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Peyronie Disease

(Peyronie's Disease)

by Patrick J. Shenot, MD

Peyronie disease is a fibrous thickening that contracts and deforms the penis, distorting the shape of an erection.

Many men have a small degree of curvature of their erect penis. Peyronie disease causes a more severe curvature. Inflammation inside the penis results in the formation of fibrous scar tissue that causes curvature in the erect penis, making penetration during sexual intercourse difficult or impossible. However, what causes the inflammation is not known with certainty.

The condition can make an erection painful. The scar tissue can extend into the erectile tissue (corpora cavernosa), causing erectile dysfunction.

Minor curvature that does not impair sexual function does not require treatment. Peyronie disease may resolve over several months without treatment. No treatment has proven clearly successful.

Vitamin E, which can aid wound healing and decrease scarring, may be taken by mouth. Para-aminobenzoate can also be taken by mouth but sometimes causes stomach pain or digestive problems and requires taking many pills each day. Corticosteroids or verapamil can be injected into the scar tissue to decrease inflammation and reduce scarring. Ultrasound treatments can stimulate blood flow, which may prevent further scarring. Radiation therapy may decrease pain but often worsens tissue damage. Surgery is not recommended unless the disease has progressed and the curvature has become too severe for successful intercourse. Surgery to remove the scar tissue shortens the penis and may worsen the disease or result in erectile dysfunction.

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