Approximately one man in every hundred has Peyronie’s disease, a disorder of the tunica albuginea, the tissue that makes up the penis. The disease occurs when scar tissue forms on the tunica albuginea and causes it to deteriorate. The disease usually affects men in their 20’s and older. The cause of Peyronie’s disease is not yet known. However, researchers have found that genetics and environment can contribute to the condition. Men with a family history of Peyronie’s disease may be more likely to develop the disorder.
In Peyronie’s disease, the tunica albuginea may become hard and inflamed, which can result in deformities and a short penis. The disease can affect men of all ages, but it’s more common in men with connective tissue disorders. There’s no single cause for the condition, and there’s no cure yet. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, restore intercourse and prevent complications.
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease usually involves a combination of medical and surgical treatments. Medical treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs and medicines taken by mouth. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help decrease swelling and lower the risk of infection. Verapamil, a drug used to treat high blood pressure, is also sometimes given to men with Peyronie’s disease. If the condition is causing erection problems, a device may be used to straighten the penis.
Surgery is considered when a man’s erection problems are severe. Depending on the type of surgery, the urologist may remove a plaque or patch the tunica albuginea. These procedures can be performed on either the upper or lower part of the penis. The goal of this surgery is to straighten the penis and restore its length.
Nonsurgical treatments may include injections and oral medicines. The doctor will examine the penis and may take pictures of the penis while it’s erect. The doctor may also perform an ultrasound of the penis to help diagnose the condition. In some cases, the doctor may perform a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis.
Peyronie’s disease may cause problems with sex, such as erectile dysfunction (ED). In cases that are severe, surgery may be performed to remove a plaque and restore erection. However, this surgery is not always effective, and men can still have a short penis after Peyronie’s disease. A penile traction device may also be used to help lengthen the penis. A penile traction device is an implant that may be placed into the penis to straighten the penis when it’s erect.
Men may also take colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug, for treatment. Some studies have shown that Xiaflex, an injectable drug, may be effective in treating Peyronie’s disease. This drug breaks down the plaque and weakens it. However, Xiaflex is expensive and requires four to ten injections. A prescription medicine, collagenase, is also given to men with Peyronie’s to help break down plaque.
Men who have Peyronie’s disease may also have Dupuytren’s contracture, which is a condition in which the palms of the fingers permanently close. During erection, the penis can be bent downward, and the skin may become indented. These deformities are common with Peyronie’s disease and Dupuytren’s contracture.