Peyronie’s disease (or PD) is scarring underneath the skin of the penis that can cause curved, painful erections. Depending on the severity of symptoms, there have been reported cases of Peyronie’s disease healing itself. However, this is rare. There’s no way to prevent PD, and there’s no cure.
In a typical case, a medical professional will need to intervene and administer treatment. These therapies can include medications, injections, or surgery. By reducing symptoms of PD, these procedures are designed to promote healthier sex lives for those affected.
Signs of Peyronie’s Disease
Many men have curved penises and experience no difficulty in sexual activity. Penis shape should only be a concern if it impedes intercourse or results in painful erections.
The most common symptoms of Peyronie’s disease include:
- A noticeable change in penile texture.
- A significant upward or downward bend of the penis.
- Painful erections.
- Shortening of the penis.
- A marked difference in penile shape.
These symptoms can impact a man’s ability to achieve orgasm or conceive a child. According to Translational Andrology and Urology, over 50% of men with PD report difficulties in their romantic relationships. From the same study, 80% of men reported high distress levels that resulted from their condition. Often, men will suffer from this condition for many years before reporting it to a medical professional. The Albert Einstein Medical Center notes that only 44% of men will discuss issues regarding sexual function with their doctor.
Potential Causes of PD
It’s not entirely clear why some men develop PD, and others don’t. Research from Reviews in Urology indicates that PD begins forming after a trauma to the penis. This injury may include a blow to the area while the penis is or is not erect.
However, some men suffer from PD without any known incident. The signs of this condition may gradually develop over time. Men around 55 years of age are most likely to experience symptoms related to this condition, according to University of Utah Health.
Scar Tissue in the Penis
PD forms when scar tissue builds up underneath the skin of the penis. This tissue, called plaque, may have calcium collect around it, which creates fibrosis.
As the penis becomes erect, the scar tissue limits the elasticity of the area. This prevents the erection from forming as normal, causing the curvature of the penis that is a hallmark of PD.
A GAINSWave® provider can diagnose PD and then decide upon a course of treatment. Our medical professionals will first begin with a physical exam to identify the location and severity of penile scar tissue. If the doctor is aware of a patient’s medical history, they may also be able to determine whether the penis has shortened. The provider may inject the patient with medication to induce an erection, which will give them insight into the extent of curvature.
Imaging scans, such as ultrasounds or X-rays, may be performed to measure the amount of blood flow to the penis. Only then can a doctor properly diagnose the patient.
Treatment of PD
Sometimes, doctors will use a “wait and see” approach to treatment, hoping the signs of PD will resolve on its own. If the case is mild, this may prove to be an effective strategy.
In more severe cases, doctors may attempt multiple procedures to alleviate the symptoms of PD.
These treatment options offer different levels of invasiveness:
- Doctors may try various drugs to soften the scar tissue and remove calcium deposits in the penis. Oral prescriptions are usually the first treatment option for Peyronie’s disease. Some doctors may even ask the sufferer to greatly increase his vitamin E intake to improve blood flow.
- These subcutaneous shots are designed to temporarily dilate the blood vessels in the penis, promoting circulatory function. Sometimes, depending on the type of medication administered, scar tissue can break up over time.
- For extremely severe cases of PD, doctors may recommend surgery. This may mean removing the scar tissue during the operation. In other cases, the doctor may recommend adding a penile implant, which straightens the erect penis.
Additional factors that may influence a course of treatment include a patient’s stage of life, overall well-being, and hormone levels.
Finding Non-Invasive Relief From PD
In its advanced stages, Peyronie’s disease rarely heals itself. Without medical intervention, it’s likely to deeply impact the lives of those affected not only sexually, but psychologically as well.
However, there’s another revolutionary option that’s changing the lives of men nationwide. GAINSWave® therapy is a cutting-edge treatment that uses high-frequency, low-intensity shockwaves to break down the scar tissue that causes PD. This non-invasive procedure requires no medications, no shots, and it’s often done in house by an authorized caregiver. It’s designed to alleviate symptoms relating to erectile dysfunction and promote a better sex life.
Learn more about this state-of-the-art therapy by contacting a GAINSWave® treatment provider near you.