Peyronie's disease is
an abnormal curvature of the penis caused by scar tissue in the erectile
tissue. Because the scar tissue prevents straightening of the penis, the
curvature is most obvious during an erection. The curvature may be so severe
that it prevents penetration during intercourse.
Peyronie's disease usually affects men who are 50 and older.
Never before has erectile dysfunction been so openly discussed in our society. It appears in everything from news reports and comedy sketches to national advertising campaigns. “But ironically, it’s still very difficult for many couples to talk about sex, and especially to talk about erection problems,” says Brian Zamboni, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in human sexuality at the University of Minnesota.
That’s too bad. For most couples, talking about erection difficulties is the first...
Symptoms of Peyronie's
disease may develop slowly or suddenly. Common symptoms include:
A lump or thickening along the shaft of the
penis that is most noticeable when the penis is soft (flaccid).
bent or curved appearance of the penis that is most noticeable when the penis
A painful erection. Some men do not have pain with an
erection but have tenderness when the lump along the side of the penis is
An inability to keep an erection.
inability to achieve penetration during intercourse.
What are the stages of Peyronie's disease?
Peyronie's disease is usually divided into two stages:
The active phase. The most common symptoms of
this phase are painful erections and a change in the curvature of the penis.
The secondary phase. Stable curvature may be the only symptom of
this phase. Pain, if present during the active phase, usually gets better or
goes away completely.
How is Peyronie's disease diagnosed?
disease is usually diagnosed using a medical history and physical exam.
Your doctor will ask you questions about when you first noticed your symptoms
and whether the symptoms were gradual or sudden. This will help determine which
stage of Peyronie's disease you are experiencing.
of Peyronie's disease are usually most noticeable when the penis is erect, your
doctor may ask you to take a photograph of your penis while it is erect. Other
tests that may be ordered include:
X-ray or ultrasound, to produce a picture of the structures within
Doppler flow studies, which use sound
waves to monitor blood flow patterns. It is important for your doctor to
find out whether blood flow to the end of your penis is interrupted or
decreased during erection.
How is it treated?
Peyronie's disease rarely gets better on its own. But treatment usually is not
needed unless Peyronie's disease causes pain or interferes with sexual
Most men are able to remain sexually active. Counseling can help couples
maintain an active sexual life.
Although there is no standard
treatment for Peyronie's disease, vitamin E or medicines such as carnitine, colchicine, or verapamil may help treat
pain and reduce curvature during an erection. But the use of medicines has shown only
limited success, and none are well studied for the treatment of Peyronie's
Surgery is considered for men
who have severe pain, a severely curved penis, or sexual dysfunction related to
Peyronie's disease. Surgical options include removing the scar tissue or
shortening the unaffected side of the penis (plication). In some cases, use of
a penile prosthesis may be used to help keep an erection during