Peyronie’s disease is a connective tissue disorder involving the growth of fibrous plaques in the soft tissue of the penis affecting as many as 1-4% of men. Specifically the fibrosing process occurs in the tunica albuginea, a fibrous envelope surrounding the penile corpora cavernosa.
In past ages, when people frowned upon the very thought of diseases that affect the genital organs and when there was little understanding of illnesses and their causes, its quite easy to guess why nobody wanted to bring up this topic. The natural fear of impotence or sexually transmitted diseases was bad enough in those times.
What causes Peyronie’s disease?
Scar tissue under the skin of the penis causes the curve. No one knows why the scar tissue starts. Some men with Peyronie’s disease have had a penis injury that causes scar tissue. The scar tissue feels like a ridge or a row of tiny bumps. The scar tissue can keep getting worse during the first few years, making the penis curve more and more. You might notice this more during an erection. After a few years, the scar tissue usually stops getting worse, but it doesn’t go away.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Peyronie’s disease may appear overnight or develop more slowly. These may include:
* Painful erection
* A thick band of hard tissue on one or more sides
* Impaired ability to obtain an erection
Because the course of Peyronie’s disease is different in each patient and because some patients experience improvement without treatment, medical experts suggest waiting 1 to 2 years or longer before attempting to correct it surgically. During that wait, patients often are willing to undergo treatments whose effectiveness has not been proven.
Some researchers have given vitamin E orally to men with Peyronie’s disease in small-scale studies and have reported improvements. Yet, no controlled studies have established the effectiveness of vitamin E therapy. Similar inconclusive success has been attributed to oral application of para-aminobenzoate, a substance belonging to the family of B-complex molecules.
Surgery is usually performed after several years when the disease is stabilised and the deformity prevents intercourse. Because the plaque of Peyronie’s disease often shrinks or disappears without treatment, medical experts suggest waiting one to two years or longer before attempting to correct it surgically.