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Peyronie’s Disease: An Overview

Oct 27, 2011

You might have heard about Peyronie’s disease. It’s a condition that causes an erect penis to curve or bend in one direction. The curve is caused by plaques – hardened areas of scar tissue. Plaques make the penis lose some of its elasticity, so that when an erection occurs, the affected area can’t fully stretch. This makes the penis bend.

For some men, the curve is slight and doesn’t cause any problems. But for others, the curve is severe and makes intercourse difficult. Some men with Peyronie’s can’t have intercourse at all. The degree of the curve varies from man to man, but in some cases, it’s as much as 90 degrees.

Treatment of Peyronie’s disease usually involves surgery or a penile prosthesis.

While researchers aren’t completely sure what causes Peyronie’s disease, many professionals believe that it starts with an injury to the penis. This injury may be so subtle the man doesn’t realize it. Not all penile injuries lead to Peyronie’s disease, of course. But for a man with this condition, the wound does not heal properly, leading to the troublesome scar tissue.

Can Peyronie’s disease be prevented?

This question is hard to answer. Common risk factors for Peyronie’s disease include:

·         Heredity. If your father or brother has Peyronie’s, you are more likely to get it yourself.

·         Connective tissue disorders. The most common is Dupuytren’s contracture, which causes a similar problem with the hand. Thickened tissue keeps fingers in a bent position.

·         Age. As men get older, they are more likely to develop Peyronie’s disease. Also, tissues change as you get older, which may make harder to recover from injury.

There isn’t much you can do about these risk factors. What you can do is protect your penis from injury.

How might a penis become injured?

Your penis can be injured in a variety of ways. They don’t always cause pain and some are considered typical “wear and tear, ” especially as men age.

·         Sports injuries. Be sure to always protect your penis when you’re playing sports. Misguided balls, equipment, and tackles can do some damage.

·         Accidents. These can be as simple as moving your erect penis the wrong way when you tuck it into your underwear. You can also cause injury by rolling over on your penis when you’re sleeping, if you’re having a nocturnal erection.

·         Vigorous sex. It may feel right, but sometimes too much force causes the penis to move in an awkward way or bump into a partner’s pubic bone, causing injury. Vigorous masturbation can cause injury, too.

·         Certain sexual positions. The woman-on-top position, for example, is more likely to cause injury because a woman can unknowingly bend the penis too far. Similarly, rear-entry vaginal intercourse can bend the penis too much at its base.

Can you fracture your penis?

Yes. The same issues above can cause penis fracture, although there are no bones in the penis to actually break. The term “penis fracture” refers to a tear in the tunica albuginea. This is the tissue that lines the corpus cavernosum – the part of the penis that fills with blood when erect.

If you fracture your penis, you’ll know it. Often, you can hear a pop or crack when it happens. Many times, you’ll see blood and/or purple bruises. Some men are unable to urinate after a penis fracture. As you might expect, penis fracture can also be quite painful.

Penis fracture needs quick medical attention and sometimes requires surgery. Without treatment, it’s possible to develop Peyronie’s or erectile difficulties.

Protect your penis.

Take care to avoid penile injury during sports and sex. And if you think you’ve injured your penis, be sure to see your physician as soon as possible.