Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which plaques form in the erectile tissue of the penis. Over time this causes penile curvature, indentation, inflammation and shortening, and / or narrowing.
The plaques usually form on the top or upper side of the penis causing it to curve upwards. The condition occurs in approximately 3% of adult men, mostly in older men aged 50-plus.
Peyronie’s disease (PD) can cause sufferers some pretty unpleasant symptoms – from pain, discomfort and erectile problems to psychological symptoms such as anxiety.
Causes, symptoms and diagnosis
The causes are not always known or understood, but the following may have an impact in the development of the disease:
- Inflammation and / or infection.
- An autoimmune response.
- Penile injury or trauma.
- Inherent abnormality in the penis.
- Particular types of drugs.
Symptoms are varied but may include:
- Penile bending or kinking as the plaques spread and contract.
- Loss of length and / or narrowing of the penis.
- Pain and / or a lump at the affected site.
- Painful erections.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Difficulties with sexual intercourse.
- Anxiety, depression, embarrassment and loss of self-esteem.
Diagnosis is likely to involve a physical examination, a full medical and sexual history, and possibly an ultrasound scan.
The good news is that Peyronie’s Disease can generally be successfully treated. In some cases, the problem resolves itself and treatment might not be required at all. If treatment is required there are a number of options, including:
- Oral medications, such as anti-inflammatories and Vitamin E.
- Electrical current therapy.
- Injections of medications such as Verapamil directly into the plaques.
- Mechanical stretching using penile extenders or vacuum devices.
- Surgical straightening procedures to improve the function of the penis. These treatments might include reconstruction, prosthesis implants, or shortening of the unaffected side.
Erectile dysfunction treatments
As we already mentioned, erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of the condition. Unfortunately treatments for PD may not resolve this problem, and additional treatments might be required.
Treatments for erectile dysfunction include oral medications, vacuum devices, prosthesis implants, suppositories and injections. There is also evidence that conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease can interfere with sexual function, and studies show that men who adopt a healthier lifestyle also enjoy a better sex life.
Where to find help