It’s estimated that approximately 3-9% of men worldwide have Peyronie’s Disease. The number could actually be higher than that since some men are too embarrassed to see their doctor about this curvature of the penis.
The disease occurs because of the development of fibrous scar tissue inside the penis. This leads to a curved or misshapen penis when erect. While it’s true that penises are shaped differently and that a slightly curved erection is no cause for any real concern, but with Peyronie’s Disease, the curvature is such that erections are painful. Occasionally, the curvature makes sex difficult at best or it is the cause of erectile dysfunction.
This disease sometimes goes away on its own, however, for most cases, it tends to either become stable or it can become worse. If the curve is severe enough, it might require surgical intervention.
Common Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
Symptoms of Peyronie’s can occur in a few days or gradually. The most common symptoms are:
- Unexplained pain in the penis, even without an erection
- A significant bend to the penis. Some bend down towards the floor, others take on an hourglass look, or it could bend to one side.
- The penis looks shorter due to the curvature
- Problems maintaining an erection
- You feel flat lumps of hard tissue (which is scar tissue) under the skin
This scar tissue is made up of plaque, but not the kind that clogs your arteries. This plaque is benign. It is not a tumor, nor is it cancerous.
The most common areas for this type of scar tissue to form is the top or the bottom of the penis, however, it can also grow on the sides.
Unfortunately, doctors don’t fully understand how or why this disease develops; however, doctors believe the following are Partial Causes:
- It appears that Peyronie’s Disease occurs after repeated injury to the penis, such as from sports activities, accidents, or rough sex. This doesn’t seem to have happened to everyone, however.
- While the penis is healing, scar tissue begins to form in a disorganized way, which can lead to a nodule which men can feel under the skin.
- Peyronie’s Disease does not allow the sponge-like chambers to stretch as they fill with blood, causing the penis to bend.
- Some men find that, even though they don’t recall being injured, Peyronie’s Disease simply starts slowly for no apparent reason. Scientists are unsure if there is a genetic trait or type of health condition that would cause this.
Researchers do seem to think that there is a hereditary factor for some men.
If your father or brother has this disease, you have a higher risk of developing it also. This disease also seems to affect men over the age of 55, however, men of any age can and have developed Peyronie’s Disease.
Since the disease sometimes reverses itself, some researchers believe that this is a type of autoimmune disease. This would mean that the body doesn’t recognize parts of the penis as normal parts of the body and tries to protect it by creating these layers of scar tissue.