According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), about 1 in every 100 men in the United States has been diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease. However, researchers believe the number may be much higher, perhaps as high as 1 in 10.
Dr. Paul Chung is a highly qualified reconstructive urologist, and an expert in treating Peyronie’s disease. Most men who have Peyronie’s disease are embarrassed by it, but when you’re speaking to someone with expertise and compassion, there’s no reason for embarrassment. In fact, Dr. Chung can offer treatment options so that you don’t have to live with the uncomfortable or painful symptoms.
A short description of Peyronie’s disease
Peyronie’s disease is a disorder that causes fibrous scar tissue to form on the penis. The scar tissue is called plaque, but it’s not the same as plaque that can build up in blood vessels.
The plaque associated with Peyronie’s disease forms in the tunica albuginea, which is a thick membrane that helps keep your penis stiff when you have an erection. The plaque pulls on the tissue around it, causing your penis to curve when you have an erection.
The curve can make an erection painful, and make it difficult or even impossible to have sexual intercourse. Peyronie’s disease typically has an acute phase, where the plaque is forming and you experience pain, with or sometimes without an erection, and a chronic phase, where the curve stabilizes and stops worsening and you likely have less pain and may develop erectile dysfunction.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease
Before your penis begins to curve, you may be able to feel a hard nodule under the skin of your penis, which is the plaque forming. Most of the time plaque forms on the top of the penis, but it may develop on the sides or bottom. In some instances, the plaque forms in a circle around the penis and creates a deformity referred to as waisting or bottlenecking.
Along with the formation of a curve, the plaque can cause your penis to shrink or become shorter.
Risk factors for Peyronie’s disease
Scientists don’t fully understand why some men develop Peyronie’s disease. There may be a connection between penile trauma and Peyronie’s disease, so if you’ve injured your penis during intercourse, playing sports, or in an accident, you may have a higher risk.
Another connective tissue disorder called Dupuytren’s contracture, which causes the connective tissue in your hand to shorten, pulling your fingers inward, appears to be associated with a higher risk of Peyronie’s disease. Researchers don’t know how the two conditions are linked.
Certain autoimmune diseases, like lupus and Behcet’s disease also raise the risk of Peyronie’s disease.
A family history of Peyronie’s disease makes it more likely you’ll develop the condition. The risk of developing Peyronie’s disease increases with age. It can occur at any age, but few men in their 20s or 30s develop Peyronie’s disease.
Diabetes that causes erectile dysfunction is another factor that increases the likelihood of Peyronie’s disease. If you’ve had surgery for prostate cancer, you also have a higher risk of Peyronie’s disease.
Whether you have symptoms or risk factors for Peyronie’s disease, if it’s a concern for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chung at either of the two offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or the Cherry Hill, New Jersey location. He understands you may feel uncomfortable discussing it, but it’s worth it to find out whether you have Peyronie’s disease and what you can do about it if you do.