What is Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is when tissue in the penis hardens permanently and a lump of scar tissue forms on the lining of the penis. This hardened area stops the penis from stretching normally during an erection, and can affect its size and shape when erect.
What are the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease begins as a small swelling or inflammation, which hardens into a lump on the upper or lower side of the penis. It usually develops over time, but sometimes appears very quickly.
In most cases, you can feel a hard lump at the point where the penis curves.
Peyronie’s can be painful, reduce flexibility, and in most cases will shorten or create a bend in the penis when it’s erect.
In the early stages, you might experience pain when getting an erection. In mild cases, where the lump does not cause the penis to bend very much or at all, it will only have a minor effect on how you experience sexual intercourse.
However, moderate or severe Peyronie’s can make sexual intercourse impossible because of the shape of the penis, or problems with getting an erection. In some cases, the penis only becomes hard up to the area of the scar and stays flaccid (not erect) past that point.
What causes Peyronie’s disease?
We’re not sure about what causes of Peyronie’s but it’s usually thought to happen after repeated bending or bumping of an erect penis. This tears the lining of tissue in the penis, creating scar tissue that doesn’t heal normally.
Peyronie’s usually happens after puberty, but the most commonly affected age group is between 45 and 60 years.
Peyronie’s lumps are benign (non-cancerous), but they can make erections and normal sexual activity more difficult. Because of this, Peyronie’s can have an effect on your emotional, physical and overall health.
What treatments are there for Peyronie’s disease?
An ultrasound can be used to show the exact location, size and depth of the hardened area of scar tissue, and to check the blood flow in the penis. It will also show any calcium deposits caused by Peyronie’s. Calcification usually means that Peyronie’s has run its full course, and that the lump isn’t likely to go away or improve. This is useful to know when planning treatment.
Some cases don’t require treatment — it either doesn’t become serious enough, or it gets better over time on its own. However, it’s important to see a doctor if you think you might have Peyronie’s. If the curve or pain in the penis continues for more than 12 months, it might require surgery.
Non-surgical treatments for Peyronie’s include oral medicines, injections, shock wave treatments and penis traction (extender) devices.