What is Peyronie's Disease?
The male penis serves as a sexual organ and outlet for urine. It consists of 2 cylindrical bodies that lie side by side (corpora cavernosa) and are surrounded by a layer of connective tissue called the tunica albuginea. Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which plaque or scar tissue is formed within the tunica albuginea of the penis. This may cause problems such as a curved and painful erection.
Causes of Peyronie's Disease
The cause of Peyronie's disease isn't completely understood, but it is thought that it generally results from repeated injury to the penis. Trauma may be caused due to vigorous sexual activity or injuries from sports or accidents.
Symptoms of Peyronie's Disease
The initial symptoms of Peyronie’s disease are painful erection and thickening of the penis. You may also notice a curvature or bend in the penis, which is most obvious when the penis is erect. There can also be symptoms like lumps in the penis, soft erection, and difficulty in penile penetration. In very severe cases, the plaque may accumulate calcium and become very hard.
Diagnosis of Peyronie's Disease
A physical examination of the penis can diagnose Peyronie’s disease. Your doctor may ask for photos of the erection to measure the bend or distortion when the penis is erect. In some cases, photographs or X-ray examination of the plaque may be required to check for the presence of calcification.
Treatment for Peyronie's Disease
You may not require treatment if Peyronie’s disease is mild and you have few or no difficulties during sexual activity.
Surgical options may be required if the bend in the penis is too severe to allow for sexual intercourse, Surgical methods include:
- Plication: This involves folding the normal tissue on itself on the unaffected side with sutures
- Grafting: This involves cutting out the scar and sewing in a piece of tissue (graft) to cover the holes in the tunica albuginea. This is used in cases of more severe curvature, this procedure is linked to greater risks of worsening erectile function compared with plication procedures
- Penile implants: Surgically inserted penile implants replace the spongy tissue that fills with blood during an erection. Penile implants might be considered if you have both Peyronie's disease and erectile dysfunction.