What is Peyronie’s disease? What causes it and how to deal with it? Discover everything about one of the most common diseases in men.
Are you feeling a bit crooked down there? Don’t worry, it’s not just you – you might be dealing with Peyronie’s disease.
While it may not be the most comfortable topic to discuss, it’s important to understand what Peyronie’s is, how it can impact your life, and what you can do about it.
That’s where this complete guide comes in – we’ll take you through everything you need to know, from symptoms to treatments and everything in between.
What Is Peyronie’s Disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which a man’s penis becomes curved or bent during an erection.
The curvature is caused by the development of fibrous scar tissue, known as plaque, in the penis. This plaque can develop in one or more areas of the penis and may cause pain or discomfort during an erection.
Peyronie’s disease can affect men of any age, but it is most common in men over 40.
What Are The Main Causes Of It?
The cause of the disease is not well understood, but it is thought to be related to the followings:
- Trauma: Injuries to the penis, such as from a sports accident or rough sexual activity.
- Genetics: Some research suggests that a genetic predisposition may play a role in the development of Peyronie’s disease.
- Age: This disease is more common in older men, especially those over the age of 40.
- Connective Tissue Disorders: Certain connective tissue disorders, such as Dupuytren’s contracture, may increase the risk of Peyronie’s disease.
- Health conditions: Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, may increase the risk.
- Lifestyle factors: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been associated with this disease, although the exact link is not fully understood.
The Symptoms Of Peyronie’s Disease
The symptoms of Peyronie’s disease can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. Here are some common symptoms:
- The curvature of the penis – the penis becomes curved or bent, making it difficult or painful to have sex.
- Pain or discomfort – the buildup of scar tissue can cause pain or discomfort during an erection or during sexual activity.
- Erectile dysfunction – makes it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection.
- Shortening of the penis – in some cases, it may cause the penis to become shorter. Ouch!
- Plaque or lumps – a hard lump or plaque may be felt beneath the skin of the penis, which may cause discomfort or pain.
Talk to a urologist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms!
Possible Treatment Options
Just as every patient’s experience of the disease will be different, the treatment journey will also differ. These are the most common treatment options for Peyronie’s disease:
There are several medications that may be used to treat Peyronie’s disease, including:
- Collagenase – is injected into the plaque that causes the curvature of the penis. It works by breaking down the collagen that makes up the plaque, which can help to reduce the curvature and improve symptoms.
- Verapamil – is often used to treat high blood pressure, but it may also be used to treat Peyronie’s disease. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation and scar tissue buildup in the penis.
- Interferon – reduces inflammation and prevents the growth of scar tissue.
- Pentoxifylline – improves blood flow to the penis and reduces inflammation.
Don’t just take the medication your friend recommends, get proper advice from your urologist!
2. Penile Traction Devices
Traction devices are non-invasive and can help to straighten the penis over time in Peyronie’s disease. They involve wearing a device for a certain amount of time each day that stretches the penis to reduce curvature.
It’s important to use them under the guidance of a healthcare provider, follow instructions carefully, and not overuse them.
While effective for some patients, traction devices may not work for all cases and severe cases may require surgery or medication.
3. Vacuum Erection Devices
vacuum erection devices are a non-surgical treatment option for Peyronie’s disease that use a vacuum to draw blood into the penis, creating an erection that can help reduce curvature.
They can be used on an as-needed basis, are generally considered safe, and have few side effects when used properly.
Peyronie’s disease can cause a significant amount of emotional distress for those who are affected by it.
The physical symptoms of the condition, such as curvature or pain during intercourse, can lead to feelings of embarrassment, shame, or anxiety.
These emotions can impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence, which can lead to difficulties in personal relationships or other areas of life.
Fortunately, counseling or therapy may be helpful in managing the psychological effects of Peyronie’s disease.
A mental health professional can provide a supportive and understanding environment to discuss the emotional impact of the condition.
They can also provide tools and techniques to manage the stress, anxiety, and depression that can often arise in response to the condition.
This can include strategies such as mindfulness or cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help to reframe negative thought patterns and reduce anxiety or depression symptoms.
By addressing the psychological effects of Peyronie’s disease, you may be able to improve your overall quality of life and find greater peace of mind.
In cases where Peyronie’s disease is severe, surgery may be a viable option for treatment. Surgical procedures can help to address the curvature of the penis caused by the buildup of plaque.
There are a variety of surgical techniques that can be used to treat Peyronie’s disease, and the specific approach will depend on the individual’s unique circumstances.
One option is to remove the plaque that has formed, which can help to restore the shape and function of the penis.
Alternatively, a surgeon may choose to graft tissue onto the affected area to help straighten the penis.
In some cases, an implant may be inserted to help maintain an erection.
While surgery may be an effective treatment for severe cases of Peyronie’s disease, it does come with risks and potential complications.
It’s important for individuals to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with their healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for their specific situation.
After undergoing surgery for Peyronie’s disease, there will be a recovery period that may vary depending on the individual and the specific surgical technique used.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of what to expect during the recovery process, so you can prepare yourself both physically and mentally.
The Recovery Process After Peyronie’s Disease Surgery
Peyronie’s disease surgery generally covers the following procedures:
- The Nesbit procedure.
- Plaque incision and grafting – are not available on the NHS.
- The STAGE (Superficial Tunica Albuginea Geometric-based Excision) technique – is not available on the NHS.
Recovery from the different procedures is fairly standard, no matter which treatment you opt for. But for a more personal recovery timeline, consult with your expert urologist!
In most cases, patients go home on the same day as treatment was completed and are encouraged to take at least one week off from work.
During this first week, you will likely need to rest, take the pain medication advised by your urologist, and use holiday or sick days to stay off from work.
This is because the penis is likely to be uncomfortable, and you will experience some bruising and swelling.
This could last up to 10 days and is not something that you need to worry about, as it will go down by itself once the healing process has progressed.
At this time, you should focus on relaxing, and this may mean wearing different underwear than normal. Having a few different types on hand will mean that you can wear what is most comfortable for you.
Tip: Elevating the penis with padding or gauze may help alleviate swelling and bruising.
If you have a very active or strenuous job, including moving and lifting heavy weights or any aspect of construction work, you may find you might need longer off from work. This could be up to 2 weeks.
This is completely normal and should not worry you, it simply gives your body the best chance at healing properly after Peyronie’s disease surgery and will remove any risk of damaging or irritating the surgery site.
Throughout your recovery, you will need to avoid the following for around 1-6 weeks, to allow the surgery site to heal and for your dissolvable stitches to disappear:
- Strenuous physical activity, including workouts, yoga, and even jogging.
- Sexual activity (including masturbation) is also strictly forbidden.
- Bathing and sitting in hot tubs or pools can affect the success of your stitches.
- Drinking alcohol and smoking can slow healing and increase inflammation.
Your personal urologist will advise when you can resume strenuous or sexual activity once again, so it is important not to rush your recovery.
Get Your Life Back!
Once signed off by your urologist and your recovery is complete, you can enjoy life again, free from the often painful and distressing symptoms of Peyronie’s disease.
Your penis will be straight and pain-free once more, allowing you to embrace your sexuality and live life to the fullest.