Men are often reluctant to discuss their sexual health out of embarrassment, fear of judgement, or simply because they don’t understand what’s happening. Ignoring these issues, however, can have long-term consequences. Which is why it is understandable that experts believe that roughly 9 percent of men suffer from some form of Peyronie’s disease.
Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Peyronie’s disease is characterized by a fibrous scar tissue that forms beneath the surface of the penis that can alter its appearance and function. If left untreated, this scar tissue, which can be mild or acute, can make it problematic for otherwise healthy men to have normal erections by creating a painful curvature of the penis which can make having sex difficult or impossible. Although the symptoms can sometimes relieve themselves, often a male who is given this diagnosis should speak with their doctor to determine what options may be available to him to have it treated.
Although penises, like fingerprints, are all different and can even have a natural curve to them, men who experience pain when erect or during sex should speak to their doctor about the possibility that these problems stem from Peyronie’s disease.
Signs & Symptoms
The symptoms that men with Peyronie’s disease may notice can develop quickly or slowly over time. Regardless of the speed at which Peyronie’s disease symptoms develop, the most common include:
Scar Tissue Build-Up: A man may notice hard lumps or bands of tissue under the skin of his penis.
Significant Penis Bend: A major symptom of Peyronie’s is penile curvature in any direction, defined by an unnatural and severe curve or bend, with or without an erection.
Misshapen Penis: Occasionally, this disease can cause portions of the erect penis to narrow, often resembling an hourglass in shape.
Penis Shortening: Some men note that the length of their penis is reduced when Peyronie’s is present.
Penis Pain: Peyronie’s can cause a man to experience penile pain whether he has an erection or not.
Erectile Dysfunction: Otherwise healthy men with Peyronie’s may experience problems getting or maintaining an erection.
Peyronie's disease Cause
Unfortunately, the exact Peyronie’s disease cause is still unknown , however, it frequently accompanies physical trauma. When a normal penis becomes aroused, blood rushes in and fills its chambers causing it to become erect. The elastic tissue alongside these chambers acts as a protective sheath and allows for a full erection. When the sheath becomes damaged due to trauma, hard scar tissue called plaque – essentially a buildup of collagen – forms and causes inelasticity. Without the required flexibility, the penis creates a curvature, or bend. Generally, Peyronie’s disease causes are brought about by things like:
If a man hits his penis very hard, or bends it because of an accident, it can cause an acute injury. Likewise, vigorous sexual activity, and bending of the penis during penetration, or by his partner’s pubic bone, are also common causes. He may or may not realize he’s hurt himself immediately as the pain can diminish quickly.
Some experts believe that autoimmune diseases that affect connective tissues may lead to Peyronie’s disease. If the immune system attacks cells inside the penis, it can lead to inflammation, scarring, and severe curvature.
Chronic & Repeated Injury
Certain athletic activities, such as bicycling or horseback riding for long periods, can cause repeated injury to a man’s penis. Since they involve a great deal of sitting, pressure, and jolts to the groin area, that can cause Peyronie’s to develop over time. As with any acute injury, the man may not realize the damage until symptoms appear.
Men who have close relatives with Peyronie’s disease may also be at risk for developing it themselves. Although an uncomfortable topic to bring up, understanding your family’s health and history can help both you and your doctor manage the disease more easily.
In recent years, a growing trend regarding Peyronie’s has been noted for those suffering from prostate cancer. Many urologists now suspect that, at least in some men who have undergone radical prostatectomy, there is reason to believe that complications from this type of surgery can induce Peyronie’s as the patient recovers from the procedure.
Sexual performance naturally declines as a man ages with changes in hormonal levels and elasticity of penile tissue. The inclination towards Peyronie’s also increases, affecting men who are over the age of 55, more often than their younger counterparts. If he smokes, consumes alcohol, ingests certain drugs, has had prostate surgery, or other health issues are present, a man’s risk is even greater as he ages.