One of the most embarrassing topics for a man to speak about is Peyronie’s disease or curvature of the penis. It happens when tissue in the penis hardens and scar tissue (plaque) forms in the lining of the penis, causing a bend upward or to the side.
The size and shape of a penis varies from man to man and it may naturally include a curve. But when the curvature is due to Peyronie’s disease, it causes a painful, very noticeable bend that can make intercourse difficult. Because it can cause pain when erect or difficulty achieving an erection, Peyronie’s disease is often a source of distress and embarrassment.
Peyronie’s disease is thought to be the result of repeated injury to the penis, after which the formation of scar tissue, usually in a disorganized manner, gives the penis the telltale bend associated with the condition.
In rare cases, Peyronie’s disease will go away on its own but it’s much more typical that the condition worsens and treatment by a urologist becomes necessary to correct the condition. The goal of treatment for Peyronie’s disease is to alleviate a patient’s pain and restore the shape of the penis so that intercourse without pain is possible.
There are many methods of treatment, and the first tried by patients usually consists of a regimen of medication aimed at decreasing the curvature by breaking down scar tissue causing the curve. There are oral medications that can relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, as well as injections directly applied to the area of the penis where scar tissue has built up to dissolve plaque. Topical medications may also be used.
In addition to the use of medication, there are various other nonsurgical therapies that are used to treat Peyronie’s disease such as:
- High-intensity ultrasound directed at the plaque to try to break it up
- Radiation therapy using high-energy rays like X-rays to try to break up the formation of plaque under the skin
- Low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy (Li-ESWT), which uses sound waves to try to break up scar tissue in the penis
- Penile traction therapy involves the gradual expansion of scar tissue with the use of a special device
There are also a variety of surgical techniques widely used to treat Peyronie’s disease, including:
- Grafting is when your urologist cuts the plaque out and attaches a patch of tissue made from one of a variety of materials to restore normal functionality, without shortening the penis. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can some occur after this procedure.
- Plication is the process whereby a urologist removes tissue from the side opposite the scar tissue in an attempt to straighten the penis. This procedure can result in a slight reduction in the length or circumference of the penis.
- Prosthetic implants can help straighten the penis, and it can help it become firm enough for intercourse in cases where Peyronie’s disease is accompanied by ED.
If you or someone you know suffers from Peyronie’s disease, there are an abundance of treatment methods available. If you live in the Phoenix area, contact Ironwood Urology by calling (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment now and place your urological health in the best-qualified hands in the field.