What is Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is the presence of fibrous within the shaft of the penis. The plaques are formed in the tissues outside of the main erectile bodies and give rise to bending and angulation of the erect penis. Sometimes the bending is so marked that it makes sexual intercourse impossible. It is a distressing condition which is now being recognized more frequently.
Doctors are unsure of what causes Peyronie’s disease and many factors may contribute to the disease occurring. The condition can affect men of any age and with different degrees of severity. These plaques lead to distortion of the penis when erect.
Why is it called Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease was so-named after Francois Gigot de La Peyronie who, in 1743, described the characteristic of fibrotic and sometimes calcified plaque under the skin in the penis. He did not discover the disease- there is evidence that it existed in the 6th Century BC!
What are the main effects of the disease?
There are three main symptoms of Peyronie’s disease- pain, lumps in the penis and bending of the penis (all of these may not be present and they may vary in severity). Some men initially experience pain in their penis when they have an erection. Often this painful stage will disappear without any treatment. At this stage the man may be able to feel firm lumps (known as plaques) in the shaft of the penis. As these plaques develop he will notice bending or angulation of the penis when erect. In severe cases this distortion of the penis can make sexual intercourse impossible or extremely uncomfortable for both partners. Sometimes worrying about the problem can lead to difficulties in obtaining or maintaining an erection.
Who can get Peyronie’s disease?
Any man can develop Peyronie’s disease. The average age of onset is 50 years, but it can occur in men as young as 18 years of age.
What should I do if I think I have Peyronie’s disease?
Go to your doctor as soon as you feel any pain or abnormal lumps in your penis. If Preyronie’s disease is diagnosed, ask your doctor to explain about the condition and the treatment options available. Your doctor may referl you to a Sexual Health Specialist or Urologist. Sometimes, the condition may clear itself, but this may take several years. However, there are treatments available and the sooner the condition is treated the earlier it can be helped.
What are the treatment options and how long will it take?
Over the years a large number of different treatments have been used but no single treatment is effective in all cases. Emotional distress can become enormous for both the individual and couple. Speaking with a qualified sex therapist is highly recommended. If you would like to discuss this situation further or make an appointment please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vitamin E is the simplest form of treatment
Surgery is only considered once the disease has been present for one year and has stabilized. It is necessary in about 10% of men and is usually performed if the deformity is such that it is causing difficulty with sexual intercourse. The operation consists of taking a tuck out of the convex side of the bend and it is relatively successful in 80% of patients. Poor results are usually due to progression of the disease or anxiety. Excision of the fibrous plaque is not advisable as this often leads to impaired erections and in such patients the implantation of a penile prosthesis is necessary.
The psychological impact can be devastating, for both the sufferer and their partner, and affect upon the relationship. Some men will avoid getting into either a relationship or sexual situation. Either partner maybe afraid to have intercourse, fearing further “damage”. The sufferer may blame or accuse their partner of having been the one to “damage” their penis. Fears that a partner may look for a “normal” partner and embarrassment in seeking help are common.
What can I do to help myself?
Find out as much as you can about the disease and the treatments. After appropriate discussion with your doctor a referral to a Sexual Health Physician or Urologist with a special interest in impotence medicine, should be arranged. If you have a partner then share your information with them, as a supportive, well-informed partner is a great help. Remember, the disease appears to strike on a random basis and it is not linked to infections or cancer. The main aim is to get the condition treated and correct the deformity- even if it takes a while.
Fact Sheet: Impotence Australia
Raelene Stokes is WA Coordinator for Impotence Australia and she specialises in Men’s Sexual Health. If you would like to make an appointment with Raelene please click here.