Scarring of the erectile tissue of the penis, causing it to bend at an angle when erect
In Peyronie’s disease, the fibrous tissue of the penis becomes thickened, causing it to bend during erection. The penis may bend so much that sexual intercourse is difficult and painful. The disease occurs in 3–9 per cent of men, most commonly in those over 40.
In many cases, there is no apparent cause for the condition, but previous damage to the penis may be a risk factor. Peyronie’s disease is also associated with Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition in which fibrous tissue in the palm of the hand becomes thick and shortened. Peyronie’s disease sometimes runs in families, suggesting that a genetic factor is involved.
The symptoms of Peyronie’s disease develop gradually and may include:
Curvature of the penis to one side during an erection.
Pain in the penis on erection.
Thickened area within the penis that can usually be felt as a firm nodule when the penis is flaccid.
Eventually, the thickened region may extend to the erectile tissue and the condition may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Peyronie’s disease sometimes improves without any treatment. In mild cases, in which painless intercourse is still possible, treatment is often not necessary. However, in other cases, the condition becomes worse if left untreated.
If the condition is severe, the penis may be straightened surgically. If the disease has led to erectile dysfunction, a permanent implant may be surgically inserted into the penis to correct the deformity and restore erectile function.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.