Peyronie’s Disease

What is it?

Peyronie’s disease is a condition that is rarely heard of but is believed to affect around 1 in every 100 men. It is usually found in middle aged men, but can be detected in any age group. It is a condition where a lump develops on the penis, starting out as a small swelling, and then turning into a toughened scar. This can lead to the penis bending more to one side, or in some cases, making the penis shorter. This can cause great levels of pain by reducing flexibility. There is no link to cancer.

What causes it?

This condition can be caused by a physical trauma, if the penis has been twisted or hit, and there are associations with illnesses such as fibrosis. Ageing is a factor due to the flexibility of body tissue gradually decreasing over time. There is still some uncertainty as to what the key cause is.

Can it be treated?

If the condition is mild it will typically clear up without any treatment during a period of six months or more. Surgery is an option, but most doctors prefer to leave it unless the plaque is causing great discomfort and prohibiting sexual activity.  The wait for surgery can take anything up to two years to see if the condition can clear up through other treatments. They include:

  • Vitamin E pills – Help to lessen the pain and penis distortion
  • Para-aminobenzoate pills – Another form of tablets that can decrease the pain and help improve the condition
  • Verapamil – Medication often used to help in cases of high blood pressure, but which has also shown signs of reducing the abscess and lessening pain
  • Radiation therapy – Has no effect on the plaque itself but can help to reduce pain. However, side-effects can include nausea, loss of appetite and pain while passing urine
  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy – Relatively new treatment involving low- frequency shockwaves being sent to the infected area through a machine. Side-effects may include reddening, nausea and bruising

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