What is Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a condition that involves the formation of fibrous scar tissue. When penile fibrosis occurs on the surface of the penis, it ends up causing a loss of elasticity of the penis and, as a consequence, Peyronie's disease.
Although it is more common in men from the age of 50, it can appear at any age, causing pain and making sexual intercourse impossible in many cases. There are three stages that can be distinguished in the course of the disease:
- Acute stage: it is the first to appear, which is characterised by a strong inflammation that causes intense pain and a palpable nodule, as well as a tendency of the penis to curve during an erection.
- Subacute stage: inflammation is less intense, but scarring intensifies and this can manifest itself as a noticeable curve of the penis.
- Chronic stage: curvature of the penis can become chronic.
When scars develop on the tissues of the penis, it causes pain and discomfort, as well as curvature or deformation, which can make sexual intercourse impossible or cause erectile dysfunction. It is not life-threatening or a medical emergency, but it can significantly affect the patient's quality of life and the patient’s ability to father a child due to the difficulty of having intercourse.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease:
The main symptoms of Peyronie’s are:
- Pain either without or during an erection
- Curvature or deformation in the penis
- Loss of elasticity and rigidity
- Fibrous tissue on the penis
- Erectile dysfunction
How is Peyronie’s diagnosed?
To diagnose Peyronie’s disease, a physical examination will first be performed, checking for scar tissue, inflammation, curvature and the length of the penis. Once an examination has been done and a full medical history is taken, an ultrasound may also be carried out to check the nature of the scar tissue and the blood flow to the penis.
What causes Peyronie’s disease?
The exact cause of this disease is unknown, but it is thought that repeated injury to the penis can be a significant factor in the formation of this disease. Injury could occur from sex, accidents or sports activities. However, many who suffer from this condition do not recall specific injuries at all to their penis. There are certain risk factors associated with Peyronie’s, including:
- Genetic factors: if a male family member has this condition, there is an increased chance of developing it as well.
- Age: it is more common in men over the age of 50.
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease:
If symptoms become problematic (e.g. pain and erectile problems), medication or surgery might be recommended. Medications may aim to reduce the amount of collagen produced, reducing the scar tissue formation and curvature of the penis. Surgery may involve straightening the penis, removing the fibrous scar tissue, or using penile implants to replace the tissue that fills with blood during an erection.
What specialist treats Peyronie’s?
Urologists would treat Peyronie’s disease.