Peyronie’s Disease

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Peyronie’s Disease, also known as Peyronie’s syndrome or penile fibrosis, is a medical condition that affects the male reproductive organ, the penis. It is characterized by the development of fibrous scar tissue (plaque) within the penis, which can lead to curvature, pain, and other complications during erections.

At the University of Kansas Department of Urology, our dedicated expert team is committed to delivering top-tier healthcare and employing cutting-edge treatments for our patients. We work closely with each individual to create a customized treatment strategy that takes into account their specific needs and goals.

Types of Peyronie’s Disease

  • Classic Peyronie’s Disease: This is the most common type and is characterized by the formation of fibrous plaques on the upper side (dorsal) of the penis. These plaques can cause the penis to bend upward during erections.
  • Ventral Peyronie’s Disease: In this less common type, the fibrous plaques develop on the underside (ventral) of the penis, causing it to bend downward during erections.
  • Lateral Peyronie’s Disease: Sometimes, the plaques can develop on either side (lateral) of the penis, leading to curvature in those directions.

SYMPTOMS & CAUSES

Symptoms

The primary symptom of Peyronie’s Disease is an abnormal curvature of the penis during erections. Other common symptoms and complications may include:

  • Pain during erections or during sexual activity
  • Shortening of the penis due to the curvature
  • Erectile dysfunction (difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection)
  • Difficulty with penetration during sexual intercourse
  • Plaques or lumps felt under the skin of the penis

Causes

The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and physical factors. Some potential factors and causes include:

  • Trauma or injury to the penis, such as during sexual activity or from a sporting accident
  • Genetics, as Peyronie’s Disease may run in families
  • Inflammation and scarring in the penile tissue
  • Abnormal wound healing processes, leading to the formation of plaques
  • Certain connective tissue disorders

DIAGNOSIS & SCREENING

Diagnosing Peyronie’s disease typically involves a combination of a physical examination, a review of your medical history, and, in some cases, imaging tests. It is typically diagnosed as follows:

  • Physical Examination: A urologist will examine your penis for the presence of fibrous plaques, curvature, or any other physical abnormalities. They may also assess the degree of curvature and any pain you experience during an erection.
  • Medical History: Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, when they started, and any relevant medical history or past penile cancer, injuries or trauma.
  • Imaging Tests: In some cases, ultrasound or other imaging studies may be used to visualize the plaques and assess their size and location within the penis.

TREATMENTS

Treatment for Peyronie’s disease depends on the severity of the condition, the impact on your sexual function and quality of life, and your individual preferences. Common treatment options include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe oral medications, such as pentoxifylline or potassium para-aminobenzoate (Potaba), to help reduce pain and potentially slow the progression of the disease.
  • Injection Therapies: In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend injecting medications directly into the plaques to soften and break down the scar tissue. This can include the use of verapamil, collagenase (Xiaflex), or other agents.
  • Penile Traction Devices: These devices apply gentle stretching to the penis over time, which can help reduce curvature. They are typically used in combination with other treatments.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be considered if the curvature is severe or if other treatments have not been effective. Surgical options can include plaque incision or excision, penile implants, or penile reconstruction procedures.
  • Physical Therapy: Some men benefit from physical therapy techniques that aim to stretch and straighten the penis. This is often done under the guidance of a specialist.

OUTLOOK & PROGNOSIS

The outlook for individuals with Peyronie’s disease varies depending on factors such as the severity of curvature, the presence of pain, and the chosen treatment. Here are some general points regarding the prognosis:

  • Mild Cases: Some men with mild curvature and minimal pain may not require treatment and can continue to have a satisfactory sex life.
  • Treatment Success: Many men experience improvements in penile curvature, pain, and sexual function with the right treatment. The success rate depends on individual factors and the chosen therapy.
  • Surgery: Surgical procedures can often correct severe curvature and improve sexual function. However, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications to consider.
  • Emotional Well-being: Peyronie’s disease can have a psychological impact, causing anxiety and stress. Support from healthcare professionals and counselors can be valuable in managing these emotional aspects.

All in all, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help manage the condition and improve quality of life for those affected by Peyronie’s disease.

Prevention & Management

Preventing Peyronie’s disease is challenging because its exact cause is not always clear. However, there are some steps you can take to potentially reduce your risk or manage the condition if you are affected:

  • Avoid Physical Trauma: Be cautious during sexual activity and avoid aggressive or rough handling of the penis to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Safe Sex Practices: Practicing safe sex, including using condoms and maintaining good sexual health, can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections that may contribute to inflammation or scarring.
  • Early Intervention: If you notice any signs of Peyronie’s disease, such as penile curvature or pain during erections, seek medical advice promptly. Early intervention may prevent the condition from worsening.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol consumption may contribute to overall penile health.

CONCLUSION

Peyronie’s disease is a challenging condition that can affect a man’s sexual health and quality of life. While it may not always be preventable, early diagnosis and appropriate management can make a significant difference. If you suspect you have Peyronie’s disease or are experiencing symptoms, do not hesitate to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis, discuss treatment options, and offer guidance on how to manage the condition effectively. With the right care and support, many individuals with Peyronie’s disease can achieve improved outcomes and a better quality of life.

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