Peyronie’s disease is a penis problem caused by scar tissue (plaque) forming inside the penis. The plaque often builds up inside the tissues of the thick, elastic membrane called the tunica albuginea. The most common area for the plaque to form is at the top or bottom of the penis and as the plaque builds up, the penis curves or bends. This disease is named after the French surgeon François Gigot de la Peyronie who described it in 1743.
Although medical experts do not know the exact cause of the disease, many believe it occurs as a result of penis injury inside the tissues. Another possible cause may be a chronic or recurring injury to the penis. Also, if one suffers from an autoimmune disease their immune system is unable to protect them from infections and may, therefore, be susceptible to many diseases including Peyronie’s disease.
Symptoms of the disease range from mild to severe and can develop gradually or abruptly. It is hard to detect the problem when the penis is soft (flaccid), thus one tends to notice it during an erection. Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:
Hard lumps on one or more sides of the penis.
Pain during sexual intercourse or during an erection.
A curve in the penis either with or without an erection.
Narrowing or shortening of the penis.
A doctor will carry out a physical examination to detect symptoms of deformity or painful erections before diagnosing one with the disease.
Chances of getting the disease increase if you have medical history in the family. Sometimes the doctor may ask you to undergo a duplex ultrasound, which shows the blood circulation in the penis in order to establish if you suffer from the condition.
Risk factors and treatment:
Some of the known risk factors include:
Vigorous sexual or nonsexual activities that cause microscopic injury to the penis.
Certain connective tissue and autoimmune disorders such as dupuytren’s condition.
A family history of the disease.
The chances of developing Peyronie’s disease increase with age. Researchers estimate that it affects one to 23 percent of men between 40 and 70 years of age. However, the actual occurrence may be higher because many men are embarrassed of the condition and therefore don’t report to health care providers.
If you think you have Peyronie’s disease, the first step is to visit your primary health care provider.
A physical exam will be conducted to help the doctor determine if you have the condition. This exam may involve taking an initial measurement of your penis.
There are many non-surgical treatments available for the condition but not all of them work well. One of the treatments used is wearing a device that stretches the penis such as a penis traction device.
You may also be prescribed a penis vacuum procedure. These treatments may improve the length of the penis and lessen the deformity. Your doctor will advise you on where to buy these gadgets and how to use them.
Additionally, you may be prescribed oral medication or creams to be applied to the penis, or an injection into the scar tissue to soften it. In some cases, surgery may be recommended, but as a last result.
This is not without risks as can result in further shortening of the penis and chances of the distortion recurring. If your foreskin is already tight, you may need to undergo circumcision to prevent it from becoming tighter after the surgery.