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Peyronies Disease

According to most medical experts, approximately 1 in 100 men over the age of 18 develop a urological disorder called Peyronie’s disease in their lifetime.  Though uncommon for men in their 20s and 30s, Peyronie’s disease’s most typical symptom causes the penis to bend or curve, usually during an erection.

Understandably, many men with this symptom become fearful that they have a broken penis, much like a broken arm or ankle. Fortunately, this assumption is incorrect.

So, how exactly does this disease develop, and what Peyronie’s disease treatments are available for men who suffer from it?

Let’s take a closer look.

How Peyronie’s Disease Develops

Peyronie’s disease (or PD for short) develops when plaque forms under the penis. This plaque accumulates in the penis in an elastic membrane that medical experts call the tunica albuginea, which helps keep the penis stiff during sexual activity.

As this plaque develops, it pulls on surrounding penis tissue, which causes the penis to bend or curve. For some men experiencing PD, sexual intercourse becomes uncomfortable. In extreme cases, it can become impossible.


What Causes Peyronie’s Disease?

The exact cause of PD is currently unknown, but doctors agree that it may be a result of:

Chronic or acute penis injuries – Injuries often happen during athletic activities, accidents, and sexual intercourse. These injuries may happen once or multiple times, resulting in chronic injuries.

Autoimmune disease – Men with autoimmune diseases run the risk of their immune system attacking their penis cells. When the immune system attacks these cells, scar tissue forms, and can result in plaque buildup, which leads to PD.


What Are Some Common Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease?

If you believe you have developed PD, keep an eye on the following signs and symptoms. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your urology clinic and make an appointment. Your doctor will be able to diagnose whether you have PD or not.

Signs of Peyronie’s disease include:

  • Bent penis, with or without an erection
  • Narrowing, shortening, or other changes in the shape of the penis
  • One or more hard lumps on the side of the penis
  • Pain while engaging in sexual intercourse
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED for short)

Signs of PD may be mild to severe and can appear over time or very quickly. Often, pain resulting from PD goes away with time, though penis curvature can remain even after the pain subsides.

During your doctor visit, be prepared to answer these common questions, which will help with your diagnosis:

  • At what point did your PD symptoms begin?
  • Are you experiencing pain when you have an erection?
  • Are you having problems maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse?
  • Is there a history of PD in your family?
  • What medications, if any, are you currently taking?

You should also know that your urologist might need to perform a physical exam to confirm a PD diagnosis. During this exam, your doctor will need to examine your penis for plaques, or the hard bumps that are often symptoms of PD.

If your urologist needs to examine your penis with an erection, he or she will administer an injectable medicine. As a follow-up, your urologist may ask you to take pictures of your bent penis to evaluate its curvature.

How is Peyronie’s Disease Treated?

There are several treatment options when dealing with Peyronie’s disease. Peyronie’s disease treatment helps patients reduce pain, achieve a straight penis, and regain the ability to participate in sexual intercourse. In some cases, treatment is not needed at all. More rarely, PD goes away on its own without any medical intervention.

You might not need Peyronie’s disease treatment if you:

  • Have minimal plaque buildup
  • Do not experience any pain
  • Do not have problems with sexual intercourse
  • Do not have a curve or bend in your penis
  • Do not have any problems urinating

If you do need treatment, options include both nonsurgical and surgical solutions. Your doctor will choose a treatment based on the severity of your PD symptoms.

Nonsurgical treatments – These treatments come in the form of oral medications, injections, and medical therapies. Nonsurgical treatments are often used during the acute phase of PD.

Surgical treatments – Like nonsurgical options, there are several surgical treatments that can help patients with PD. Your urologist may recommend surgery when:

  • Your PD symptoms have not improved with nonsurgical solutions
  • Intercourse, erections, or both are painful
  • A curve in your penis prevents you from having sexual intercourse

If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes instead of surgical and nonsurgical treatments. During your urology appointment, your healthcare professional will discuss which Peyronie’s disease treatment options will work best for your symptoms and review any side effects that might occur due to said treatment options. 

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