What Is Peyronie's Disease?
The first sign a patient has Peyronie’s disease is during an erection when their penis bends in a different direction from normal. This is caused because plaque or scar tissue has formed in part of the penis, stopping it from expanding in that area. As a result, the penis bends in the direction of the plaque or scar tissues, whilst the other sides of the penis expands as normal.
The penis curvature can be upwards, downwards, to the side or occasionally around the circumference. A patient may also notice a physical lump or hardening of skin in the afflicted area of the penis. However, this is not always the case and a consultant can detect the plaque using diagnostic ultrasound.
Many men are too embarrassed to discuss their penis problems with a doctor, especially a female one, and allow their condition to progress further without treatment. Over time the condition can get worse leading to increased penis curvature as the plaque inside the penis increases.
Another problem then arises as blood flow through the blood vessels decreases leading to partial erectile dysfunction. Some, but not all patients will also experience different levels of penis pain. Sexual intercourse becomes much more difficult due to both the bend and a softening of the penis, reducing both the girth and the length.
A Check List of Peyronie’s Symptoms
If you suffer from any of the following symptoms you could be one of the 9% of men in the UK currently suffering from Peyronie’s disease (Induratio Penis Plastica) and should seek medical advice:
- Bump, lump or hard section on side of penis
- Bent or curved penis in any direction
- Pain within the penis upon erection
- Decrease in penile girth and length
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hard penis near the girth but much softer near the head
The severity of a bent penis depends on where the plaque is formed and its size and shape. Some patients may experience a slight or no bend but suffer a greater degree of erectile dysfunction.
Whereas Peyronie’s disease is indiscriminate, affecting men of all ages, certain patients are more prone to a build-up of plaque. This includes Type 1 diabetics; those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol; patients with high triglycerides; or a type of fat (lipid) in the blood.
Smoking or tobacco usage can also be a contributing factor. Peyronie’s disease can also be caused by trauma ranging from the bending of the penis during sexual intercourse, through to being hit in the most delicate of areas by a football.
Treating Peyronie’s Disease
Prior to the availability of Extra Corporeal Focused Shockwave Therapy patients were faced with a choice of dramatic invasive surgery. These included penile implants, where the patient ceases to have a natural erection and relies on a manual pump, and penile plication where the unaffected areas of the penis are reduced in length to straighten the penis. This could result in a loss of erect penis size of up to 2 inches.
Focused shockwave therapy was originally used to break up kidney stones. Now we use it to break up the plaque in the penis. The plaque is naturally passed out of the body. Following treatment, the penis straightens, blood vessels are reinvigorated new blood vessels developed and nerve tissue stimulated.
Focused shockwave therapy has had a tremendous success rate and some patients who have been unable to have satisfactory sex for up to a decade have rediscovered their sex life within the space of a few weeks.
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