What is Peyronie's Disease?
Peyronie’s disease (PD) is a condition that causes scar tissue to form on the inside, erectile tissue of the penis. It is not uncommon and occurs in 8% to 10% of men in the United States. It usually happens to men in their 50’s or beyond but occasionally happens earlier in life.
What Causes Peyronie's Disease?
PD is still poorly understood and an exact cause is usually not found. In any event, scar tissue forms on the erectile tissue (called the corpora cavernosa) of the penis under the skin. Some men form enough scar tissue that a “lump” or plaque develops on the corpora. Penile injury such as from a hard blow to the penis or stretching of the penis as occurs in the normal process of erection and intercourse can cause PD.
How Do I Know if I Have Peyronie's Disease?
There are several signs and symptoms of PD. Men may have one or more of these.
⦁ Pain: Sometimes PD starts with pain in the penis either all the time or only with an erection.
⦁ Lump or plaque: At some point, all men notice a lump or plaque that they can feel on the shaft of the penis. This can occur anywhere along the length of the penis.
⦁ Deformity: Most men with PD have at least some degree of penile deformity. This can be a bend in the penis with erection, a soft spot in the erection or a constriction along the shaft of the penis with erection.
⦁ Some men notice shortening of the penis especially with erection.
⦁ Erectile dysfunction: Some men with PD also have erection problems such as difficulty getting an erection or keeping an erection long enough to complete intercourse.
What Can I Expect if I Have Peyronie's Disease?
There are 2 phases of Peyronie’s disease that we called the “acute” phase and the “chronic” phase. The acute phase is the start of PD during which men may Evexperience pain and first notice a plaque. The acute phase usually lasts a few months but can last up to 18 months. Men start to notice penile deformity during the acute phase.
During the chronic phase, the pain usually goes away and the plaque usually stops growing. Whatever deformity developed during the acute phase generally does not get worse during the chronic phase.
Several things can happen to men with PD:
⦁ The bend or deformity in the penis can become severe enough during the acute phase that men are unable to have intercourse.
⦁ On the other hand, the bend or deformity may turn out to be mild and not cause any problems.
⦁ Occasionally, PD runs its course and goes away on its own.
⦁ Even though the bend or deformity is mild, erectile dysfunction can get worse.
How is Peyronie's Disease Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution for PD which works every time. There are, however, several options with a proven track record.
⦁ Men with a mild bend or deformity after the acute phase may not need any treatment at all.
⦁ For men with erectile dysfunction in addition to PD, the options discussed elsewhere on this website are often effective.
⦁ Unfortunately, there are no pills that have proven to be effective for PD. Even so, medicines like vitamin E or pentoxifylline are still occasionally recommended.
⦁ There are 2 medications (verapamil and collagenase) which are injected directly into the plaque to soften it and reduce the curvature.
⦁ There are surgical procedures to release or remove the plaque or put in a penile implant.
There are a few things that we know for sure do NOT work.
⦁ X-ray treatment
⦁ Shockwave treatment
⦁ Electrical stimulation or so–called electromotive therapy
The bottom line is, if you think you have Peyronie’s disease, get it checked out early so that you know what is going on and can consider the options for your particular situation.
We hope that you now know a little more about Peyronie’s disease. Call Gallatin Urology (406-551-2306) for an appointment if you would like more information or if you are having problems with Peyronie’s disease. You may also want to visit the Association of Peyronie’s Disease Advocates web site at www.peyroniesassociation.org.