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Peyronie's Disease - Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications

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Peyronie's Disease - Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications

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A bent penis and pain during erection can be signs of Peyronie's disease. Read the article below to know all about the condition.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Raveendran S R

Published At December 16, 2019
Reviewed AtSeptember 20, 2023

What Is Peyronie’s Disease?

Peyronie's disease is a condition that results in a painful and curved erection. It is caused by the formation of fibrous scar tissue on the penis. The shape and size of penises can vary, and slight curvature without pain or discomfort is nothing to be worried about. One should consult a doctor if one’s erection significantly bends and causes pain. In most men, this condition makes it difficult for them to maintain an erection, which prevents them from having sex. It also results in stress and anxiety due to the inability to maintain erection, pain, and penile shortening.

Peyronie’s disease is a rare form of erectile dysfunction (ED) and rarely goes away on its own. If left untreated, the condition will either remain as it is or get worse. Diagnosing and treating this condition early might help it from progressing, and treatment soon after developing the condition helps improve symptoms and might keep it from getting worse.

What Are the Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease?

The signs and symptoms can either develop gradually or appear suddenly. The following are the common signs and symptoms:

  • Scar tissue formation, otherwise called plaque, under the skin of the penis. It can be felt as flat lumps or hard tissue bands.

  • In some cases, the scar tissue forms around the entire circumference of the penis, resulting in a bottleneck deformity.

  • The penis is significantly bent upward or downward or towards one side.

  • Erectile dysfunction means problems with getting and maintaining an erection. Most men have erection problems even before the other symptoms of Peyronie’s disease start.

  • The penis becomes shorter (penile shortening).

  • Pain with or without an erection.

  • The penis might get narrow or have indentations.

The penile curvature and shortening gradually worsen, but usually stabilizes after three months to a year. Without treatment, the pain reduces in a couple of years, but the curvature, scar tissue, and shortening of penile length remain unchanged. In very rare cases, the curvature and pain improve on their own.

What Causes Peyronie’s Disease?

The exact cause of Peyronie's disease is not completely known, but it seems to be affected by various factors. It is believed to be a result of repeated penile injuries. The possible causes of injury are during sex, sports, or accidents. After the injury, the scar tissue forms in an unorganized manner, which leads to plaque formation. This plaque formation can be felt under the skin of the penis.

In a healthy man, the penis contains a tube called corpus cavernosum on each side, which contains blood vessels. Each one of this corpus cavernosum is surrounded by an elastic tissue called the tunica albuginea. This tissue stretches when a man has an erection. On sexually arousal, blood flow through these tubes and the penis expands and stiffens.

Researchers are trying to find out other causes of this condition because in most cases, no history of an injury is present.

What Are the Risk Factors of Peyronie’s Disease?

Various factors seem to increase the risk of a man getting Peyronie’s disease. The common risk factors include:

  1. Age - It can affect men of any age, but the risk is high for men around 50 and 60 years of age.

  2. Genetics - If you have a family with this condition, there is a change that you might get it also.

  3. Connective tissue problems - Men with connective tissue disorders are more at risk.

  4. Smoking - Smoking is one of the risk factors for Peyronie’s disease.

  5. Surgeries - Some prostate surgeries.

When to Consult a Doctor?

As soon as you notice signs or symptoms of Peyronie's disease, consult a doctor. The best chance to improve this condition is to get treatment as early as possible.

How Is Peyronie’s Disease Diagnosed?

  • The doctor will diagnose this condition through a physical examination. They will look for the presence of scar tissue in the penis. Sometimes to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms and to diagnose the cause, the doctor might suggest getting the following tests done:

  • The doctor will carry out a physical examination of the penis while flaccid, and try to identify the amount of scar tissue. If needed, the doctor will also measure the penis size, so that it can be compared with later appointments, to check for penile shortening.

  • To know the degree of penile curvature, the doctor will examine a photo of the erect penis.

  • Ultrasound during erection shows scar tissue, blood flow to the penis, and the presence of any other penile abnormalities.

How Is Peyronie’s Disease Treated?

