Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which a man has curved erections. These erections can be painful. They are a result of fibrous scar tissue on the penis. While some curvature of the penis is normal and there is natural variation, Peyronie’s disease can cause a significant bend that leads to pain during an erection.
The condition can be sufficiently severe to prevent some patients from having sexual intercourse. Peyronie’s disease can lead to difficulty getting and maintaining erections, making it a cause of some instances of erectile dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction can cause significant stress and anxiety in patients with Peyronie’s disease.
There is little chance of the condition resolving of its own accord. In many cases, Peyronie’s disease can worsen over time. The most effective results are achieved when treatment is started early after first recognizing the condition. Treatment can often offer relief from some symptoms, even when the condition is chronic.
The symptoms of Peyronie’s disease can occur either suddenly or over gradual development. Common symptoms include:
- Scar tissue, noticeable as lumps or bands of hard tissue
- Significant curvature of the penis, vertically or horizontally
- Erectile dysfunction
- Shortening of the penis
- Penile pain during erection or otherwise
A physician can typically identify the scar tissue inherent to Peyronie’s disease through a physical examination. An examination of the flaccid penis will allow the physician to locate the scar tissue and judge its extent.
An ultrasound of the erect penis can give further information about the condition. The ultrasound provides images of soft tissues that will clearly indicate the presence of scar tissue, blood flow patterns to the penis, and any potential abnormalities. This is typically achieved through a direct injection that stimulates an erection.
In general, few other conditions cause the specific set of symptoms that Peyronie’s disease carries. While erectile dysfunction can have a wide range of causes, a physician can quickly identify scar tissue. It is best to consult a physician as soon as issues arise to start treatment early.
The suggested treatment for Peyronie’s disease will vary depending on how far the condition has progressed. There is chronic pain and changes in the curve or length of the penis during the acute phase. This is the onset of the condition. During the chronic phase, symptoms have stabilized, and there aren’t ongoing changes.
Acute Phase Treatments
One of the most common treatments for the early stages of Peyronie’s disease is penile traction therapy. Done early, it can minimize loss of length and development of curvature. It entails the use of a self-applied mechanical device that stretches the penis. Traction therapy may require wearing the device between half an hour to eight hours per day.
Chronic Phase Treatments
Depending on the degree of curvature, your doctor may suggest observation, injection therapy, or surgical correction. Surgery may involve correcting the curvature or possibly insertion of a penile prosthesis.