Peyronie’s disease is a medical condition that typically affects older men (40 to 70 years old) and can cause pain, discomfort, and erectile dysfunction. The psychological effects, though, can be significant. An estimated 1 in 100 men have a Peyronie’s disease diagnosis. However, a number of studies on the condition indicate that the number of men who have the disease is closer to 1 in 10.
What is Peyronie’s Disease?
Peyronie’s disease occurs when plaque, scar tissue, forms in the tunica albuginea, an elastic, thick membrane that allows the penis to become erect and remain stiff during an erection. This causes the penis to curve or bend, typically during an erection. As the plaque builds the curvature becomes more pronounced. The result is often painful erections and it can make intercourse very difficult. In some cases, intercourse is impossible.
The condition is caused by injury to the penis, often minor. The most common cause of injury is vigorous intercourse, although sports injuries or other accidents that impact the penis can also cause the scar tissue to develop.
There are two phases of Peyronie’s disease, the acute phase and the chronic phase. During the acute phase the penis begins to curve and may hurt even when not erect. As scars develop, erections often become painful. The chronic phase begins around 12 to 18 months after the initial onset of symptoms. At this stage, the curvature may stop getting worse and the pain can lessen. However, erectile dysfunction can develop or worsen.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
The https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peyronies-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353468 may develop gradually over time or the onset may be sudden. The most common symptoms and signs include:
- Pain in the penis with or without an erection
- Significant or sharp bend in the penis that may curve downward, upward, or to one side.
- Hourglass appearance of the penis (narrowing of the shaft)
- Penile shortening
- Scar tissue that can be felt beneath the penile skin
- Erectile dysfunction
Emotional Effects of Peyronie’s Disease
The emotional effects of this disease can be significant. The patient may not be able to engage in sexual intercourse which can lead to problems in their relationship with their significant other as well as the inability to father a child. One study found that 81% of men with the condition experienced clinical depression and other emotions problems. Additionally, 54% experienced relationship problems stemming from the disease. The primary cause tends to be due to the erectile dysfunction that is often a direct result of the condition.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A patient suspected of having Peyronie’s disease is typically referred to a urologist who will review the patient’s medical history and family history. Most of the time imaging tests are not necessary in diagnosis; a physical exam is usually sufficient. However, imaging tests may be utilized in order to better examine the plaque.
The patient’s risk factors for the disease are also considered. They include:
- Micro injuries to the penis caused by vigorous sexual activity
- Micro injuries to the penis caused by other, nonsexual activity
- Older men over the age of 40
- History of prostate cancer treatment and surgery
- Family history of Peyronie’s disease
- Certain autoimmune disorders
- Diabetes with erectile dysfunction
- Certain connective tissue disorders
Injections, oral medications, and surgery are common treatments for Peyronie’s disease. One non-invasive, drug free treatment is acoustic wave therapy which helps to treat the erectile dysfunction and allows the patient to regain his ability to function sexually. It is an effective, pain free treatment that has helped thousands of men overcome erectile dysfunction and all the physical and emotional effects that accompany it.
If you are struggling with erectile dysfunction from Peyronie’s disease you owe it to yourself to get help. At ARC Men’s Health we understand what you’re going through. Every day we help men with ED to break free from the condition. Contact us today and let us help you too.