As of now, there is no cure for this condition. Treatment is done to manage symptoms, and the condition might get better on its own. If Peyronie’s disease is left untreated the condition worsens or may remain as such. Most doctors do not prescribe medicines right away, rather they wait and see how the symptoms are. The treatment options depend on the phase of the disease. The two phases are:

1. Acute Phase:

  • This phase occurs early in the disease.

  • Usually lasts for two to four weeks, but can last longer.

  • One experiences penile pain and penile deformity.

  • Surgery is not recommended in this phase.

  • Penile traction therapy to correct penile curvature.

  • Medications and injection therapy are optional in this phase.

2. Chronic Phase:

  • This phase occurs later in the disease.

  • Symptoms are stable.

  • Treatment options include a combination of traction therapy, surgery, injections, and medications after careful watching of symptoms.

The common treatment options for Peyronie’s disease include:

1) Medicines - Medicines are injected directly into the penis if penile pain and curvature are getting worse. The drug prescribed is Clostridium hystolyticum. It is only indicated in men with penile curvature of more than 30 degrees. This drug helps break down the collagen buildup.

The other drugs sometimes used are Verapamil (orally) and Interferon (injection).

2) Iontophoresis - Here, a weak electrical current is used to deliver medicine through the skin.

3) Other Nondrug Therapies:

  • Shock wave therapy may be used to break up scar tissue.

  • Vacuum devices.

  • Penile traction therapy to stretch the penis.

4) Penile exercises - People undergoing treatment with Clostridium hystolyticum are benefitted from penile exercises. Here, the penis is stretched when not erect for 30 seconds, which can be repeated thrice daily. When you experience spontaneous erection, try to straighten it for 30 seconds.

5) Surgery - It is only done if other options fail, and the condition has resulted in severe deformity of the penis. Surgery is done to shorten the unaffected side, lengthen the side with scar tissue, and penile implants.

Home Remedies:

Some lifestyle changes may improve the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease. The home remedies or lifestyle changes include:

  • Quit smoking.

  • Limit the consumption of alcohol.

  • Avoid using recreational drugs.

  • Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.

What Are the Complications of Peyronie’s Disease?

If left untreated, Peyronie’s disease can result in the following complications:

  1. Erectile dysfunction.

  2. Inability to have sex.

  3. Anxiety and stress.

  4. Relationship problems.

  5. Inability to father a child.

  6. Penis length reduces.

  7. Pain in the penis.

How to Prevent Peyronie’s Disease?

It is not fully known whether Peyronie’s disease can be prevented or not. Researchers are still finding ways to prevent this disease. But avoiding the risk factor can make it less likely that someone will get this disease. Moreover, as this disease runs in families, males with a positive family history will be more likely to develop this disease. In addition, some measures could help reduce the risk of this disease. These include:

  • Practice Safe Sex: Engaging in safe sex practices, such as using condoms, can help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can contribute to Peyronie's disease.
  • Avoid Excessive Trauma to the Penis: Avoiding excessive or repeated trauma to the penis can help prevent Peyronie's disease. This includes avoiding rough sex or masturbation, as well as preventing direct trauma to the penis during physical activities or accidents.
  • Address Underlying Health Conditions: Some health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, can contribute to Peyronie's disease. Addressing these underlying health conditions may help prevent or manage Peyronie's disease.
  • Seek Prompt Medical Attention: If you experience any symptoms of Peyronie's disease, such as painful erections or penile curvature, seek prompt medical attention. Early intervention may help prevent the progression of the condition and reduce the risk of complications.

Conclusion:

A bent penis and pain during an erection can be signs of Peyronie's disease. Therefore, individuals should not ignore any unusual symptoms related to the penis. They should immediately seek medical advice from a healthcare professional. Even though there are not many ways to avoid getting this disease, it can be kept from getting worse if it is caught early and treated correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

How Does One Get Peyronie's Disease?

The exact cause for Peyronie's disease is not known. It is known to occur due to any injury to the penis while playing games and sexual intercourse. This injury will result in the formation of scar tissue that might cause Peyronie's disease.

2.

What Is the Treatment for Peyronie's Disease?

