Peyronie’s Disease (PD) affects approximately 9% of males, most often men in middle age, and is not only physically damaging but can be psychologically damaging too, impacting a man’s confidence, mental health and quality of life. Peyronie’s disease is the result of a problem in the way the body heals wounds.
Peyronie’s Plaque Formation and its Impact on the Penis
Peyronie’s Disease usually develops after an injury that causes bleeding inside the penis. These injuries are commonly associated with vigorous sexual activity, sports injuries to the penis, or traumatic masturbation. When the injury heals, scar tissue may form, and a plaque can develop. Over time, these plaques can grow and deform the erect penis, leading to pain and a sharp curvature during erections.
The penis is composed of three tubes: the hollow urethra responsible for carrying urine and semen, and two spongy tubes called the corpora cavernosa, which fill with blood during an erection to stiffen the penis. These three tubes are enclosed in a tough, fibrous sheath known as the tunica albuginea. When plaque forms within this sheath, it reduces its flexibility during the stiffening process, resulting in an abnormal curvature of the erect penis.
This less flexibility is caused by abnormal hard, fibrous lumps (plaques) forming inside the tunica albuginea of the penis and over time, these plaques can grow and deform the erect penis. The curvature of the penis is due to the fact that scar tissue does not stretch as well as normal tissue around it.
In 70% of cases the plaque forms on the top side of the penis (the dorsal side), sometimes plaques forms that go all the way around the penis. In severe cases, the plaque may collect calcium and become very hard indeed, almost like a bone. This may cause pain during sexual intercourse for both the man and his partner. Over time the curvature caused by the Peyronie’s plaque can increase to around 90 degrees.
Clinical Research on Peyronie’s Plaque Formation
Numerous studies have examined the underlying causes of plaque formation in Peyronie’s Disease. Research suggests that the most common trigger for plaque development is microtrauma to the tunica albuginea, which occurs during sexual activity or injuries to the genital area as mentioned earlier.
One study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine demonstrated that repetitive microtrauma caused by sexual activity is a significant risk factor for Peyronie’s Disease. The study found that men reporting more frequent and intense sexual activity were more likely to develop PD and experience more severe symptoms due to plaque formation. This emphasises the importance of recognising sexual habits as potential contributors to PD development.
Treatment Options and Clinical Approaches
Currently, there is no universally agreed-upon standard treatment for Peyronie’s Disease. Some cases of PD may improve over time without intervention. However, when symptoms persist or worsen, various treatment options are available, depending on the severity of the condition. You can find out more about Peyronie’s disease treatment options by following the link.
Shockwave Therapy for Peyronie’s Plaque
However, the development of shockwave therapy has transformed the treatment of Peyronie’s plaque. The treatment is completely non-invasive with the shockwaves helping to break up the plaque that has developed in the penis. Simultaneously, the unique combination of therapy’s that we have developed also manage Erectile Dysfunction which is a frequent comorbidity with Peyronie’s Disease.
If you think, or if you know, you have Peyronie’s plaque, please arrange to meet one of our specialists or urologists for a consultation to discover how we can treat you. Please call us now or complete the enquiry form below.