Peyronie’s Disease

What is Peyronie’s Disease?

A type of erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s Disease will cause a bend to form within a man’s penis. This bend makes erections and sex painful.

This condition could be the result of trauma to the penis, such as after it’s hit or bent. The trauma could cause scar tissue, referred to as plaque, to build up, and it could also result in bleeding. Oftentimes, the scar tissue could actually be felt underneath the skin, and it will form on the bottom, side, or top of the penis.

What are the Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease?

Symptoms that are associated with Peyronie’s disease will either come about rapidly or slowly. These include:

  • A bend in the penis that’s significant. The curve could be downward, to the side, or upward. There could also be indentations, an hourglass shape, or narrowing, along with a narrow and tight band surrounding the shaft.
  • Problems with getting or sustaining erections
  • The penis may become shorter
  • There could be penile pain without or with an erection
  • Scar tissue, also known as plaque, can be felt beneath the skin. This is felt as a band of hardened tissue or as flat lumps.

Peyronie’s Disease Causes

In most cases of Peyronie’s disease, minor injury to the penis is what causes it. This could be as a result of vigorous sex, sporting injuries or other accidents which might have caused the penis to bend.

Even if the injury didn’t cause significant pain or discomfort at the time it was sustained, it could develop into Peyronie’s disease if fibrosis (scar tissue) of the cells in the tunica albuginea formed. The tunica albuginea is a tough sheath of tissues beneath the skin of the penis. The scar tissue creates plaques on this tissue which pull the penis in one direction, creating a bend or curve.

It’s also possible to develop Peyronie’s disease without previous injury to the penis. It is thought that there could be genetic factors at play, with some men simply being genetically predisposed to the condition. It’s also possible for men with connective tissue disorders, such as tympanosclerosis or Dupuytren’s contractures, to develop Peyronie’s disease as a complication.

Certain other medical conditions or environmental factors which affect wound healing can also make some men more susceptible to Peyronie’s disease. Examples of this are:

  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus
  • Past pelvic trauma
  • High blood sugar caused by poor management of diabetes
  • Tobacco use

How is Peyronie’s Disease Treated?

In some men, Peyronie’s disease will improve without having to receive any treatment, so watchful waiting may be recommended by your doctor, especially if your condition is mild.

Medications are often injected into the penis. Xiaflex is the only medication approved by the FDA to treat Peyronie’s disease, and it’s used in patients with curves over 30° during erection. Other medications include oral verapamil and interferon injections.

Surgery is the last resort in severe cases of deformity.

Peyronie’s Disease Prevention

It isn’t clear whether Peyronie’s disease can be prevented. However, since Peyronie’s disease can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED), it may be possible for men diagnosed with Peyronie’s to avoid ED.

There are many lifestyle factors associated with ED which might increase the risk of someone with Peyronie’s disease developing it. Smoking is a major one since it can affect normal blood circulation. Quitting smoking is incredibly important for overall health, but it will also reduce the risk of ED and it may also help to reduce the severity of the scar tissue and penile plaques associated with Peyronie’s disease.

Use of alcohol and street drugs can also affect the ability to achieve and maintain an erection, so it’s important to avoid these substances. Getting regular exercise can improve circulation throughout the body, and can, therefore, help to prevent ED in men with Peyronie’s disease.