Peyronie’s disease (pronounced pa-ro-NEEZ) disease is also known as induratio penis plastica or chronic inflammation of the tunica albuginea (CITA). Peyronie’s disease is commonly referred to as a ‘bent penis’ or simply ‘penis curve’ and is an abnormal curvature of the penis. It may also result in an indentation of the penis shaft, where the fibrous plaque is located.
Although many men have a slight natural curve to their penis, with true Peyronie’s disease the curvature is predominant when erect and is most often accompanied by pain.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Peyronie’s disease. What is Peyronie’s disease? Learn what are the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease? What are the risk factors of Peyronie’s disease? How do I treat Peyronie’s disease? And, much more!
Written by Kimberly Wylie
- Penis Curve – Peyronie’s disease is a predominant penis curvature or an indentation in the penis shaft.
- Plaque – A plaque build-up, or scar tissue, forms inside the tunica albuginea, causing the penis to bend around it when erect.
- Painful – Peyronie’s disease is often painful and can lead to erection difficulties.
- Treatable – There are several methods of treatment for Peyronie’s disease, including: penis extenders, Xiaflex, and manual exercises.
WHAT IS PEYRONIE’S DISEASE?
According to the National Institute of Health, Peyronie’s disease is characterized by the formation of plaque within the penis. This plaque is actually a flat plate of scar tissue and typically develops on the top or bottom of the penis, inside the tunic albuginea. The tunica albuginea envelopes the erectile tissues, and although the plaque begins as localized inflammation, fibrous scar tissue begins to form and harden. This may happen gradually over time, or it may occur literally overnight. The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is currently unknown; however, there are risk factors we discuss below.
Although Peyronie’s disease is typically thought of as a curved or bent penis, it can also present itself as an indentation in the penis shaft or divots along the shaft, where the plaque has formed. The indentation can also result in an hourglass-shaped look to the shaft, due to the narrowing at the area of indentation.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PEYRONIE’S DISEASE?
As mentioned, many men have a natural, slight curve to their penis that is absolutely nothing to worry about. However, for the approximately 3 to 9 percent of men with Peyronie’s disease, following are symptoms that may be experienced:
- Presence of Plaque – The formation of plaque is always present in Peyronie’s disease. This may even be felt as a hard ridge or spot when you run your fingers over the shaft of the penis.
- Penis Curvature – Oftentimes a significant penis curvature, either upward, downward or to either side, is present in Peyronie’s disease.
- Penis Indentation – Indentation in the shaft of the penis may also be a symptom, where the plaque is located. This can result in an hourglass shape to the shaft or a dimpling.
- Pain – Pain is often associated with the disease, especially when the penis is erect and the tissues expand, stressing the area where the plaque is located. Pain during sexual intercourse is also a common symptom.
- Penis Shortening – The penis may actually become shorter due to Peyronie’s disease.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Some men are unable to get or maintain an erection due to their Peyronie’s disease, especially when associated with pain.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF PEYRONIE’S DISEASE?
The condition is fairly uncommon and typically affects men 40 years old and older, although men in their late teens have been sufferers. Here are some risk factors.
- Blood Type – Men with blood type A+ are more likely to develop Peyronie’s disease than any other blood type.
- Penis Fracture – Injury during intercourse can sometimes lead to Peyronie’s disease.
- Prostate Cancer Surgery or Radiation Treatment – The NIH has found that men who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer have a higher incidence of developing Peyronie’s disease.
- Duputren’s Contracture – This is a cord-like thickening found across the palm of either one or both hands in men. Fairly common in white males over the age of 50, a small percentage of these men also develop Peyronie’s disease.
- Genetics – A certain type of immune cell marker has been found in men with Peyronie’s disease that may indicate there is a genetic predisposition to the disease.
HOW DO I TREAT PEYRONIE’S DISEASE?
The first step in treatment of any disease is to have it confirmed by a physician. Your general practitioner can typically diagnose Peyronie’s, but he may refer you to a urologist or have an ultrasound performed to confirm the diagnosis. Once you have been diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options available.
