More about Peyronie’s disease
Peyronie’s disease is named after a French surgeon who described it in the 18th century. It is caused by the development of collagen plaque, or scar tissue, on the shaft of the penis. The scar tissue, known as a Peyronie’s plaque, is not visible but can cause the penis to curve when erect. The penis can curve in various directions including upward, downward or to the side, depending on the location of the plaque.
Who can get Peyronie’s disease?
What causes Peyronie's disease is still unknown, many different factors have been suggested. One widely believed theory is that ordinary sexual intercourse can cause what is known as "micro-trauma" inside the penis. This "micro-trauma" cannot be felt, or seen, because it causes no pain and leaves no bruising. When this microscopic injury heals, scar tissue in the form of a collagen plaque is deposited in certain susceptible men, and this causes Peyronie's disease to develop.
Peyronie’s disease mostly affects men between 40–60 years of age, although it can occur at any age. It is not likely to go away on its own and may get worse over time. Treatment may not be necessary if the bend caused by PD is stable, and is not severe enough to interfere with that person's usual ability to enjoy sexual activity.
Peyronie’s disease signs and symptoms might appear suddenly or develop gradually. The most common signs and symptoms are penile curvature, scar tissue felt under the skin, erectile problems, shortening of the penis due to the curvature and penile pain. The penile curvature deformity might gradually worsen over time. Peyronie's disease is usually divided into two stages: the acute phase and the chronic phase.
- Acute (active) phase. Starts with an acute inflammatory phase that generally lasts for 6 to 18 months. During this phase, pain may arise during erections. Progression in plaque size and curvature deformity is also common.
- Chronic (stable) phase. In the chronic phase the pain may improve, the plaque size and curvature deformity is stable.
The problem with Peyronie’s disease is not only physical – it also has a major psychological impact. In a study with men with Peyronie's disease, 77 % said that they were affected psychologically. This had to do with worries about erection appearance and performance, decreased self-esteem and relationship difficulties. In another study, almost half of men with Peyronie's disease were classified as being depressed. [4,5]
- NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/875.aspx?CategoryID=61&SubCategoryID=61
- Tran VQ, et al. Adv Urol. 2008;263450;1-4.
- Bekos A, et al. Eur Urol. 2008;53:644-650.
- Nelson CJ, et al. J Sex Med. 2008;5:1985-1990.
- Rosen R et al. J Sex Med. 2008;5:1977-1984.