Peyronie’s disease is caused by scar tissue, called plaque, that forms inside the penis, making it curve upward or to the side, causing discomfort and penile deformity.
Signs may develop slowly or appear overnight and, although the disease is most common in middle-aged men, younger and older men can also be diagnosed. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to reach out to a medical professional:
1. Scar tissue under the skin
The plaque associated with Peyronie’s disease can be felt under the skin of the penis as flat lumps or a band of hard tissue.
Many men are able to feel plaque under their skin. These may feel soft at first and become firmer as they develop over time. The plaque can occur anywhere along the shaft of the penis but often appears on the upper side. This is a result of a buildup of excess collagen and development of scar tissue within the penis.
2. Penile pain
Your partner might have penile pain, which for many, is one of the first noticeable symptoms.
Although the pain usually occurs during an erection, it can also occur when the penis is flaccid due to inflammation in the area where the plaque is forming.
Pain during an erection may be caused by tension on the plaque as the nearby tissues expand. Fortunately for most men, pain resolves within 6 months after it begins, but we still urge you to schedule an appointment and get it checked out.
3. Penile deformity
Because plaques are made up of scar tissue, they do not stretch like normal tissues in the penis, preventing the affected area from expanding properly during an erection. This leads to changes in the shape of the penis (penile deformity).
The penis bends toward the area where the plaque is located. The most common curvature is upward (caused by a plaque on the top of the penis), but curvature downward or to the left or right also occurs. Some men with multiple plaques may have curvature in more than one direction.
When the penis is soft, you often can’t see a problem. But in severe cases, the hardened plaque hampers flexibility, causing pain and forcing the penis to bend or arc when erect.
4. Shortening and narrowing
As a result of Peyronie’s disease, the penis might become shorter and/or narrower. This is due to a bilateral or circumferential disease in which the tunica albuginea does not expand.
Shortening may occur with or without curvature if the plaque is located farther within the penis and may be noticeable with or without an erection.
In some cases, the erect penis might have narrowing, indentations or an hourglass appearance, with a tight, narrow band around the shaft. This is often due to plaques present on opposite sides of the penis.
5. Erectile Dysfunction
Peyronie’s disease might cause men to have problems getting or maintaining an erection for a number of reasons. Psychologically, men with Peyronie’s disease often feel depressed about their situation and anxious about sexual activity, and result in erectile issues.
Physically, penile curvature and other deformities can make sexual intercourse difficult or impossible.
If your partner is having trouble getting an erection, it might be due to restricted blood flow. If the penis doesn’t have enough blood it will not be able to form an erection, and if the plaques cause blood to leave the penis too quickly, the man will likely lose the erection.
Indentations and hourglass deformities can also cause interferences as it can lead to penile instability, or buckling, during penetration. The greater the degree of curvature, the more likely it is to interfere with the ability to have intercourse.
If your partner has Peyronie’s disease, he should talk to his doctor. The condition can be managed and the doctor can help determine what course of treatment is most appropriate.
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