Treatment involves medications such as collagenase Clostridium histolyticum and Verapamil. Interferon injection is also known to be helpful. Penile exercises are recommended for patients who are taking collagenase Clostridium histolyticum medication. In severe conditions, surgical methods are implemented.

3.

Can Peyronie's Disease Heal on Its Own?

Peyronie's disease heals on its own only in rare cases. In others, a proper treatment plan is necessary to sort out the condition. In most of the cases, the treatment is known to be helpful. You should consult your doctor for a faster recovery.

4.

What Happens if Peyronie's Disease Is Not Treated?

If Peyronie's disease is not treated, then it can result in the following complications.
- Excessive stress and anxiety.
- Lack of sexual performance.
- A decrease in the length of the penis.
- Reduction in penis length.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Poor personal relationships.

5.

Does Massage Help Peyronie's Disease?

Massage is known to alleviate Peyronie's disease. It is known to be highly beneficial when it is done along with another form of treatment. There are several methods of Yoni massage that are effective for the problems of the penis.

6.

Does Stretching Help Peyronie's Disease?

Yes, stretching helps in Peyronie's disease. Many medical reports suggest that stretching of the penis will prevent the shortening of the penis length. Management of Peyronie's disease, along with other methods, are recommended.

7.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Peyronie's Disease?

The diagnosis requires a clinical examination of the penis. The presence of scar tissue is identified by a doctor. The size of the penis will also be measured by the doctor if the shortening of the penis is suspected. The blood flow to the penis and other pathological conditions are identified using ultrasound when the penis is in an erected state.

8.

Is Vitamin E Good for Peyronie's Disease?

Vitamin E helps in Peyronie's disease because scarring can be effectively treated using vitamin E. It is a common method of choice for many doctors. The dosage is usually adjusted around 200-300 mg/dL, as higher doses could be harmful.

9.

How Successful Is Peyronie's Disease Surgery?

Surgery is recommended for patients who need to correct the abnormal curvature of the penis. Surgery can also be the option for patients who do not improve with non-surgical procedures for more than 12 months.

10.

Is Peyronie's Disease Bad?

Yes, Peyronie's disease could be bad because the nature of the disease causes an inferiority complex in a man. He considers himself as unfit for sexual activities. Pain caused in the penis could be depressing, and it is known to increase the anxiety levels in males.

11.

Can You Live With Peyronie's Disease?

Yes, you can live with Peyronie's disease. It is not a life-threatening condition. It is also possible to completely cure Peyronie's disease. The difficulties in sexual intercourse are only a temporary state, and you can completely recover.

12.

Is Peyronie's Disease a Progressive Condition?

Yes, Peyronie's disease is a progressive condition. It begins in the milder form initially and increases in intensity. In some patients, it can heal by itself within six to fifteen months. If this condition is causing you discomfort for a prolonged period of time, then you have to consult a doctor immediately.

13.

How Can You Prevent Peyronie's Disease?

Peyronie's disease can be prevented in the following ways.
- Aged men tend to have an erection that is not very rigid. When they start experiencing this, it is necessary to get help from doctors. With the help of medications, injury, or excessive bending during intercourse can be prevented.
- The position of sexual intercourse should be focused only on in and out rather than twisting and bending positions.
- Women on top position can be avoided as it can increase the chance of bending of the penis. There are more possibilities of injury in this position also.

14.

How Long Does It Take to Cure Peyronie's Disease?

With proper treatment options, it is possible to cure Peyronie's disease. If the exercise is combined along with medications, you can expect a speedy recovery.

15.

Is Peyronie's Disease a Permanent Condition?

If Peyronie's disease is diagnosed in an earlier stage, it is possible to ease the symptoms. It is not a permanent condition, but the complete recovery is found in only a very few patients.

16.

Can Peyronie's Disease Cause Infertility?

Peyronie's disease does not cause a total infertile condition, but the erectile dysfunction caused by Peyronie's disease can delay a male's chances to become a father. Functional problems are noticed in patients with increased severity of Peyronie's disease.
Dr. Raveendran S R
Dr. Raveendran S R

Sexology

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iontophoresispeyronie's diseaseerectile dysfunctionpenile injury
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