The name Peyronie’s disease may not be well-known, but the condition has been diagnosed in 1 out of every 100 men over the age of 18. Experts even believe that the real numbers may be more along the lines of 1 in 10.
Peyronie’s disease leads to a curve in your penis, which is most noticeable during an erection. While not necessarily cause for concern at first, the disease can progress and lead to problems with comfort and performance, which is where we come in.
At our practice, Dr. Robert Cornell is a leading expert in men’s health in the Houston, Texas, area. From prostate cancer to problems with erectile dysfunction, Dr. Cornell and our team understand the many conditions that are unique to men. Among those is Peyronie’s disease and in the following, we review what this condition is and what we can do about it.
Peyronie’s disease basics
As we mentioned, Peyronie’s disease may affect up to 10% of men over the age of 18, and it stems from a buildup of scar tissue in your penis.
With Peyronie’s disease, plaque builds up in the tissues below the surface of the skin in your penis. The tissue we’re referring to is called the tunica albuginea, which is a thick membrane that plays an important role in your erection, keeping your penis erect.
The plaque that builds up isn’t elastic, so it pulls on the tissues in your penis, causing it to bend, especially during an erection.
Peyronie’s disease usually begins with an acute phase — the plaque builds up and makes itself known with symptoms that range from inflammation to discomfort. About 12-18 months after the acute phase, the chronic phase of the disease sets in, which may lead to less or more pain, depending upon the severity of the scar tissue buildup. It’s during this phase that you may also experience problems with erectile dysfunction.
Peyronie’s disease can be caused by any number of problems, including:
- Trauma to your penis
- Autoimmune disorders that involve your connective tissues
- Wear and tear (micro injuries that stem from vigorous sex, for example)
- Pre-existing conditions like diabetes
- Prostate cancer surgery
No matter how your Peyronie’s disease developed, the good news is that we offer several solutions.
Treatment options for Peyronie’s disease
After evaluating your problem, we first determine which stage your Peyronie’s disease is in, which dictates our treatment approach. It’s worth noting that if your Peyronie’s disease is mild and doesn’t present any issues, we usually leave well enough alone. If, however, the disease is affecting your quality of life, we can take action.
During the acute phase, we can inject a medication called collagenase, which is an enzyme that breaks down the scar tissue. As well, there are other medications, such as interferon or verapamil, which may help stem the curving.
If your Peyronie’s disease has settled into a chronic phase, we can insert penile implants to bring better form to your penis or turn to surgery to correct the problem. Since these solutions are more invasive, we only recommend them once the condition has become chronic.
The bottom line is that your treatment depends upon the stage of the Peyronie’s disease, as well as your symptoms and goals. To learn more, please contact our office to set up an appointment.