A Guide To Peyronie’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Peyronie’s Disease (PD) is not just a physical condition. It can significantly affect men’s quality of life and relationships. We understand the embarrassment and frustration that comes with it. Remember: getting diagnosed with PD is not the end. There’s still hope. There are many treatment options available to you.  

Addressing the condition will help reduce pain, restore function, and regain confidence in your intimate relationships. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for PD. Treatment options vary based on factors such as the severity of curvature, the presence of symptoms, and individual preferences. 

Selecting the right treatment approach is the first step to achieving the best outcome. And we’re here to help you decide.  

If you’ve recently been told you have Peyronie’s Disease, it’s normal to feel concerned. This article will help you understand the condition and guide you through the available treatment options, empowering you to make informed decisions. 

History  

If you’re thinking that Peyronie’s Disease is a relatively new disease hounding men around the world, it’s not. PD has been affecting men globally for centuries. Early descriptions of the condition were recorded as far back as 1687. In 1743, French surgeon François de la Peyronie finally gave the condition a name. This led to doctors finding various Peyronie’s Disease treatments and solutions.  

What is Peyronie’s Disease?  

peyronies-disease-vs-normal-curvature

Figure 1: Peyronie’s Disease, 2019 

Peyronie’s Disease is generally characterised by a hard lump or plaque that forms in the erectile tissue of the penis. This can lead to various physical symptoms over time. Most patients notice the disease when experiencing penile curvature, indentation, and loss of penile length during erection. It is also associated with reduced hardness of erections. These symptoms can occur with or without pain and can often prevent sexual activity. 

The cause of the disease is still not fully understood. However, experts believe that most cases result from repeated trauma to the penis, which can happen during sexual intercourse. Peyronie’s Disease can occur in men of all ages, but it is most common in men in their 50s. 

If you believe you are experiencing these symptoms, know that support and treatment are available to help you manage this condition. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. Getting expert advice can help you find the best treatment options and improve your quality of life. But, first, let’s understand how one can diagnose this condition.  

How to Diagnose Peyronie’s Disease? 

A physical exam is usually enough to find scar tissue in the penis and diagnose Peyronie’s Disease. However, other conditions can sometimes cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to rule them out. Your physician will conduct a full medical and sexual history. An ultrasound scan may also be required to provide images of soft tissue and indications of scar tissue and blood flow. 

Your doctor may also request that you bring home photographs of your erect penis. This can detect the degree of curvature, the location of scar tissue, and other characteristics that may aid in determining the optimal treatment method. 

To better understand how prevalent Peyronie’s Disease is, it’s helpful to look at broader studies on penile curvature. Recent research sheds light on the frequency of this condition, highlighting that it might be more common than previously believed. This leads us to a compelling study on penile curvature conducted by Australian researchers. 

Study: Penile Curvature ‘Affects One in Five’ 

Australian researchers say penile curvature is more common than previously thought. This suggests that Peyronie’s disease is often not diagnosed. The survey is the first to estimate how common penile curvature is in the general population. However, it did not ask if the men had been diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease. 

The survey included 1,782 Australian men, with an average age of 55. It found that 19% had penile curvature, more than double the previous estimate of 9%. The survey showed that the average age for developing the condition was just over 42 years. Additionally, one in three men reported curvature of 30 degrees or more. 

Other findings include: 

  • 26% of men who had a curvature were bothered by the appearance of their penis; 
  • 28% reported a negative emotional impact, most commonly on self-confidence and self-esteem; and 
  • 19% of men in a relationship were worried by penile discomfort with an erection, compared with 8% of single men. 

The findings of this study show that penile curvature is more common than we thought, which means Peyronie’s Disease might be missed often. So, if you suspect you’re suffering from this condition, you’re not facing this by yourself. Many others share your experience with or without their awareness.  

This makes it important to understand what might cause the disease. Let’s delve into potential causes of Peyronie’s Disease to understand better what might contribute to its development. Remember, gaining knowledge is the first step towards managing and treating the condition. 

Erectile Dysfuntion

How do you get Peyronie’s Disease? 

