The main symptom of Peyronie’s disease is…
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease is focused on helping a…
It is unclear what causes Peyronie’s disease..
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Peyronie’s disease plaques mostly (70% of the time) form on the top (or dorsal side) of the penis. The plaques make the tunica albuginea less flexible and may cause the penis to bend upwards when it stiffens. When plaques form on the bottom or side of the penis, the bend will be downward or sideways. Some men have more than one plaque, which may cause complex curves.
Sometimes plaques form that go all the way around the penis. These plaques most often do not cause curving but may cause the shaft of the penis to narrow like the neck of a bottle. This is sometimes called “bottle-necking” or “waisting”. In bad cases, the plaque may collect calcium and become very hard, almost like a bone. Men may also notice their penis has shrunk or gotten shorter.
Other signs that you may have Peyronie’s disease are:
- bent/curved penis
- lumps in the penis
- painful erections
- soft erections
- having trouble with sex because of a bent/curved penis
Peyronie’s disease can make your quality of life worse. Over 75 out of 100 men with Peyronie’s disease are stressed and depressed because of it. Unfortunately, many men with Peyronie’s disease are embarrassed and choose to suffer in silence rather than get help.
How Common is Peyronie's Disease?
Peyronie’s disease is thought to happen in about 4 out of 100 men between the ages of 40 and 70. It is rare in young men but has been seen in men in their 30s. The number of cases may be higher than the estimates because many men may be embarrassed and choose not to see their health care provider.
Interestingly, more Peyronie’s disease cases have been noted in recent years. This may be because new drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) have come to market and health care providers may notice Peyronie’s disease in men seeking help for ED. For this reason, the number of Peyronie’s disease cases reported may keep growing.
It is unclear what causes Peyronie’s disease. Some researchers believe it is a genetic disorder; others believe it is an autoimmune disorder. One common theory is that it is a result of a previous injury that caused internal bleeding in the penis. Even if the injury was not traumatic enough to have caused a great deal of pain, scar tissue built up in the tissue as it healed. During an erection, when the penis stretches, the scar tissue doesn’t stretch with it, causing the penis to curve.
Testing and Treatment
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease is focused on helping a man regain the sexual function that he has lost due to the disease. It is unlikely that the penis can be restored to its pre-Peyronie’s condition. Many treatments suggested for Peyronie’s Disease have been studied and found to offer no convincing evidence of improvement.
- Oral Medications: Thought to prevent scaring, not remove existing scar tissue. Used in early stages of the disease.
- Penile Traction Therapy: A stretching device is thought to lead to a reduction in curvature. Has been shown to improve curvature. Side effects and cost are minimal, making it a reasonable therapy to try.
- Injections: Injecting a drug directly into the plaque to break down the hard plaque tissue. Injections with Verapamil and Interferon have shown some improvement and are reasonable treatments to try. Xiaflex is an injectable medication, and is the first FDA-approved treatment for Peyronie’s. Steroids should never be injected into the plaque.
- Topical Medications: Topical medications applied to the penis without iontophersis (including topical Verapamil) not been shown to be effective.
- Iontophoresis: Uses a mild electric current to deliver topical Varapamil through the layers of tissue. Results are inconsistent, but it is a reasonable therapy to try if a man cannot have injections.
- Plication and Grafting Surgeries: Plication involves pinching the tissue together on the outer side of the bend. Grafting replaces or expands scarred penile tissue with healthy tissue. Both offer good results to properly-selected candidates.
- Penile Implant Surgery: Involves inserting a penile prosthesis into the penis. Good results in correcting curvature in all patients. Should only be considered after other options have been tried or ruled out.
Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to speaking with your urologist, the Association of Peyronie’s Disease Advocates, provides credible information.
Studies of penile tissue have shown that Verapamil cream applied to the penis does not penetrate into the plaque and is not effective for Peyronie’s.
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