What is Peyronie's disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a disorder in which the penis bends or curves because of plaque, or lumps, that have formed inside the penis. Depending on where the plaque is located, the penis will bend up, down, or to the side. In some cases, the plaque develops on both the top and bottom of the shaft, which can cause the penis to become “dented” and shorter.
Who gets Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease occurs in about 10 percent of middle-aged men; however, younger and older men can also be affected. In some cases, men who are related tend to develop the disease, which means the disease may be inherited.
A man who has Peyronie’s disease may also have erectile dysfunction (impotence, or difficulty getting and keeping an erection). This may be because there is less blood flowing to the penis, or it can be caused by stress from having the disease. Erectile dysfunction may cause the penis to bend more during sexual intercourse.
What causes Peyronie’s disease?
The cause of Peyronie’s disease is not entirely clear. Many researchers believe the plaque of Peyronie’s disease can occur after the penis has been hit or bent, which causes bleeding inside the penis.
In addition, the elastic in the layer of the two erectile chambers (or cylinders) in the penis may become more brittle over time, which can also lead to an injury.
Many medications may cause Peyronie’s disease as a side effect, including:
- Beta blockers, which are often prescribed for people with heart conditions or high blood pressure
- Interferon, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis
- Dilantin, an anti-seizure medicine
What are the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease?
The problem cannot be seen while the penis is soft. Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease may develop slowly, or can appear overnight. In severe cases, the plaque makes the penis less flexible. This can cause pain and may force the penis to bend or curve during an erection.
The pain of Peyronie’s disease is usually mild, and is usually not treated. This pain may only occur with an erection. In most cases, the pain decreases over time, but the bend in the penis can remain a problem. Occasionally, milder forms of the disease will get better without causing great pain or permanent bending.
Approximately one in three men with Peyronie’s disease have some pain during intercourse. Peyronie’s disease may also make the erect penis shorter; this change may be permanent.