Peyronie’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Penile Curvature

A straight and curved banana on blue background, resembling Peyronie's disease.

Penile curvature (also known as Peyronie’s disease) is a condition in which the penis bends abnormally during an erection.

Causes

Peyronie’s disease is characterized by fibrous scar tissue formed in the penis. It is not always clear what causes this fibrous tissue but it can happen spontaneously. It may also be caused by a penis injury, even if it happened many years ago.

This condition can be caused by an injury while having sex (fractured penis). Men are also more likely to develop a curvature in the penis following prostate cancer surgery and/or radiation treatment.

Peyronie’s disease is a rare condition. It is most common in men aged 40-60.

A curvature of penis can develop alongside a condition called Dupuytren contracture.(1) This is a disorder where a cord-like thickening of the palm occurs in either or both hands.

This condition is fairly common in Caucasian men aged 50 and up. That said, only a small percentage of those with Dupuytren contracture develop a curvature in the penis.

There have been no other risk factors associated with Peyronie’s. However, it is thought to be inheritable, as it has a specific immune cell marker.

Additionally, a curvature in the penis may be present in newborns. This could be a sign of chordee, an abnormality that is not related to Peyronie’s.

Signs of Peyronie’s Disease

Either you or your doctor may observe an unusual hardening in the tissue beneath the skin along one side of the shaft of your penis. It will likely feel like a hard bump.

Additionally, you may notice the following during an erection:

  • A bending of the penis, most commonly located at the site of the hardening or scar tissue.
  • A softening in the area of the penis beyond the location of the scar tissue.
  • A narrowing of the penis. 
  • Pain or discomfort in the area.
  • Pain or discomfort during sex.
  • The penis appears shorter. 

Diagnosis  

A physical exam can help determine curvature of your penis. You should be able to feel the hard plaque formation with or without an erection.

Your health care provider might give you an injection to induce an erection. You could also send pictures of your erect penis to your provider to evaluate.

An ultrasound might reveal scar tissue in your penis, although this test is not required.(2)

Treatment For Peyronie’s

You may not initially require treatment. You could notice improvement over time, but your symptoms may also get worse.

Some common treatments include:

  • Injecting corticosteroid into the fibrous tissue.
  • Potaba, an oral medication.
  • Radiation treatment.(3)
  • Extracorporeal shock wave treatment (lithotripsy).(4)
  • Verapamil (a high blood pressure medication)
  • Vitamin E.
  • Xiaflex (collagenase clostridium himtolyticum), a new type of injection for treating penile curvature.(5)

Not all treatments work, however. Others may cause additional scarring.

Surgery may be an option if medicine and lithotripsy fail to help, especially if you cannot have intercourse due to the curve of your penis. Be aware that some types of surgery can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction.

The only treatment that is scientifically proven safe and effective for treating Peyronie’s disease is use of a penile traction device, or penis extender. These medical-grade devices not only straighten and correct penile curvature, they also proven to increase the length of the penis.

See Also: The Top 6 Best Penis Extenders of 2021

When should you contact a medical professional?

Peyronie’s disease can worsen over time, making sex difficult. It can also possibly lead to impotence.

If you have any of the following signs, schedule an appointment with your doctor:

  • Symptoms of curvature in the penis.
  • Experiencing pain when achieving an erection.
  • A sharp pain in your penis during sex, which is followed by swelling and/or bruising.

References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001233.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124582/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6200896/
  4. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ipg29
  5. https://peyronies-disease.xiaflex.com/patient/

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