What is Peyronie’s disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a disorder impacting the connective tissues within the penis. This disease causes a lack of blood flow to the penis, which eventually causes the penis to become curved or bent.
If the penis bends or curves at an unusual angle when erect, the cause is likely to be Peyronie’s disease. Some men notice an overall reduction in the size of their penis, as well. Erectile dysfunction and penile pain can occur in some cases of Peyronie’s disease. If the density of the penile tissue seems to change, it may be an early indicator of Peyronie’s disease.
The cause of Peyronie’s disease isn’t definitively known at this time. There may be a connection to physical trauma or injury to the penis. While the connection isn’t certain, it’s possible that there is a family link, with multiple men in the same family sometimes having the condition. It’s also possible that certain medications may contribute to or cause Peyronie’s disease, although this connection hasn’t been proved.
Men over 40 have an elevated risk for Peyronie’s disease, although it can occur in men of any age. Connective tissue disorders, for example Dupuytren’s contracture, also put men at elevated risk for Peyronie’s disease.
A physical exam is the first step in diagnosing Peyronie’s disease. The penis will be measured and evaluated to note the location and density of scar tissue. An ultrasound or X-ray imaging may also be done.
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease depends on the individual and their symptoms. In some cases, it will resolve on its own. Only one medication, Xiaflex®, is FDA approved for the treatment of Peyronie’s disease. This medication is injected directly into the penis, where it begins breaking down the excess scar tissue.
Other medications, including oral verapamil and interferon, aren’t specifically made for Peyronie’s disease but may be helpful in dealing with the disease. Certain lifestyle changes, including stopping smoking, lowering alcohol consumption, and increased exercise, may also be helpful. Surgery may also be used, particularly in severe cases of Peyronie’s disease. Surgical procedures can even out the affected part of the penis with the unaffected part.
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