Peyronie‘s disease is characterized by the formation of a rigid, fibrous plaque under the skin of the penis, potentially altering the shape and firmness of an erection. This condition can have physical and psychological effects and lead to complications including painful erections and impotency. Peyronie‘s disease may occur at any age, but most frequently in men over the age of 40. Although uncommon, it is possible for younger men to develop the disease.
Cause of Peyronie‘s Disease
The origin of Peyronie‘s disease is not fully understood, but it may be a result of:
- Trauma or Injury: It is commonly believed that trauma or injury to the penis, such as during sexual activity or vigorous masturbation, can trigger Peyronie's disease. The injury may cause bleeding and inflammation, leading to the formation of scar tissue during the healing process.
- Genetics: There is evidence to suggest that genetic factors may play a role in Peyronie's disease. Some individuals may have an inherited predisposition to develop abnormal scar tissue in response to injury or inflammation.
- Connective Tissue Disorders: Peyronie's disease has been associated with certain connective tissue disorders, such as Dupuytren's contracture, which causes the fingers to bend abnormally. This suggests that abnormalities in collagen production or metabolism may contribute to the development of Peyronie's disease.
- Autoimmune Response: Some researchers believe that Peyronie's disease may result from an autoimmune response, where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the penis, leading to the formation of scar tissue.
- Other Health Conditions: Peyronie's disease has been associated with certain health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain inflammatory conditions. These conditions may affect blood flow, tissue health, or the body's healing processes, increasing the risk of developing Peyronie's disease.
It's important to note that while the exact cause of Peyronie's disease remains unclear, it is likely a combination of factors rather than a single cause.
Symptoms of Peyronie‘s Disease
The predominant symptom of Peyronie‘s disease is the hard scar tissue that forms on the penile shaft. This can sometimes cause the penis to curve while erect. It is also possible for the disease to display itself as divots or clefts in the skin of the penis. Other symptoms may include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Painful erections
- Penile curvature or irregularity of shape
- Weakness or buckling during intercourse
It is important to note that while these hardened lesions may be unsightly growths or indentations, they are not cancerous.
Diagnosis of Peyronie‘s Disease
Peyronie‘s disease is usually diagnosed during a physical examination by a doctor. The hard plaque can usually be felt with or without an erection. The following tests may also be used to properly diagnose the condition:
The most common test we use to diagnose Peyronie’s Disease is to induce an artificial erection in clinic and perform a penile ultrasound.
Treatment of Peyronie‘s Disease
Treatment for Peyronie‘s disease may vary. In some cases, doctors may have patient‘s monitor their condition before any treatment is recommended. Other types of treatment may include:
- Injectable medications such as verapamil, interferon and Xiaflex.
- Penile traction therapy
In severe cases where other treatment options may not be effective, surgery may be recommended. The most common straightening surgeries used to treat Peyronie‘s disease are plication, plaque removal (plaque is removed from within the penis and is followed by placement of a graft or tissue patch), and prosthetic device insertion (penile prosthetic devices may be inserted to straighten the penis and correct its rigidity) or a combination of these techniques.