All You Need to Know About Peyronie's Disease
Peyronie’s disease refers to a medical concern caused by scar tissue that forms inside the penis. In some instances, the scar tissue can cause the penis to bend. While some men with Peyronie’s disease may have a healthy sex life, it can lead to pain and even erectile dysfunction.
Who Can Get Peyronie’s Disease?
While any man may develop Peyronie's disease in their lifetime, it most commonly impacts middle-aged men. While it is not considered a normal part of aging, it is typical for much older men to be the largest demographic for having the condition.
How Peyronie’s Disease is Diagnosed
In order to receive a proper diagnosis, your doctor must perform a physical exam. Typically, this involves examining the scar tissue. If the further examination requires an erect penis, then the doctor will inject a medication to make that occur. In some instances, you may need x-rays or a biopsy to rule out other medical concerns.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms associated with Peyronie’s disease can develop quickly or over a period of time. When the penis is flaccid, there are no signs of the condition. However, when the penis becomes erect, there is a visible arc or bend to it. The bending may cause pain that may or may not reduce over time.
There is also a link between Peyronie’s disease and scarring on the hands and feet. Men who have this type of scarring are usually at a higher risk of developing Peyronie’s disease as well.
Pain is usually a temporary symptom of Peyronie's disease, but it is uncomfortable nonetheless. Doctors typically allow the pain to subside on its own over a 6 to 18 month period. In some cases, pain medications may be prescribed.
Changes in your genitals can certainly create emotional stress. Talking to your doctor about the disease and creating a treatment plan can go a long way in helping reduce any feelings you may have associated with the condition. Your doctor will have access to additional resources should you need ongoing support as you work through the medical concern.
It remains unclear exactly what causes Peyronie’s Disease. Some medical experts believe that scar tissue occurs after trauma. In the event that the penis is bent or hit, it may lead to minor bleeding. This bleeding can then cause scar tissue to form and build-up inside the penis. Some men may not experience pain or visible bleeding and, therefore, would not be aware of the extent of the injury.
Other research indicates that the disease may be linked to genetics. Some medications also list Peyronie’s disease as a potential side effect, but there is no research that indicates that particular medications actually cause Peyronie’s disease. While there is no clear cause, the important thing to remember is that early detection is key to managing pain and selecting a treatment plan that is right for you.
In most cases, men do not require treatment for Peyronie’s disease. Many times, the bend in the penis corrects itself over time. It may be painful and uncomfortable, but it does not necessarily last forever. Because of this, most doctors suggest waiting one or two years before selecting a treatment plan. Some treatment options may be more invasive than others, so avoiding those procedures is the best solution, if possible.
If treatment is necessary, the first step is medication. Your doctor may prescribe pentoxifylline or potassium aminobenzoate. If medications do not do the trick, then your doctor may try injecting verapamil or collagenase directly into the scar tissue.
If surgery is selected as a treatment option, there are two methods available. The first method involves removing the scar tissue and putting a tissue graft in its place. The second method involves altering the tissue on the opposite side of the scar tissue in order to balance out the visible bend in the penis.
Typically, surgery is only chosen if the patient is unable to have sex. However, keep in mind, both methods pose their own set of issues. Neither is guaranteed success. The first method may result in erection issues and the second method will reduce the size of an erect penis.
In some instances, patients may receive a penile prostheses implant. However, this option is only for patients who have Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction.
Peyronie’s disease can certainly impact a person’s life in a significant way. If you suspect that you may be living with this condition, then you should contact your doctor right away. Changes in your genitals may indicate a variety of medical issues and it is important to have that checked out right away. For more information, get in touch with your medical provider.