Signs of Peyronie’s Disease That You Shouldn’t Ignore

December 01,2020 |
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Peyronie’s disease is a condition that results from the accumulation of fibrous scar tissue inside an area of the penis called the tunica albuginea. The scar tissue becomes invasive and begins to affect your penis in different ways. While Peyronie’s disease occurs more often in older men, it can and does occur in men as early as their 30s. The best way to avoid further problems and to treat Peyronie’s disease is to catch it early. The sooner that you notice any signs and symptoms and get them treated, the better your chances are to receive a positive outcome. Here are causes, risk factors and signs of Peyronie’s disease that you shouldn’t ignore.

Causes of Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease occurs in 6 out of 100 men between the ages of 40 and 70, but has been seen in men as young as 30. However, doctors anticipate this number to be higher as some men may be too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about their symptoms. If you notice any signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor. While you might feel embarrassed at first, your doctor has seen this before and will help you address your symptoms.

While the cause of Peyronie’s disease is still a little misunderstood, many doctors attribute the scar tissue to some type of minor accident or repeated injury. This could occur during sex, athletic activities, a car crash, or any other type of accident that impacts your penis. However, not all men who experience penile injuries go on to develop Peyronie’s disease, which has led to speculation about the involvement of environmental or genetic factors.

Risk Factors of Peyronie’s Disease 

Having a risk factor does not mean that you’ll get Peyronie’s disease, but it does increase your chances. Make sure that you see your doctor regularly and keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms to ensure that you’re being proactive about your health. Some of the most common risk factors for Peyronie’s disease include:

  • Age – your risk for Peyronie’s disease increases as you age.
  • Genetics – if you have a close relative with Peyronie’s disease, you’re at a higher risk for developing it yourself.
  • Connective Tissue Disorders – if you have a connective tissue disorder, such as Dupuytren’s disease, plantar fasciitis, or scleroderma, your risk increases.
  • Erectile Dysfunction – men who suffer from diabetes-associated erectile dysfunction are four to five times more likely to develop Peyronie’s disease.
  • Prostate Cancer surgery to treat prostate cancer increases your risk.
  • Autoimmune disorders – certain autoimmune disorders are highly associated with Peyronie’s disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, and Behçet’s disease.

If you have any of the above risk factors, keep an eye out for the following signs of Peyronie’s disease.

Signs of Peyronie’s Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

The signs and symptoms of Peyronie’s disease can appear suddenly or they can present themselves gradually over time. Regardless, there are certain things that you shouldn’t ignore. If left untreated, some of these signs or symptoms may gradually worsen and pain can increase substantially.

Scar Tissue and Plaque

One of the biggest indications of Peyronie’s disease is the presence of scar tissue and plaque. This affects two-thirds of men who experience Peyronie’s disease. Plaque can accumulate beneath the skin of the penis and result in a change of appearance. The appearance of plaque buildup can also lead to the formulation of hard, flat lumps or bands of tissue that may appear “lumpy.” The scar tissue can develop suddenly or slowly over time and you should be able to feel it underneath the skin. The presence of plaque and scar tissue can worsen the other signs of Peyronie’s disease. In some circumstances, plaque can extend all the way around the penis. When this happens, curving is less likely, but you’ll be at a higher risk for narrowing. If you notice any signs of scar tissue or plaque buildup on your penis, call your doctor as soon as possible.

Curving of the Penis

A bent or curved penis is another indication of Peyronie’s disease that shouldn’t be ignored. This occurs due to the accumulation of excessive amounts of scar tissue, which makes your penis less flexible.

Narrowing of the Shaft of the Penis

If the plaque goes all the way around the circumference of your penis, you may notice that it appears to narrow in the center of the shaft. Each side of your penis has a spongy tube called a corpus cavernosum. These tubes are responsible for expanding, straightening, and stiffening when you’re sexually aroused and can be affected by plaque formulation.

Shortening of the Penis

Peyronie’s disease may also result in shortening of the penis due to excessive plaque accumulation. Since the plaque has a direct impact on the skin around your penis, and its overall shape, it can cause the skin to become tight, which can lead to a reduction in overall size. If left untreated, the shortening of the penis may worsen over time. However, the condition tends to stabilize around three to 12 months or so. To make sure that your symptoms aren’t gradually worsening, talk to a doctor about your options for treatment.

Soft or Painful Erections

Due to the changes that occur in your penis with Peyronie’s disease, most men experience at least some sort of pain during erections or erectile dysfunction of some caliber. Unfortunately, this symptom can have a drastic impact on your overall quality of life and requires medical attention. Peyronie’s disease does not go away on its own aside from a few very rare instances. Your doctor will be able to help you with pain management if you’re suffering and may be able to provide treatment that will reduce the intensity of your other symptoms.

If you notice any signs or symptoms of Peyronie’s disease, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment will give you the best chances at improving your condition and reduce the likelihood that it worsens over time. When left untreated, you may experience one or more complications. Some of the most common complications of Peyronie’s disease include the following:

  • Penile pain
  • Reduced penis length
  • Inability to have sexual intercourse
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Anxiety or stress about the abilities or appearance of your penis
  • Relationship stress
  • Difficulty fathering a child

Treatment for Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease rarely goes away on its own, so if you want to alleviate your symptoms, it’s essential that you’re open and honest with your doctor. As we mentioned, if left untreated, symptoms can worsen over time. Your treatment will depend on what stage of Peyronie’s disease you’re currently in: the acute phase or the chronic phase.

During the acute phase, which lasts about five to seven months, but can last up to 18 months, the symptoms start to present themselves and you may notice that your penis continues to bend/curve. This phase is associated more with painful erections and sexual intercourse.

The chronic phase is characterized when the plaque stops growing and the penis does not bend/curve any further. Pain tends to subside during this phase.

Your doctor or urologist will usually be able to make a diagnosis based on a physical exam alone in addition to some commonly performed urology tests. The hard plaque is fairly unique to Peyronie’s disease, especially when combined with other symptoms. When a physical is not enough for a diagnosis, your doctor may use a dynamic ultrasound to see the plaque buildup alongside the blood flow in your penis.

The overall goal of treatment for Peyronie’s disease is to reduce pain and achieve a straighter penis. This will help to restore and maintain your ability to have intercourse. Only a very small number of Peyronie’s disease cases go away without treatment. Treatment can be both nonsurgical and surgical.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment options include different injections, oral medicines, and medical therapies. They are often used during the acute phase of Peyronie’s disease. Injections can help to break down substances that cause plaque, reduce curving, and alleviate pain. Oral medications are often used to reduce plaque size but does not affect penile curving. Medical therapies can include mechanical traction and vacuum devices alongside shockwave therapy, but more studies need to be done to understand their efficacy.

Surgical Treatment

If your Peyronie’s disease is in the chronic phase and there is no more growth expected, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove plaque and help straighten the penis during an erection. There are different types of surgeries available to treat Peyronie’s disease and your urologist will work with you to determine which one is best for your specific circumstances. Your doctor may also recommend grafting, plication, or device implantation.

If you need any educational materials or a strong support team throughout your Peyronie’s disease diagnosis, the professionals at Byram Healthcare are here to help.