Causes 

Peyronie’s Disease causes are not always known or understood, but the following may have an impact on the development of the disease: 

  • Chronic inflammation and/or infection. 
  • An autoimmune response. 
  • Penile injury or trauma due to impact or sexual activity 
  • Particular types of drugs. 

Even though what causes Peyronie’s disease is not fully known, it’s important to see a doctor if you notice any symptoms or changes in your penis. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the condition and reduce its impact on your quality of life. 

Symptoms 

Chances are you’re here because you’re asking yourself this question: ‘Do I have Peyronie’s Disease?’If you’re worried that you have this condition, look out for these symptoms: 

  • 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. 

Understanding the causes and symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease is crucial, but knowing how to manage and treat it is equally important. While the exact causes might still be unclear, recognising symptoms early can lead to effective treatments. Remember, taking the first step towards seeking medical advice can make a significant difference. Professional guidance is key to managing Peyronie’s Disease effectively.  

Let’s now explore the various treatment options available for Peyronie’s Disease in Australia. 

Treatment for Peyronie’s Disease 

When it comes to Peyronie’s Disease treatment in Australia, you have several options. The treatment will vary from patient to patient and depends on factors such as the severity of penile shortening, the degree of penile curvature, whether there is penile narrowing, and if erectile dysfunction is present.  

LEARN MORE 

1. Medication 

Some of the currently available treatments include medication, electric current therapy, mechanical stretching, and surgical penile reconstruction (with or without grafting). 

a. Oral Medications 

Pentoxifylline (Trental) is often prescribed for the first few months after diagnosis. Vitamin E and potassium supplements may also be used. Additionally, medications to improve erectile dysfunction may be necessary. 

  • Pros: 
    • Non-invasive 
    • Easy to administer 
  • Cons: 
    • Less effective than surgery 
    • May require long-term use 

b. Injections 

Verapamil or Collagenase clostridium histolyticum (Xiaflex) injections directly into the penis. These help break up scar tissue and reduce pain and curvature. 

  • Pros: 
    • Can reduce curvature and pain 
    • Targets scar tissue directly 
  • Cons: 
    • Requires multiple injections over several months 
    • Can be uncomfortable 

2. Electrical Current Therapy 

Also known as iontophoresis, this method uses an electrical current to administer verapamil and steroids through the skin. 

  • Pros: 
    • Non-invasive 
    • Administers medication through the skin 
  • Cons: 
    • Limited availability 
    • Effectiveness can vary 

3. Assisting Devices 

Assisting devices for Peyronie’s Disease help reduce penile curvature.  

  • Pros: 
    • Non-surgical options 
    • Can be used at home 
  • Cons: 
    • Requires consistent use over time 
    • Results may vary 

a. Mechanical Stretching Using Penile Extenders 

Also known as penile traction therapy, this involves wearing an extender device to help reverse the curve over time. 

  • Pros: 
    • Non-invasive 
    • Can be done at home 
    • Gradual improvement over time 
  • Cons: 
    • Requires consistent, long-term use 
    • May be uncomfortable to wear 
    • Results can vary from person to person 

b. Vacuum Erection Device 

A tube that creates suction over the penis to stretch and lengthen it, reducing curvature mechanically. 

  • ​Pros: 
    • Non-invasive 
    • Can be used at home 
    • Immediate effect on penile length during use 
  • Cons: 
    • Requires regular use 
    • Can be awkward or uncomfortable to use 
    • Effects may be temporary and vary between individuals 

4. Surgical Procedures 

Surgical procedures for Peyronie’s Disease are effective treatments to fix severe penile curvature and improve sexual function. Each type of surgery is designed to address specific problems, such as straightening the penis or restoring its length, ensuring personalised care and a better quality of life. 

  • Pros: 
    • Highly effective 
    • Provides long-term results 
  • Cons: 
    • Invasive 
    • Requires recovery time 
    • Risk of complications 

a. Plication 

Involves stitching the longer side of the penis to pull it back into the middle. 

  • Pros: 
    • Short recovery time (one day) 
  • Cons: 
    • Abstain from sexual intercourse for 5 weeks post-operation 
    • May shorten penis length slightly 

b. Grafting 

A graft is placed on the short side of the penis to make it match the longer side. 