Natural Treatments for Peyronie’s Disease
Traction-based extenders are one of the best, non-pharmaceutical treatment methods for Peyronie’s disease. Known as penile traction therapy, these devices have been supported by numerous studies, as noted by the National Institute of Health. This nonsurgical and non-pharmaceutical method of treatment generates progressive mechanical traction, to correct the curvature and lengthen the penis.
Penis extenders typically consist of a plastic support ring, a silicone band, and two dynamic rods. The penis is held in the cradle of the extender and subjected to gentle and progressive traction, as extensions are made to the rods, over the course of weeks. There are several high-quality penis extenders you can use for treatment of Peyronie’s disease. These include:
- Phallosan – The Phallosan is a patented vacuum-protector-system, unlike any other extender on the market today, offering superior comfort and superior results.
- Euro Extender – Euro Extender is a complete extender system.
- Male Edge Penis Extender – The Male Edge penis extender is both a comfortable and affordable extender option.
- PeniMaster – The PeniMaster features the most technologically advanced fastening aperture on the market.
- Penis Pal – The Penis Pal is a budget-friend extender option.
- X4 Labs Penis Extender – The X4 Labs extender features a hybrid support system for unparalleled comfort.
Pharmaceutical Treatment Options for Peyronie’s Disease
There are several pharmaceutical treatment options for Peyronie’s disease. However, there is only one that has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for this disease – Xiaflex.
- Xiaflex – Xiaflex is a drug originally approved for use for Duputren’s contracture. It is made from the protein of collagenease clostridial histolyticum. Treatment involves injecting Xiaflex into the plaques and penis massage, to break up the collagens. You can read more about this newly approved treatment option in our article, FDA Approves the 1st Drug Treatment for Peyronie’s Disease.
Other pharmaceutical treatment options have not been approved by the FDA, but have been used by physicians. These include:
- Corticosteroid – Corticosteroid injections may be made into the fibrous scar tissue.
- Potaba – This is an oral prescription medication sometimes prescribed to help break up the plaque.
- Verapamil – Verapamil injections may be made into the fibrous scar tissue.
- Radiation Therapy and Shock Wave Lithotripsy – These are less invasive treatment options, again, used in hopes of breaking up the plaque causing the disease.
Regretfully, many times these treatment methods are unsuccessful. As a result, for men who are unable to have sex due to their Peyronie’s disease, surgery is often considered. Risk factors with surgery include impotence and may require a penile implant after surgery.
Surgical Treatment of Peyronie’s Disease
The most invasive treatment option for Peyronie’s disease is surgery. It is typically only considered when penetrative sex is not possible, due to curvature. There are 3 types of surgery commonly used for this more extreme treatment method.
- Nesbit’s Operation – In a Nesbit’s operation, the surgeon exposes the corpora cavernosa with the attached plaque. He makes an incision around the head of the penis. The surgeon pulls back the skin. Saline solution artificially creates an erection. The surgeon makes ‘tucks’ in the tissue opposite the curvature. These pull the penis straight.
- Lue Operation – As with a Nesbit operation, the surgeon pulls the skin back from the shaft, by an incision around the head of the penis. He artificially creates an erection. The surgeon makes tucks. However, in addition, a separate incision is made in front of the patient’s ankle bone, to retrieve a vein to be grafted to the area.
- Plaque Excision with Polytetrafluoroethylene Patch – During this surgery, the surgeon removes the plaque from the penis. He grafts a polytetrafluoroethylene (the same material as Teflon) patch is onto the Corpora cavernosa to force straightening. You’d literally be able to say that you have a Teflon penis.
In all three surgeries there is the chance of loss of sensation in the penis and erectile dysfunction.
Per a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, Nesbit’s operation is not recommended for men whose penis is less than 13 cm in length, or who have a curve greater than 60 degrees, due to the primary side effect of penis shortening.
Peyronie’s disease is a painful and serious disease. It can result in difficulties during sex and even complete erectile dysfunction. Caused by a plaque that has developed inside the tunica albuginea, it can result in a bend in the penis or indentation. Treatment options are varied, from surgery to injections. However, the most conservative, and often effective, treatment involves the use of extenders to breakdown the scar tissue of the plaque and straighten the penis.
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