Peyronie’s Disease is diagnosed in about 6% of men between age 40 and 70. While more uncommon in younger men, men in their 30s have also been found to have the condition. (1)
Peyronie’s Disease occurs when flat scar tissue forms under the skin of the penis, and causes curvature or indentions during an erection. The scar tissue, known as plaque, can be painful and can sometimes be felt under the skin. (1)
It is suspected that Peyronie’s Disease results from minor injuries to the penis, like those that can occur from vigorous sexual activity or from sporting events. When disorganized scar tissue forms in the penile cells it can cause the plaque associated with Peyronie’s Disease. (1,2) However, for many patients, no specific injury to the penis is remembered. (2)
It is also believed that there is a genetic component involved in developing Peyronie’s Disease. Connective tissue disorders, or family members who have had Peyronie’s Disease increases one’s likelihood of developing it. Other factors (like tobacco use and high blood sugar) that can inhibit wound healing can contribute to the development of Peyronie’s Disease. (1)
The signs and symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease vary based on where the scar tissue is located.
General signs to look for include:
- Curved or bent penis
- Lumps in the penis
- Soft erections
- Painful erections
Peyronie’s Disease is typically broken up into two categories. Acute and chronic. Acute Peyronie’s Disease lasts from 6 – 18 months and occurs when the plaque is forming and symptoms are first appearing. After that point, the disease becomes chronic. The plaque does not continue to grow, the condition doesn’t continue to worsen, and pain might even diminish. (1)
Your general practitioner may refer you to a urologist. With your urologist, you’ll discuss symptoms, medical history, injury history, medications, and family history. (2) Then, your urologist will conduct a physical exam, which can usually locate any plaque in the penis. In some cases, the doctor may inject medicine to stiffen the penis to examine the resulting curvature. In addition, an ultrasound is sometimes used to get a picture of where the plaque is located, check for blood flow, and identify any calcium build up. (1)
In about 13% of cases, Peyronie’s Disease goes away on its own without treatment, and often surgical treatment is avoided for the first year after diagnosis for this reason. (1) In other cases where there is no pain and Peyronie’s Disease isn’t negatively impacting one’s sex life, treatment may not be required at all.
In the event that a case of Peyronie’s Disease does require treatment, there are a variety of approaches available. Your doctor may recommend certain supplements, oral medications, or injectable medications. In extreme situations, surgery may be an option.
There are several non-surgical and surgical treatment options that your doctor can pursue with you. If you have any of the symptoms above, or other unknown urological symptoms – make an appointment with Virginia Urology today to regain control over your urological health!