Every penis is a different size and shape from all others. However, men with Peyronie's disease have penises with curvature or deformity that can cause pain, make it difficult to get or keep an erection, or have any sexual function at all.
Peyronie's Disease Causes
Peyronie's disease is caused by a buildup of scar tissue in the penis. This scar tissue, also called Peyronie's plaque, can form lumps or cause the penis to curve. How or why this scar tissue forms in some men, but not others, is not yet known.
Alexander Pastuszak, MD, PhD, a urologist specializing in Peyronie's disease at University of Utah Health, is currently doing research at the U looking at genetic causes of Peyronie's disease.
Peyronie's Disease Symptoms
Symptoms of Peyronie's disease may appear slowly and develop over time. Men often experience a slight lump or pain in a particular area early on, and then a curved penis or other deformity, such as narrowing of the penis.
Peyronie's currently affects between 4 to 13% of the male population, and most typically occur in males around 55 years old.
"With many cases we deal with, the men who come in with lumps are worried about having cancer," says Pastuszak. "That's not actually the case."
Although Peyronie's is a benign condition, Pastuszak advises men to seek medical attention. Peyronie's is also linked to other conditions, such as Dupuytren's (contracture of the hand) or Ledderhose (contracture of the bottoms of the feet) diseases.
There is currently no way to prevent Peyronie's disease. Pastuszak says that Peyronie's is usually a predisposition to the way our body heals in reaction to injury.
"Our body is prone to respond in a certain way, and abnormal scar tissue formation is one way," he says.
Peyronie's Disease Treatment
There are three commonly used treatment:
- Peyronie's disease exercises: Penile traction therapy is a nonsurgical treatment method of stretching the penis over hours for a few months, increasing the penis length and reducing deformity.
- Xiaflex injections and Verapmil injections: Enzyme injections can dissolve the plaque formed under the skin.
- Peyronie's disease surgery: Corrective surgery that fixes the curve.
While Peyronie's disease only affects a small portion of the male population, men who have it often have decreased quality of life. This can cause relationship and other problems. However, treatment for Peyronie's is available and can be very effective.