For men with erectile dysfunction, getting an erection is challenging. But for those suffering from Peyronie’s disease, getting an erection is both a challenging and painful ordeal.
Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which the penis bends significantly when erect, causing moderate to severe pain. Although it’s a common global phenomenon, only a few diagnoses are made due to many men keeping their condition under wraps due to shame.
In men with Peyronie’s disease, the penis bends or curves during erections due to developing scar tissues surrounding the erectile region.
Depending on the stage of the disease, Peyronie’s disease can manifest in various ways. Peyronie’s disease occurs in acute and chronic phases, each having a distinct set of symptoms. For this reason, it’s essential to know the difference between the two phases.
Let’s dive more closely into Peyronie’s disease, its two phases, its symptoms, and possible treatment options.
What is Peyronie’s Disease?
Peyronie’s disease (PD) is characterized by a severe curvature in the penile shaft, mainly during erections. These erections tend to cause great pain and lack rigidity.
Peyronie’s disease is often associated with erectile dysfunction (ED). Pain resulting from an erection inhibits the ability to engage in sexual penetration. Another basis of this condition is the inability to have rigid erections, mainly due to blood flow disruption.
Men with Peyronie’s disease have plaques, which are segments of flat scar tissue under the skin of the penis. These plaques cause the penis to bend or curve during erections. This is what makes the erection painful for those with Peyronie’s disease.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease’s main characteristic is the curvature of the penis during an erection. The curvature direction depends on the scar location and can be upwards, downwards, or to the sides.
The penis bends upward when the scar tissue is on top of the penis. Downwards when the scar tissue is on the bottom.
The penis shortens when there is scar tissue in both of these locations. Additionally, the penis maintains an hourglass shape that narrows where the scar tissue ring is located.
Most men do not have perfectly straight penises. However, the curvature is not abnormal in these cases. When the curvature acutely occurs and causes great pain, it’s a big sign of Peyronie’s disease.
Other symptoms of Peyronie’s disease are the following:
- Hard lumps on the penis
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Changes in the shape of the penis
- Erectile dysfunction
As Peyronie’s disease develops, the symptoms may develop slowly or appear abruptly, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Let’s differentiate these phases of Peyronie’s disease.
Acute & Chronic: The Two Phases of Peyronie’s Disease
There are two stages of Peyronie’s disease: the acute phase and the chronic phase.
In the acute phase, the scar tends to progress and worsen under the skin of the penis, causing penile curvature over time. It may also change the shape of the penis.
The acute phase can last from 6 to 12 months and is recognized as the first phase of any Peyronie’s disease diagnosis.
The penis tends to be painful when erect or flaccid in this phase.
In the chronic phase of Peyronie’s disease, the scarring won’t get any worse. The pain also reduces during this stage, particularly when the penis is flaccid. However, erections may still be painful.
While there’s less pain, the risk of developing ED is much higher. In many cases, ED may be the likely aftermath, especially if patients have harmful lifestyle factors like nutrition deficiency.
Surgical treatment for Peyronie’s disease is available, but it’s not recommended during the acute phase. This is because the penis undergoes changes during the acute phase that may persist after treatment.
Instead, other therapies like penile traction therapy are suggested to lessen the curvature. As symptoms stabilize and the pain subsides, other treatments may be considered to treat PD.
Consulting your doctor on the risks and benefits of the treatments before you make your decision.
Causes of Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease is a result of either of the following risk factors:
- Acute or chronic injury to the penis: Hitting or bending the penis may injure the erectile tissue. This may occur during sex, athletic activities, or accidents.
- Autoimmune disease: If the immune cells attack the cells in the penis, inflammation may occur. It may lead to the formation of scar tissue and the development of plaque.
Peyronie’s disease affects approximately 1 in 1000 men in the US. That said, research estimates claim the actual number is closer to 1 in 10 men.
With a staggering number of cases going underreported, report any symptoms to a doctor as soon as possible. PD may be challenging to speak about—but it’s extremely important as severe complications can occur if left untreated.
Treatment Options for Peyronie’s Disease
PD is not a disease that recovers on its own. There are various options to treat PD in the acute and chronic phases. Waiting until the chronic phase to treat PD may not always be suitable, so it’s important to get in touch with a doctor beforehand.
As everyone knows, prevention is better than cure. Practicing safe sex and having annual check-ups with a urologist for certain connective tissue disorders help you reduce your risk of getting this disease.
If you do get diagnosed, however, chronic-stage Peyronie’s disease may involve surgical therapy and other medical treatments to treat penile deformity.
The most common treatments are the following:
- Plication method: Involves suturing the longer side to reduce the curvature, resulting in a shortened penis. But the surgery is generally safe and effective.
- Incision and grafting method: A doctor cuts the scar tissue and grafting tissues from other areas to cover the incisions help treat PD.
- Penile implants: Most suitable for those with PD and ED, this penile implant helps improve erectile function and correct penile curvature.
Contact Cincinnati’s Leading Men’s ED Clinic for a Medical Consultation
Peyronie’s disease can drastically impact your sex life. If it’s causing you significant distress and penile pain, ignoring the situation only makes it worse.
It may be difficult to talk about your sexual dysfunction, but it’s essential to consult your doctor for specialized assistance.
The doctors at men’s clinic, Proactive Men’s Medical Center in Cincinnati, OH, offer breakthrough medical procedures to treat Peyronie’s disease and conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as Erectile Dysfunction, PE, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.