Medical experts define Peyronie’s disease as a disorder in the male reproductive organ, the penis. This is characterized by a scar tissue that builds up under the skin of the penis. This scar tissue is called a plaque. Effects of Peyronie’s Disease plaques cause the penis to bend and indented during erection. Such issues are usually felt through the skin and cause pain to the penis.
What are the signs of having the disease?
Effects of Peyronie’s Disease plaque build-up usually forms at the dorsal side of the penis, making it stiff and turning upwards when it is erect. While if the plaque develops at the bottom of the side, the penis will bend down or to the side. For some cases, calcium builds up and hardens like a bone, Other noticeable changes aside from bent penis are lumps in the penis, painful erections, and uncomfortable during sexual intercourse due to bent penis.
What causes Peyronie’s Disease?
This is caused by several factors such as injury to the penis, vitamin E deficiency, intake of beta-blocking drugs, serotonin level elevation, vigorous sex, or due to an autoimmune disease. This is also one rare condition of erectile dysfunction or the difficulty of a man getting an erection.
There are 2 phases or stages. The acute phase is characterized by the formation of plaque which can last up to 18 months. This stage is the onset of the penis to begin bending and the person may feel pain during erections. The chronic stage is described as a stable period within 12 to 18 months where the plaque does not worsen any more, penile curvature is not exaggerated, and erectile dysfunction becomes worse.
How is it diagnosed?
This condition is diagnosed with a physical exam of the penis with a doctor. A doctor can also inject the penis to make it stiff and check on the degree of curvature or bending. An ultrasound procedure is also done to check how the plaque is situated and how blood flows in the penis. If you are found to have this disease, the only way to treat it is to reverse its effects as there is no immediate cure. Here are some procedures that can be done:
This treatment also considers non-drug treatment. A common technique is shock wave therapy. This involves the use of mechanical equipment including vacuum-dependent machines and low radiotherapy machines. This procedure aims to reduce the pain with the use of low-intensity electronic shockwaves and to stretch and bend the penis to reduce curving with a traction device.
Another method is the use of an injection with a collagenase enzyme to breakdown the tissue that builds up, reduces the bending in the penis, and reduces plaque size. Once the plaque is decreased and bending is improved, the person can feel relief in pain and be able to maintain an erection. Verapamil injection is also believed to work for penile pain, curving, and swelling. It is low in cost and a good option for Peyronie’s disease treatment. Both of these procedures can be successful for patients who are under the acute phase of Peyronie’s disease.
A urologist can recommend surgery if the symptoms do not improve within 18 to 24 months, if the person experiences pain during erection, or if the person is incapable to do sexual intercourse. But they do not immediately recommend this until the plaque and the bending stabilizes. This can be done upon diagnosis of the chronic stage of the disease. There are three ways of how the surgery is done: Making the side of the penis that is located opposite of the plaque shorter, making the side of the penis that is bent longer, and inserting a prosthetic device inside the penis to keep it straight. Usually, this is an inflatable pump or a molded silicone rod to aid in penis enlargement and make the penis capable of sexual intercourse because it is already stiff. This procedure does not require long days of confinement. Some would just leave the hospital the next day after surgery.
Some oral prescriptions are being given to patients who are in the acute phase. Although some studies are not yet still convinced with some of these oral drugs. These are some oral drugs that can be taken:
Vitamin E was observed to lessen the effects of peyronie’s disease build-up in the penis and help straighten the penis. Vitamin E is also known as an antioxidant and is affordable. Another oral drug is Tamoxifen, a non-steroidal drug that hastens plaque growth. Although these drugs have not yet been proven to be 100% working, some men still take it to see slight improvements.
Generally, men do not need long periods of recovery especially for surgical procedures. But along with the treatment, they would need emotional support to deal with this kind of disease. The urologist can recommend a therapist alongside as he does the treatment for this condition to manage any feelings of anxiety, depression, and maintain intimacy especially between a man and his partner.