. The penis may also have an hourglass shape or indentations while erect.
- Erectile dysfunction. People with Peyronie’s disease may have trouble getting or maintaining an erection.
- Shortening of the penis. The penis could become shorter due to this urological condition.
- Pain. Pain could be experienced with or without an erection.
Tests and Diagnosis of Peyronie’s Disease
In most cases, a physical exam is enough to confirm a diagnosis of Peyronie’s disease. During this exam, the doctor may feel around for the presence of scar tissue in the penis.
Additionally, an ultrasound may be used to test for any other abnormalities of the penis that could be causing erectile dysfunction.
Treatment and Care for Peyronie’s Disease
If symptoms are not severe and you are able to get an erection, the doctor may recommend simply monitoring the condition against it getting worse. In severe cases, or in cases where symptoms worsen over time, the doctor may recommend medications or surgery.
Medications are not always effective, but oral medication called Pentoxifylline has been shown to reduce the amount of scar tissue after several months of use. Certain injections can also be used to reduce the curvature of the penis.
Surgery is the most effective option for people with symptoms. This may involve the insertion of grafts or implants to straighten out the penis or making incisions to remove the scar tissue.
Causes and Risk Factors of Peyronie’s Disease
The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is not understood in many cases, although a repeated injury to the penis is thought to be the most significant risk factor associated with the condition.
Injury can occur during sex, while playing sports, or as the result of an accident. During the healing process from injury, scar tissue forms in a disorganized manner, which ultimately can result in Peyronie’s disease.
Other risk factors may include:
- Family history
- Connective tissue disorders
- Being older than 55 years of age
Many men who have Peyronie’s disease experience anxiety over their inability to have sex, which could also lead them to avoid sex. This could interfere with relationships and their ability to father children.