Our bodies change as we get older. Men approaching middle age may become concerned with erectile dysfunction (ED). ED can have many common underlying causes, some that have a more direct result with your sexual anatomy than others.
One condition that can lead to ED is Peyronie's disease (pronounced pay-roe-NEEZ), which results from a build up of scar tissue in your penis. Untreated cases of Peyronie’s disease can cause sexual dysfunction and shortening of your penis.
Peyronie’s disease often goes undetected, and you may not have considered it as a possible cause of ED. In fact, some estimates place its prevalence anywhere between less than one percent and 23%, which shows just how many men may not realize they have it.
If you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, or Greater South Florida area and you’re showing signs or ED from Peyronie's disease or other causes there is help available. Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester and the caring staff at the Urology Center of Florida have years of experience helping men these and other urological needs.
This disease is a type of noncancerous fibrous tissue that develops on the penis, which can result in the bending of your penis and a great deal of pain. Dealing with this can make it difficult to get an erection and shorten your penis, affecting your ability to have sex. This disease doesn’t go away on its own and may get worse the longer you have it.
This disease has two phases, acute and chronic. The acute phase is when the disease starts showing symptoms and lasts two to four weeks, sometimes longer. The chronic phase is what happens once the condition is stable and there are no longer any changes. Within a year or two the pain of the condition may stabilize in chronic phase but the other effects will remain without treatment (though in some cases the curving and shortening can improve on its own).
The cause of this condition isn’t completely understood, but trauma to the penis through sex or injury can lead to it. A family history of Peyronie's disease can increase your chance of getting it, along with connective tissue disorders, other types of ED, prostate cancer, autoimmune disorders, and age.
Peyronie’s disease is most common among men between 45-60 years old. If you’re within that age group, knowing the early signs can make a massive difference in your sexual health. Early diagnosis can protect you from serious changes to the shape and function of your penis and make treatment much easier.
Early signs can be sudden or gradual, but catching it early will help chances to treat the condition before it gets worse. Symptoms include:
The scar tissue that comes with this disease is called plaque, but it’s nothing like the stuff on your teeth or what builds up in your blood vessels with heart disease. You will feel it under the skin in flat lumps or a band of tissue around the penis.
This means your penis could bend or curve upward, downward, or side to side, as a result of the effect the scar tissue is having on it.
The scarring and bending can make getting or keeping an erection more difficult, and is typical of men dealing with this condition early on.
Pain in the penis is a symptom you can get with this condition whether you are erect or not.
In some cases, the effect the scar tissue can have on your penis can extend beyond just bending or curving in odd directions. Narrowing, indentations, or even an hourglass type shape (forming a narrow band around the shaft) can happen as well.
Methods of treatment will depend on the stage and severity of your case. Some minor cases may not require treatment at all, but it’s important to have your doctor confirm whether that applies to you. You and your doctor may start with “watchful waiting,” where you check in regularly about the progress of the disease to determine if and when to start certain treatments.
In the acute phase, your specialist may recommend therapeutic stretching exercises to avoid losing length and minimize the curving and bending of the penis. These may be combined with oral or injectable medication.
When Peyronie’s disease reaches the chronic phase, these methods may still apply. In some cases, surgery, such as a penile implant, may be the best option to correct changes to the shape of your penis and improve sexual function. Your doctor only uses surgery if noninvasive methods do not work.
Peyronie's disease may be a depressing and embarrassing condition to deal with, but treatments are available. If you think you may have the early signs, make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester and the Urology Center of Florida today to get treatment.