Peyronie’s disease is a connective tissue disorder characterized by the growth of fibrous plaques in the soft tissue of the penis. This condition is common and affects approximately 1 to 4 percent of male population worldwide. The disease is also known under the name induratio penis plastic. The disorder usually occurs in the tough fibrous layer of the connective tissue that surrounds the corpora cavernosa of the penis, and manifests itself as an abnormal curvature of the penis. However, this should not be mistaken for the normal curvature of the penis, which is normal to the certain degree and which is considered congenital curvature.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease
Peyronie’s disease sometimes appears suddenly, literally overnight. In other cases, the disease progresses gradually. Generally, the deformity reduces the flexibility of the penis tissue and causes extreme discomfort. This condition forces the penis to bend during erection, which is very annoying and agonizing for most of the affected men. The pain will eventually become bearable for a great majority of patients, but the curvature of the penis normally remains a problem and greatly affects men’s sexual performance. The pain is expected to disappear during the first six to eighteen months after the onset of the disease. Men affected by Peyronie’s disease often deal with a lot of anxiety and stress related to the sexual dysfunction. This condition can often disrupt a couple’s relationship and significantly lower the patient’s self-esteem.
Causes of Peyronie’s disease
Scientists are yet unsure what exactly causes Peyronie’s disease. One of the theories suggests that it could be caused by a trauma or injury to the penis usually through sexual activity. Theory suggests that a disease develops from painful unexpected angulation during sex, to actual rupture of the corpora cavernosa, but most of the patients do not recall anything similar. However, this theory is supported by microscopic and chemical studies that have shown stages in the wound healing process of the affected tissue. In Peyronie's disease, the normal wound-healing process fails resulting in permanent scar tissue. The scarring occurs and the surrounding tissue is no longer flexible. This disease usually affects men who are in their mid-fifties.
Treatment of Peyronie’s disease
In cases where the curvature is not severe and the person does not experience any pain, no treatment will be administered, unless the person has problems having sex. In other cases, doctors will prescribe various oral medications, but their use is not yet supported by reliable research. Penile injections to reduce the curvature of the penis are also available, as well as the surgical procedures if the deformity is severe or prevents the patient from having sex.