  • Pros: 
    • Balances the length of the penis
    • Short recovery time (2-3 days) 
  • Cons: 
    • Abstain from sexual intercourse for eight weeks 
    • Risk of erectile dysfunction. 

c. Penile Prosthesis/Implant 

Involves the placement of a prosthesis into the penis to help straighten it and facilitate erections. 

  • Pros: 
    • Helps straighten the penis 
    • Facilitates erections 
  • Cons: 
    • Recovery time (2-3 weeks off work, 5-6 weeks before sexual activity) 
    • Possible mechanical failure of the implant 

Treating Peyronie’s Disease varies from patient to patient based on factors like the severity of penile curvature, shortening, and whether erectile dysfunction is present. If you’re suffering from PD or suspect you have it, there are different treatment methods available to you. 

We understand that exploring treatment options for Peyronie’s Disease can be daunting, but there is hope and help available. Whether you’re considering medication, non-invasive therapies, or surgical procedures, you have choices that can be tailored to your specific needs. Each treatment aims to reduce symptoms, improve penile function, and enhance your quality of life. Consulting with a specialist such as Dr. Katelaris can provide you with a personalised plan and the reassurance that you are making informed decisions. Remember, you are not alone on this journey—support and effective treatments are available to help you regain confidence and comfort. 

Learn more about Peyronie’s Disease and its treatments here. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

PD is not life-threatening, although it can have a significant impact on your life and psychological state. It’s important that you address any mood changes and seek help to deal with the emotional effects that can accompany Peyronie’s disease. 

The physical risks associated with PD include visible deformity and penile dysfunction, due to the development of scar tissue that can affect erection forming. 

The psychosexual effects of penile curvature, in a study, showed 1 in 6 men complaining of penile pain or discomfort when they had an erection and 1 in 5 men experiencing difficulty during penetrative intercourse. 

The appearance of Peyronie’s disease differs based on factors such as the plaque’s size and location and the curvature’s severity. Seeking guidance from a healthcare provider is crucial for correctly diagnosing and managing this condition. 

If you believe that you are displaying any of the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease, then the best course of action is to make an appointment with your urologist. Your doctor will give you a diagnosis after an exam and medical history are conducted. 

The early symptoms of Peyronie’s disease include: 

  1. Penile curvature or bending, especially during an erection. 
  2. A lump or hard area in the penis. 
  3. Pain during erections or without an erection. 
  4. Loss of penile length. 
  5. Erectile dysfunction. 
  6. Indentation or narrowing of the penis. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.

Along with visual and sexual symptoms, it is possible for patients to experience painful erections or sex-related suffering with PD. Some patients may experience penile discomfort without an erection, or not experience any discomfort at all. 

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. 

Non-surgical treatments: 

  • Oral medications, such as anti-inflammatories and Vitamin E. 
  • Electrical current therapy that is applied topically. 
  • Injections of medications such as Verapamil directly into the plaques or scar tissue. 
  • Mechanical stretching using penile extenders or vacuum devices. 

Surgical treatments: 

  • Straightening procedure involving removal of plaques to improve the function of the penis.
  • Penile reconstruction or shortening of the unaffected side.  
  • Prosthesis implants, especially for those affected by erectile dysfunction (ED). 

While correcting the curvature of the penis in itself does not fix problems with erectile dysfunction, it is possible to treat both conditions when they coexist. 

When it comes to Peyronie’s Disease treatment in Australia, there are already a number of options available. Among them, Xiaflex injections have emerged as the latest treatment for Peyronie’s Disease which is also non-surgical in nature. Xiaflex injections are a promising treatment option, as they involve injecting an enzyme that breaks down the collagen causing plaque formation. This helps reduce plaque size and improve penile curvature. 

There are several non-surgical treatment options for Peyronie’s Disease but it depends on your case: 

  • Oral medications for Peyronie’s Disease such as Vitamin E, Verapamil, Pentoxifylline, and Colchicine are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation and plaque formation. 
  • Injections of Xiaflex directly into the plaque can also help break it down and improve penile curvature without the need for surgery. 
  • Penile traction therapy involves wearing a device that applies gentle traction to the penis, gradually straightening it over time.  

