The Signs, Causes, and Treatment for Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s Disease is a somewhat uncommon condition in men that is caused by scar tissue, referred to as plaque. This fibrous tissue forms inside of the penis and results in unusual symptoms that can be concerning. Not only does Peyronie’s Disease cause discomfort, but penile deformity as well.
Signs of Peyronie’s Disease may develop slowly or appear overnight. While the disease is generally more common in middle-aged men, both younger and older patients can also develop symptoms.
If your partner is showing symptoms of Peyronie’s, encourage them to visit a Urology Specialist to treat this condition. This blog will breakdown the signs of Peyronie’s Disease, highlight the different causes of it, and provide next steps men can take in order to relieve symptoms.
Related: How to Support Your Partner Through a Vasectomy
Signs of Peyronie’s Disease
1. Penile deformity
Penile deformity is the main indicator of Peyronie’s disease. Since the plaque is made up of scar tissue, it’s not able to stretch as normal or healthy tissue would. This results in changes in the shape of the penis, or penile deformity.
Some changes can be drastic, causing irregular curves or bending of the penis where the plaque is located. The most common change seen with Peyronie’s is an upward curve of the penis. Alternatively, downward or sideways curvature is also possible. Even more so, men with multiple plaques may have curvature in more than one direction.
2. Scar tissue under the skin
Scar tissue is another obvious symptom that can be self-diagnosed. The plaque associated with Peyronie’s Disease can be felt underneath the skin of the penis. Peyronie’s scar tissue will feel similar to flat lumps or a band of hard tissue.
Also know that the tissue can change over time — feeling soft to the touch at first, then becoming firmer as it develops. Additionally, the plaque can occur anywhere along the shaft of the entire penis.
3. Penile pain
Your partner might experience penile pain, which for many, is another noticeable symptom during the beginning stages of Peyronie’s Disease.
Although the pain usually occurs during an erection, it can also happen when the penis is flaccid. Penile pain is due to inflammation in the area where the plaque is forming.
Pain that specifically occurs during an erection is caused by pressure against the plaque as the penile tissues expand. Fortunately for most men, proper treatment can get rid of this pain and discomfort fairly quickly.
4. Shortening and narrowing
As a result of Peyronie’s Disease, the penis can become shorter or more narrow.
Shortening may occur with or without curvature if the plaque is located deeper within the penis. It also may be noticeable with or without an erection.
In some cases, an erect penis might have a narrowing effect, or even indentations that create an hourglass appearance caused by a tight and narrow band around the shaft. Narrowing is often due to plaque present on opposite sides of the penis that force the shape inward.
5. Erectile Dysfunction
Peyronie’s disease can cause problems getting (or maintaining) an erection for a number of reasons.
Psychologically, men with Peyronie’s disease often feel depressed about their situation and anxious about sexual activity, which can result in erectile dysfunction. Physically, penile curvature and other deformities can make sexual intercourse difficult and painful.
How to Treat Signs of Peyronie’s Disease
It’s not impossible for men with Peyronie’s Disease to notice symptoms getting better on their own without any treatment. However, this doesn’t always happen, so it’s best to discuss treatment options with a doctor in order to treat this condition correctly and prevent Peyronie’s Disease from worsening.
Medication and Physical Therapy
Peyronie’s disease can be painful for many men and create uncomfortable sexual experiences for them and their partner. Pain management, whether through physical therapy or medication, may be helpful. A doctor can prescribe Xiaflex, a prescription medication for adult men who are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of Peyronie’s that are not resolving on their own.
If Peyronie’s Disease persists over time or the symptoms worsen, surgery may be recommended.
Different surgical treatment options include grafting and implants. Grafting removes a portion of the scar tissue and replaces it with other healthy tissues from another part of the body. Penile implants might also be an option. This is where the spongy tissue in the corpora cavernosa is placed to achieve normal erection function. Be aware that these options could potentially increase the chances for erectile dysfunction, so surgery should be considered a last resort if nothing else is working for your partner.
Fortunately, there are several treatments available for this condition, and some of them may be used in combination with others. It’s important to know that if signs of Peyronie’s Disease are present, your partner is not alone and there are treatments available. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss options.
A Guide to Men’s Health
Men don’t always consider their health to be a top priority. Unfortunately, this can lead to all sorts of urological system complications, including Peyronie’s Disease.
To encourage men to focus on their health, we’ve created a resource to teach them how to age gracefully. Our Man-to-Man Guide on Healthy Aging breaks down what men should be doing through each stage of life to ensure their urological health is in check. While self-checks and doctors visits may not be fun, they are necessary. Download a free copy of the guide and share it with someone you care about.