Peyronie’s Disease is an embarrassing and possibly painful condition where the penis develops a curve and bends during an erection. This can lead to sexual dysfunction and depression in older men. It can also happen in newborn babies, but is not related to Peyronie’s Disease. In adult males, the main cause of Peyronie’s Disease is trauma to the penis and development of scar tissue during healing. There is some speculation that it may be related to an auto-immune condition, but this is not proven yet. In any case, it can be painful both physically and emotionally.
This condition happens in about 1-3% of men, but it may be upwards of about 8.9%. The reason for the difference in numbers may be the fact that men are too embarrassed to consult with their doctor for the condition or some men are unaware that they even have it. The age groups that are most affected is men ages 20-70, and it is higher in middle aged men. This is because the scar tissue that causes this condition takes years to form and becomes more noticeable during the mid-life period.
There are a few treatments available that may be helpful for this condition, so if you think you suffer from this disease you should see your physician right away. Delaying treatment can only make the condition worse and cause complications.
Causes Of Peyronie’s Disease
The one main cause for Peyronie’s Disease is scar tissue formation on the penis. Other causes include:
Fracture or Trauma – Injuries to the penis almost always heal spontaneously within a year’s time. Sometimes, the scar tissue continues to build up after a year and Peyronie’s Disease occurs.
Genetics – If you have a relative that has this condition you are more likely to develop it. It is also more common depending on your racial make-up.
Auto-Immune – Your body’s own immune system caused the scar tissue to form. The body attacks itself for no reason, thinking its own tissues are a virus or illness.
Medications – Some blood pressure medications can cause a temporary form of this disease. It usually resolves after stopping the medication.
Whatever the cause, the penis builds up scar tissue that creates fibrous bands that pull the penis into a curve. Over a period of time, the scar tissue grows and hardens. This condition can cause a bend in the penis whenever there is an erection.
The disease is more common among middle aged white males and less common among African and Asian males. This could be proof of a genetic tendency toward the disease. If you have a male relative that experienced this condition, you may be more likely to get it yourself.
Peyronie’s Disease Symptoms
Peyronies Disease may be symptom-free at first and you may not even know you have it. Other people may experience mild to severe pain with erection; the onset of symptoms is different for everyone. Here is a full list of symptoms:
- Noticeable bend in the penis upon erection
- Noticeable hardened lump, at times may only be felt with erection
- Mild, Moderate or Severe pain with erection
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Urinary Retention (if the scar tissue becomes big enough it can put pressure on the urethra. This is the opening that urine flows through.
- A shorter penis than normal
- Depression due to sexual dysfunction
Diagnosis is relatively easy if your doctor can feel a lump under the skin of the penis. The doctor may have to inject medication into the side of the penis to cause an erection to feel the lump. They may also order an ultrasound and x-ray studies to make a complete diagnosis. Most doctors may be able to make a diagnosis based on symptoms alone.
Treatment For Peyronie’s Disease
When the main cause is and injury and inflammation to the penis, the disease may resolve on its own. In approximately 13% of cases, Peyronie’s Disease will spontaneously heal in one year without any medical attention. As the original injury heals the body will resolve and clear the scar tissue over time without any lasting effects.
When the problem is medication related, stopping the medication may help to heal the disease and the penis will return to normal within weeks depending on how long you took the medication.
If it is a genetic or auto-immune condition then the disease may not go away. For these cases, there are treatment options available. These treatments are not always 100% effective, but can help in severe cases. Some of these treatments include:
- Steroids injected directly into the scar tissue
- Vitamin E
- Surgical removal of the scar tissue (Can cause more scar tissue)
- Collagen injections
- Application or injections of the blood pressure medication, Verapamil
- Penile stretching tools
Doctors will usually start with the easiest options first reserving surgical intervention for only extreme cases. If impotence is severe and not reversible with treatment an attempt at penile implants can be made. At the very least, measures are taken to preserve emotional health and prevent depression.
You may not even know that you have this disease at first. Then the pain may begin gradually and be more noticeable with each erection. You may or may not see a curve in the penis. Some men do not even feel a lump, some do and think they may have cancer. Know that this condition is benign and not cancerous.
Peyronie’s Disease can be a very debilitating condition both physically and emotionally for a man. Loss of sexual function and pain can cause significant changes to lifestyle in regards to relationships, work and home life. If you think you may be suffering from this condition, see your physician right away for help. You may only have a temporary case or if it is permanent, there are treatments that can reduce the effects of the disease and improve your quality of life.