Peyronie’s Disease

What is Peyronie’s Disease?

The general consensus on Peyronie’s Disease, which is a curvature of the penile shaft and penis, is that it occurs often with no rhyme or reason. Some doctors think that this condition could be triggered by intense sexual intercourse and moments where the penis might have bent during the act. When an erection occurs, there are cavities on either side of the penile shaft that fill with blood. On the outside of these cavities that fill, there is a stretchy tissue that allows for the penis to grow, and thusly return to flaccid state. In Peyronie’s Disease, scar tissue present does not allow the stretchy tissues to fully expand, thusly resulting in a bent, or curved, penis. Scar tissue can be present anywhere on the penis, from the top near the head, towards the intersection of the shaft with the abdomen.

Peyronie’s Disease should not be mistaken with the common penile curvature, which is the slight curve of the penis without pain, issues, or erection interference. Congenital curvature, which is a very rare condition, is a noticeable penis curvature present from birth. Studies show that having any type of penile curvature or PD does increase the risk of future penile cancer (NIH).

Studies show that older men have a greater risk of developing Peyronie’s Disease because as one ages, their tissues become softer, more pliable, and more easily torn. Erections in older men are not as strong, and therefore have a greater risk of bending during the act of intercourse. Of the men who have Peyronie’s Disease, more than half also have Dupuytren’s contracture. This is a condition where the tissues of the hand, and sometimes other areas, becomes scarred and thickened; thusly pulling the fingers in towards the hand, with the inability to straighten them fully. In extreme cases, sexual intercourse becomes impossible and can affect your intimate life.

What are the symptoms of PD?

Scar tissue can vary and develop differently around the body. Around the penis and shaft, you might notice a hard lump at the point where your penis begins to bend. In most cases, the scar tissue is deep and unpalpable by the untrained hand. The scar tissue can vary in size and be located in more than one place within the penis. If scar tissue circles the shaft, you might notice shrinking or a slight decrease in overall penile size. In some cases, the sudden loss of full erection ability is the first sign and there is never scar tissue present.

Along with the possible curvature, other symptoms include lack of firmness, which your doctor will assist in treating, especially if there is a curve of thirty-degrees or more. You may also experience painful erections. The pain stems from the inflammation and scar tissue inside of the penile shaft. The pain usually retreats after the scar tissue or injury has healed a bit and turned into even harder tissue.

How is Peyronie’s Disease diagnosed and treated?

Your primary care physician will diagnose your PD by evaluating your symptoms, noting injuries, and checking the curve of your penis. To do this, you can bring a photo of your erection, or some doctors will use medications and inject them into the penis which allows for a partial erection to form. This then allows the doctor to see first hand how the penis bends.

Because there is an increased risk of cancer for those men diagnosed with Peyronie’s Disease, your doctors will monitor your condition regularly, being sure to watch for changes and any abnormalities that may appear. In extreme cases, Urologists can intervene and surgically help to reconstruct and remove the hindering scar tissues. Most of these procedures are done in an outpatient setting, which helps keep the extra stress low.

If you suspect that you have or are dealing with Peyronie’s Disease, make an appointment with your primary care physician or Urologist to discuss the symptoms and the best course of treatment for your situation. This condition can cause undue stress in your life and relationships if left untreated. This condition can cause a loss of self, so do not wait to take action. Your sexual identity is just as important as every other aspect of your life and needs to be dealt with to save the self as a whole.

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