Peyronie’s Disease

Definition

Peyronie’s (pa-ro-NEEZ) disease is the development of fibrous scar tissue inside the penis that causes curved, painful erections.

A man’s penis varies in shape and size. Having a curved erection is common and isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, in some men, Peyronie’s disease causes a significant bend or pain. This can prevent a man from having sex or may make it difficult to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction). For many men, Peyronie’s disease also causes stress and anxiety.

In some cases, medications may help. Surgery to treat Peyronie’s disease is generally only recommended if the curvature and pain are severe enough to prevent sexual intercourse. Sometimes, repeated penile injections are chosen to soften the placques, but insurance companies do not cover this treatment.

Peyronie’s disease symptoms may appear suddenly or may develop gradually. The most common signs and symptoms include: a significant bend to the penis. This can cause difficulty with insertion or pain to your partner.

Erection problems

Peyronie’s disease may cause problems getting or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction).

Shortening of the penis

Your penis may become shorter as a result of Peyronie’s disease.

Pain

You may have pain during an erection, only during an orgasm or anytime your penis is touched.

Causes

The cause of Peyronie’s disease isn’t completely understood, but a number of factors appear to be involved. It is thought Peyronie’s disease generally results from the rupturing of small blood vessels inside the penis. For example, the penis may be damaged during sex, athletic activity or as the result of an accident. During the healing process, blood cells and other cells are trapped at the site of injury which leads to the buildup of scar tissue. However, not all men who have a penis injury develop Peyronie’s disease. Inherited traits may also play a role in who is susceptible to the disorder.

Treatments

Medications

A number of oral medications have been tried to treat Peyronie’s disease, but they don’t appear to be as effective as surgery.

In some cases, drugs injected directly into the penis may reduce curvature and pain associated with Peyronie’s disease. If you have one of these treatments, you’ll likely receive multiple injections over several months under a local anesthetic.

Verapamil

Verapamil, normally used to treat high blood pressure, appears to disrupt the production of collagen, a protein that appears to be a key factor in the formation of Peyronie’s disease scar tissue.

Interferon

Interferon is a type of protein that appears to disrupt the production of fibrous tissue and help break it down.

Collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down fibrous tissue scar, is currently being studied for treatment of Peyronie’s disease.

Penile Implants

Surgically inserted penile implants replace the spongey tissue that fills with blood during an erection. The implants may be semi-rigid — manually bent down most of the time and bent upwards for sexual intercourse. Another type of implant is inflatable with a pump implanted in the groin or scrotum. Penile implants may be considered if a man has both Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction. When the implants are put in place, the surgeon will likely make some cuts (incisions) in the scar tissue to relieve tension on the tunica albuginea where the scarring occurs.

By: Mayo Clinic