According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, as many as one in 11 men have Peyronie’s disease, making it a relatively common problem. Even so, many patients don’t understand what it is or what happens when you have it.
Dr. Paul Chung and his staff have the knowledge and skills to effectively treat Peyronie’s disease, as well as to help you understand the disease and what you should expect with or without treatment. In this post, we explain how it typically develops and the stages you may go through as the disease progresses.
Before we discuss Peyronie’s, we need to talk about the structure of a penis. Your penis has three parts: the corpora cavernosa, the tunica albuginea, and the urethra.
The corpora cavernosa and the tunica albuginea are, together, the erectile bodies—the parts that allow you to have an erection. The corpora cavernosa is a spongy tissue that fills with blood during an erection and the tunica albuginea is a tough tissue that covers it. The tunica albuginea is the part that makes your erection the size and shape that it is.
In men who have Peyronie’s disease, there’s scar tissue on the tunica albuginea. Scar tissue doesn’t stretch like normal tissue and that causes the curvature associated with Peyronie’s disease. The scar tissue can harden to the same degree as bone. Not all patients however have a scar tissue that can be felt. Some patients may also benefit from ultrasound examination to identify whether plaques are present.
The acute phase
The acute phase is when the scar tissue, which are sometimes called plaques, forms. It usually lasts from six months to a year, but can last longer. During this stage, you probably feel pain when your penis gets hard.
The chronic phase
After the plaques have formed, they stop growing. The bend in your penis doesn’t get worse, and you may no longer feel pain when your penis is hard.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease
Along with the bend and pain during the acute phase, you may also notice your penis seems shorter than it was before, you may have erectile dysfunction, and you may find penetration difficult.
Peyronie’s disease can be psychologically and emotionally upsetting, and you may find it embarrassing to discuss even with your doctor. However, a specialist like Dr. Chung is trained in helping men with this kind of problem, and there are treatments for Peyronie’s disease.
Even if the pain stops and the bend in your penis doesn’t worsen, there are good reasons to seek treatment for Peyronie’s disease. Several options are available, and Dr. Chung can recommend the one that’s likely to suit your situation best.
Injections are often successful. One drug, Xiaflex®, is approved by the FDA to treat Peyronie’s disease. Through a series of injections, along with manual modeling, the plaque breaks apart and your curvature lessens.
Penile plication involves using stitches on the unaffected side of your penis to straighten it out. This is a quick procedure that usually only takes about 30 to 45 minutes and reduces the curvature to less than 10 degrees.
Surgical removal of the plaque is another potentially effective treatment. A penile implant is also a possible treatment option for patients who also experience erectioe dysfunction.
The best treatment for you depends on many factors and Dr. Chung’s recommendations are tailored specifically to meet your needs. Your age, the stage of disease progression, your overall health, and many other considerations are always part of conversation with Dr. Chung when he discusses your options with you.
If you have Peyronie’s disease or suspect that you might, schedule your appointment at either of Dr. Chung’s office locations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.