- How Erections Work
- What is Peyronie’s disease?
- Peyronie’s Disease Symptoms
- Can The Disease Affect the Hands?
- What causes Peyronie’s disease?
- When To See a Doctor
- Treatment options for Peyronie’s disease
- Non-Surgical Approach
- Surgical Approach
- Can Penile Traction Therapy Be Used for Treatment?
- What are natural treatments for Peyronie’s disease?
- What is the best treatment for Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a problem that affects some men.
Limited information is available on just how much of an impact it can have on the male population.
But we know this disease can cause penile pain, penile curvature, and other potential problems in the male patient.
Here, we take a look at the abnormal curvature to answer what Peyronie’s disease is.
Including the currently available treatment and Peyronie’s disease symptoms that men should know.
How Erections Work
The penis forms an integral part of the male reproductive system while also allowing the urinary system to dispose of waste materials in the form of urine.
When a man becomes aroused, blood starts to enter two chambers located in the penis. This results in an erection.
In normal circumstances, the penis will become straight when erect. There are, however, cases where some issues can lead to problems – not only with the ability to become erect but also the structure of the erect penis.
What is Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a condition that affects the penis. It is scar tissue formation in the tunica albuginea, forcing the scar tissue to lose its elasticity and develop a penile deformity.
The tunica albuginea, also known as the white coat, is a thick tissue layer that envelops the corpora cavernosa. The tunica’s primary purpose is to promote penile shortening and rigidity. As well as take part in the veno-occlusive mechanism.
As a result, the deformity from the Peyronie disease can reduce the penile length and cause drastic psychological repercussions. It also causes a penile curvature to occur during an erection, leading to several problems, including troubles with sexual function.
A study in the PLOS ONE Journal estimates that about 0.5% of men in the United States experience signs related to this disease.
The development of Peyronie’s disease links to scarring that occurs within the penile tissue. The condition is noncancerous and appears from the fibrous scar tissue. The scar tissue that develops is plaque.
Peyronie’s plaque could get in the way of normal blood flow through the blood vessel. This scarring of the tissue occurs on the inside of the male patient’s penis. Due to the formation of the plaque, the penis gains a bent appearance when it is erect.
For some men, Peyronie’s disease does not largely affect them. But there are cases where the patient may experience a more severe range of symptoms affecting the penis tissue. This may ultimately interfere with their ability to have sexual intercourse.
It is sometimes possible for erectile dysfunction to develop as a complication. But, in those affected, erectile dysfunction typically develops before the onset of Peyronie’s disease symptoms.
So, if you do experience erectile dysfunction, it is best to contact a specialist to manage the problem.
Peyronie’s Disease Symptoms
The signs of the disease are typically a combination of one or multiple Peyronie’s disease symptoms. These include:
- Abnormal penile shaft angulation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Inability to enjoy or have sex
- Painful sex or/and erections
- Penis shaft indentation at the spot of the tissue scarring or plaque
- Plaque or scarring palpated at the bend of the penis
- Stress or anxiety
Can The Disease Affect the Hands?
Yes. Countless people with the disease also develop Dupuytren’s contracture. This is a connective tissue disorder that leads to the formation of hard tissue on the palm. This hardening of the tissue forces the fingers to bend, much like the disease affects the penis.
What causes Peyronie’s disease?
Even though several studies have been done to gain more insight into Peyronie’s disease and its effect on the penis tissue, medical experts have not yet provided an accurate explanation as to why men develop this disease.
Several factors have been identified to contribute to the tissue problem, which is generally described as the potential causes.
The most common cause behind Peyronie’s disease is a repetitive injury that occurs within the penis tissue. There are different reasons why this may happen. The penis may suffer an injury during sexual intercourse.
It is also possible that an accident or even athletic activity could lead to the same effect on the erectile tissue. However, most men with this disease cannot recall such repetitive injury that has affected their penis tissue in the past.
The disease develops in two stages:
- Acute phase – The acute phase lasts between 6 and 18 months. It is indicated by the formation of plaque in the penis and causes a worse curved erection. The curved penis leads to pain during erection, which gets in the way of erectile function.
- Chronic phase – a plaque in the penis doesn’t grow anymore, and the bending or curving of the penis remains the same, i.e., doesn’t aggravate. By this time, a man usually stops experiencing painful erection.
When To See a Doctor
Men who experience symptoms associated with Peyronie’s disease – especially the penile curvature of the penis when erect – should consult with their doctor. Especially when they feel pain. The primary concern is the tissue complications the disease causes.
