(Wednesday, 1st Oct, 2014)
Named after a French surgeon, François de la Peyronie, who first described Peyronie's disease in 1743, this is a disorder of the penis, in which fibrosis (hardened cells) forms under the skin on one side of the penis.
It begins as a localised inflammation and can develop into a hardened scar. This feels like a firm nodule when the penis is flaccid, but causes the penis to bend at a sharp angle when the penis is erect. A plaque on the top of the shaft causes the penis to bend upward; a plaque on the underside causes it to bend downward. In some cases, the plaque develops on both top and bottom, leading to shortening of the penis.
Erections can be difficult and sexual intercourse painful and the consequent emotional stress can be significant.
The cause is unknown, although it may be caused by:
About 30% of men with Peyronie's disease will develop fibrosis in other elastic tissues of the body, such as on the hand or foot.
Peyronie's disease is most common in men aged 40 to 60. However, men of all ages may develop it although it is very rare in younger men.
No. Occasionally the problem goes away on its own, but this is rare. Therefore if you have this problem, you ought to seek medical advice. The longer you leave it, the more anxious and self-conscious you may become.
Since the cause of the disease and its development are not well understood, doctors treat the disease by prescribing and using treatments that seem to help.
There are a number of treatments your doctor may suggest for this disease. These may include topical applications or oral medication. Unfortunately, there is currently no one method which is known to have superior results over another.
If the curvature is severe, and no other treatment has worked, the patient may require surgery. The two most common surgical methods involve removing the plaque and replacing it with a graft of normal tissue or artificial material, or removing or pinching tissue from the side of the penis opposite the plaque, which cancels out the bending effect. Surgical correction is usually quite successful in restoring sexual function, although there are potential problems with both options. Alternatively, a penile implant can increase rigidity of the penis and, in some cases, straighten the penis.
It is very important that the psychological aspects of this disease are treated as well. A person with Peyronie's disease may suffer anxiety or even depression because of this condition. It may affect their relationships, and be a cause of great embarrassment to them.
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