Peyronie’s Disease

What is Peyronie’s disease?

Peyronie’s disease is characterized by a plaque, or hard lump, that forms within thepenis. The plaque, develops on the top or bottom side of the penis inside. The plaquebegins as a localized inflammation and develops into a hardened scar.

Cases of Peyronie’s disease range from mild to severe. Symptoms may developslowly or appear overnight. The hardened plaque causing pain and forcing the penisto bend during erection. In many cases, the pain decreases over time, but the bend inthe penis may remain a problem, making sexual intercourse difficult.

A recent study in Germany found Peyronie’s disease in 3.2 percent of men between 30 and 80 years of age.

Although the disease occurs mostly in middle age, younger and older men candevelop it.

In some cases, Peyronie’s disease runs in families, which suggests that geneticfactors might make a man vulnerable to the disease.

A French surgeon, François de la Peyronie, first described Peyronie’s disease in1743. The problem was noted in print as early as 1687.

Diagnosis

Peyronie’s disease has a characteristic history:

  1. Pain with erection.
  2. Bending and or indentation of the erection.
  3. Loss of penile length.
  4. In some cases, pain is absent.
  5. One or more hardened areas, or plaques, within the wall of the erection chamber.
  6. When the penis is erect, it appears deformed. The penis may be bent, or curved, upward, the most common deformity be bent down or to one side.
  7. The curvature or other deformity may gradually worsen over the first six to 18 months. At a certain point in time, the deformity will no longer worsen, but it will continue to recur with erections.

Pain

Pain most often occurs with an erection during the first six to 18 months afterthe onset of symptoms. However, pain associated with Peyronie’s disease may occur in any of the following cases:

  • During an erection
  • Only during an orgasm

Other symptoms

Other signs and symptoms include:

  1. Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  2. Shortening of the penis

Complications

Complications of Peyronie’s disease may include:

  1. Inability to have sex.
  2. Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  3. Anxiety or stress about sexual abilities or the appearance of your penis.
  4. Stresses on the relationship with your sexual partner

How is it caused?

The exact cause of the disease is not known. Sometimes it occurs due to an infection. Inmost cases, it is caused by injury to the penis The soft erectile tissue of the penis maybe injured because of which internal bleeding takes place.

Treatment

Treatment options for patients with Peyronie’s disease are limited. The goal of treatmentis to reduce pain and maintain sexual function. Surgery is the only effective treatment,and because Peyronie’s may resolve on its own, physicians often advise waiting 1 or 2years before choosing this option.

Medical Treatments

Who were given vitamin E orally reported improvements. Yet, no controlled studieshave established the effectiveness of vitamin E therapy.

Researchers have also tried injecting chemical agents directly into the plaques. Some of them seem to diminish curvature of the penis.

Surgery

Three surgical procedures for Peyronie’s disease have had some success. One procedure involves removing or cutting of the plaque and attaching a patch of skin,vein, or material made from animal organs.

This method may straighten the penis and restore some lost length from Peyronie’sdisease. However, some patients may experience numbness of the penis and loss oferectile function.

A second procedure, called plication, involves removing or pinching a piece of thetunica albuginea from the side of the penis opposite the plaque, which cancels out thebending effect. This method is less likely to cause numbness or erectile dysfunction,but it cannot restore length or girth of the penis.

A third surgical option is to implant a device that increases rigidity of the penis. Insome cases, an implant alone will straighten the penis adequately. If the implant alonedoes not straighten the penis, implantation is combined with one of the other twosurgical procedures.

Most types of surgery produce positive results. But because complications can occur,and because many of the effects of Peyronie’s disease– for example, shortening ofthe penis–are not usually corrected by surgery, most doctors prefer to performsurgery only on the small number of men with curvature severe enough to preventsexual intercourse.