Peyronie’s Disease is just one of many forms of erectile dysfunction and can be damaging both emotionally and physically.
Let’s take a closer look at what the disease is and what methods are available for treatment.
Peyronie’s Disease – What is it?
Peyronie’s Disease happens when damage to tissue within the penis creates scar tissue, called plaque.
Depending on where the damage occurs the plaque causes a bending up or down or an indenting of the penis and it can develop over time or even appear almost overnight.
While it is found more often amongst men in middle-age, it can happen at virtually any age, and it is estimated that approximately 80,000 males within the United Kingdom may suffer from the disease.
How is Peyronie’s Disease caused?
If the disease developed almost overnight, it would be easy to pin the cause on a sudden injury. However, because most cases actually develop slowly over time and without any obvious trauma, it is quite hard to know exactly what causes the disease.
Some theories suggest that Peyronie’s Disease may actually be a disorder of the autoimmune system. Studies showed that patients with Peyronie’s Disease had a far greater chance of having one or more immunologic test results that were abnormal compared with a control group.
Those with the disease had a 75.8% chance while a control group had just 10%.
This also explained why some other disorders are linked with Peyronie’s Disease, such as:
- Paget’s disease – a skeletal disorder that causes deformed and enlarged bones in places around the skeleton.
- Dupuytren’s contracture – as much as 20% of sufferers of Dupuytren’s contracture also had Peyronie’s Disease. Dupuytren’s causes fingers to bend towards the palms and do not fully straighten.
How does it progress?
The symptoms can worsen or improve over time, and it is not yet understood what triggers this to happen. It is not unusual for those who suffer from it to be in pain when they have an erection which means that sex is usually painful and limited.
Of course, any disease that impacts a man’s ability to perform in bed brings with it some emotional problems. Even within a supportive and understanding relationship men can quickly become depressed and anxious and suffer from reduced self-esteem.
Relationships can deteriorate as the disease has the potential to cause rifts in both the emotional and physical relationship of the couple.
How can the disease be treated?
The first step in any effective treatment is the diagnosis. By understanding and recognizing the signs early on the right decision can be made about medical care.
Unfortunately, many men do not want to visit their physician when they find themselves with symptoms, either due to embarrassment or a reluctance stemming from incorrect self-diagnosis – some men believe they may have an STD or even and avoid seeking a definite diagnosis out of fear.
Typically most men do seek help once the disease begins to impact significantly on their sexual performance and their partner begins to encourage them to see a doctor.
Once Peyronie’s Disease has been diagnosed there are several different routes medical treatment can go down, depending on what stage the disease is at:
- Early stage Peyronie’s Disease – This first phase is characterized by acute inflammation of the penis and typically lasts between six and eighteen months. Erections will be painful, and they may also be weak, many men also find it hard to ejaculate. Most men will see some form of curvature, indentation or shortening of their penis and as the disease develops the inflammation will develop into scar tissue while may feel lumpy.
- Second phase Peyronie’s Disease – Once a scar or plaque has formed the patient is now at the second stage. Once the deformity has settled, many men will not suffer from a loss of length and/or erectile dysfunction.
Because Peyronie’s Disease can improve on its own many doctors will first wait to see what happens before selecting a treatment as it may disappear within by itself within twelve months.
Oral medications, traction devices, Phallosan Forte vacuum therapy and injections are all possible non-surgical options which your physician may consider and other alternative therapies are currently being investigated.
If you have been diagnosed with Peyronie’s Disease, it is important to remember that life does continue. Understand your treatment options and discuss with your doctor and you’ll find that the disease needn’t be a crisis if properly treated, although of course, it isn’t pleasant either.
Will I need surgery?
If the previously mentioned non-surgical options do not have an effect surgery may be recommended as a treatment, but typically only in the most severe of cases.
To reduce the chances of a re-occurrence happening physicians will not generally opt for surgery unless the disease is stable and inactive for six months or more.
There are a few surgical methods that can help:
- Implanting a device that straightens the penis.
- Where necessary grafting and incisions can be used in addition to an implant to help make the penis straighter.
- Some plaque can be excised and then a human tissue or synthetic material can be grafted in to help put shape back to normal.
Peyronie’s Disease can differ significantly from patient to patient, so the most important step you can take is to seek the advice of a physician.
Whatever severity of the disease you present your doctor will select a method of treatment with the aim of safeguarding your sexual function and allow you to carry out a healthy sex life.