When treatment begins during the earlier stages, then the development of the scar tissue that causes the penis to have a bent shape during an erection can usually be controlled. Thus, it is better to obtain a physical examination to be on the safe side.
There are times when the doctor may advise that observing the tissue condition is the best solution for the time being – even in these cases, gaining some insight from a medical provider is essential.
Treatment options for Peyronie’s disease
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease focuses on managing the pain, straightening the penis (as much as possible), and rekindling the ability to have sex. In mild cases, the doctor may advise a non-surgical approach.
Usually, the doctor will ask the patient to monitor their curvature and take pain medication if necessary.
A standard treatment option provided to patients is an infection with collagenase clostridium histolyticum. In case of a severe curvature, however, you’ll need surgical treatment.
Here is how both of these approaches look for Peyronie’s disease treatment.
When the disease is in the acute phase, those affected can receive:
Products like potassium para-aminobenzoate can help with reducing the size of the Peyronie’s plaque but won’t affect the curvature. Medications are also paired with NSAIDs to curb the pain.
This medicine is injected inside the plaque and can only be done under medical supervision. Options like intralesional verapamil, Interferon, and collagenase, are the injections available for use.
Additional therapies are still being evaluated. Some of them are shockwave therapy and vacuum and mechanical traction devices. The first targets the plaque and pain, while the latter works to manage the curving.
When the tissue signs don’t subside and the curving seriously impairs intercourse, surgery is necessary. To determine the best surgical approach, the doctor will analyze the state of your erection and tissue and suggest the best viable treatment.
You can have:
With Plication, the urologist will take out a tiny section of the tunica to straighten the organ. The odds of experiencing ED or numbness from the surgery are very low.
Penile prosthesis can restore normal erections and straighten the organ. When a penile implant alone is not enough to get the desired result, the doctor will pair the implantation with additional surgeries.
Grafting is a surgical approach meant to take out the plaque and replace it with tissue taken from other body segments or an organ donor. But, it is not uncommon for people to develop numbness and ED right after treatment.
However, the complications they get will vary from person to person. That’s why many require monitoring post-procedure.
Can Penile Traction Therapy Be Used for Treatment?
Traction therapy might seem like a possible treatment option. But, the research on this type of treatment is very limited. According to experts, traction therapy provided only modest results in managing the curve and penis lengthening in acute phase patients. However, more large-scale studies are necessary to determine whether it can have substantial impacts.
What are natural treatments for Peyronie’s disease?
Some natural remedies can help treat Peyronie’s disease.
At the moment, one of the most recommended natural treatments for the disease seems to be Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
In one study, researchers found that this treatment has a similar effect as a drug known as tamoxifen, which is often used to treat Peyronie’s disease if it is still at an early stage. Acetyl-L-Carnitine had a more potent effect on restoring penile function and had a much more positive safety profile.
Another study found the use of supplements that contain coenzyme Q10 could potentially improve a man’s erectile function when Peyronie’s disease affects his abilities in the bedroom.
What is the best treatment for Peyronie’s disease?
Collagenase clostridium histolyticum injections directly into the penile tissue are currently an effective way of treating Peyronie’s disease through a pharmaceutical approach.
At the moment, this is the only medication that the FDA has officially approved for use in treating this disease. It is important to note that the patient has to meet specific criteria before being given this medication.
Doctors sometimes provide interferon injections to assist with breaking down the fibrous tissue that develops in the patient’s penis. Some doctors also prescribe verapamil, which is an oral drug that can treat hypertension.
Although drug therapy may help men with more severe forms of Peyronie’s disease, it is worth mentioning that there haven’t been enough studies to assess their efficacy and mechanisms of action.
Some drugs prescribed for this person besides verapamil include oral vitamin E, colchicine, tamoxifen, potassium amino-benzoate (Potaba).
If conventional treatment options do not yield effective results, a doctor may advise the patient to consider surgery. There are different ways we can use surgical procedures to assist in restoring erectile function and reducing the bending that Peyronie’s disease causes in the penis.
This condition can be a very uncomfortable and debilitating disease.
Although it can go away on its own, many people require treatment to keep it under control.
In severe cases, surgery can be the most practical solution. But, the treatment you do receive depends on the state of your condition.
So, consult with an expert to make sure you can adequately manage the problem and the peyronie’s disease symptoms.