It’s recommended to consult with healthcare providers who specialise in Peyronie’s disease to get a personalised treatment plan. This ensures the treatment meets your specific needs and is most effective. While a complete cure without surgery may not always be possible, non-surgical treatments are still useful and worth considering. 

Although rare, like any surgery, there are risks involved. Discuss these risks with your urologist to understand any potential adverse effects: 

  • Change in penile sensation (usually returns in 1-2 months after surgery)  
  • Recurrent curvature (rare if the deformity is stable for 6-9 months before surgery) 
  • Erectile dysfunction (this is less likely to occur in men with strong pre-operative erections)  
  • Penile shortening (usually 1-2 cm if at all)  
  • Bleeding and infection are complications associated with most surgical procedures but are quite rare with these operations. 

PD is treatable, although many men fail to seek medical attention due to misplaced embarrassment over the condition. Alongside the unpleasant physical symptoms, such as pain discomfort and erectile problems, sufferers of this condition may also suffer psychological symptoms such as anxiety over their condition. When left untreated, these symptoms can worsen and lead to negative thoughts and poor quality of life. 

Key Points Summary 

  • Definition: Peyronie’s Disease is characterised by a hard lump or plaque in the penile tissue, leading to curvature, indentation, and erectile dysfunction. It affects men’s physical, emotional, and sexual well-being, significantly reducing quality of life. 
  • Diagnosis: Typically involves a physical exam, medical history review, and ultrasound to detect scar tissue and blood flow. Photographs of the erect penis may also aid in diagnosis. 
  • Prevalence: Recent studies indicate that penile curvature is more common than previously thought, affecting 19% of men, with notable psychological and physical impacts. 
  • Causes: Potential factors include penile injury, chronic inflammation, autoimmune responses, and certain medications. 
  • Symptoms: Include penile bending, loss of length, painful erections, erectile dysfunction, and psychological effects such as anxiety and depression. 
  • Treatment Options: 
    • Medication: Oral treatments like Pentoxifylline, Vitamin E, and injections like Verapamil or Xiaflex. 
    • Electrical Current Therapy: Iontophoresis delivers medication through the skin using electrical currents. 
    • Assisting Devices: Penile traction therapy and vacuum erection devices. 
    • Surgical Procedures: Include plication, grafting, and penile prosthesis/implant. 
  • Non-Surgical vs. Surgical: Non-surgical methods aim to reduce curvature and pain, while surgical options address more severe cases and aim to restore penile function. 
  • Importance of Early Intervention: Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for managing symptoms and improving outcomes. Consulting with a healthcare provider is essential for personalised treatment plans. 

Where to find help for Peyronie’s Disease? 

Dealing with Peyronie’s Disease can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to know that you’re not facing this alone. Many others are experiencing similar challenges and understand what you’re going through. The only way to ensure that you make the right decision for your body is to meet with an experienced Urologist. They can explain the various options and give you personalised and specialist advice.   

Luckily, that is precisely what we do here at Katelaris Urology. So, whether you think you might be experiencing symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease or already have a diagnosis and need advice on how to proceed, give our office a call today at (02) 9477 7904 to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, if you’d rather fill out a contact form or e-mail us at [email protected], we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

There is a community of support available to help you navigate this condition. Reach out to healthcare professionals, support groups, and loved ones who can provide the guidance and reassurance you need. Remember, seeking help and connecting with others can make a significant difference in managing and overcoming this condition. 

References: 

Mans Matter. (2021, August 20). Peyronie’s disease treatment options available today. Peyronie’s Treatment. https://peyroniestreatment.co.uk/peyronies-disease-treatment/  

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (n.d.). Penile traction therapy. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peyronies-disease/multimedia/img-20483812  

Peyronie’s disease. Andromedi. (2024, April 5). https://www.andromedi.com/en/sexual-medicine/peyronies-disease/  

What is Peyronie’s disease?: Metromale Clinic & Fertility Center. Best Sexologist in Chennai to treat Men and Women InFertility Problems. (2019, August 20). https://metromaleclinic.com/what-is-peyronies-disease/