Peyronie's disease is a very common penile condition in men that can interfere with the afflicted man's sexual life and activity. Basically, Peyronie's disease is the medical term used to describe the situation where a patient's penis is abnormally bent or curved to the point where significant pain is seen during an erection and interferes with the man's sexual activity. Although many men have some curvature present when experiencing an erection, as penises obviously vary in size and their shape, in cases labeled as Peyronie's disease the significant curvature exhibited may cause a significant amount of pain and result in interference with having normal sexual intercourse. The disease is therefore also commonly linked and associated with erectile dysfunction (ED) by many urologists and urological experts when discussing the causes and treatments of ED.
Facts About Peyronie's Disease
It is estimated that approximately ten percent (10%) of all men in the United States suffer from this condition. Although it can affect men at any age, the incidence of occurrence does significantly increase with a man's age. Greater than 200,000 new cases are diagnosed every year nationwide, although many feel this number may actually be significantly higher because of the possibility for self-diagnosis that exists. Although the disease can affect males of any age or race, interestingly some recent findings seem to indicate that there may be a genetic predisposition, as genetically related men may show a higher incidence of occurrence as compared to non-genetically related males in the US population.
Although the actual cause of Peyronie's disease is not really well documented or thoroughly understood, most experts agree that it is most likely caused by previous damage or an injury to a man's penis through physical activity or sexual intercourse. Many men who are diagnosed and suffer with the disease cannot, however, remember any specific traumatic event or injury that can be linked or associated to the onset of their individual condition. What is known is that fibrous scar tissue within the penis forms in the tunica albuginea (the thick sheath of tissue surrounding the corpora cavernosa) resulting in the pronounced abnormal curvature, erectile dysfunction and severe pain experienced during sexual intercourse. Additionally, the patient may exhibit such symptoms such as penile shortening, reduction of penis girth and severe indentation. In the most severe cases of Peyronie's disease, calcium collecting within the "plaque" can actually be felt by the patient. Typical symptoms that the patient may experience include:
- a bent or curved penis
- difficulty for a man when having sex because of a a bent or curved penis
- actual physical lumps in the penis
- painful and/or soft erections
Most people associate Peyronie's disease with simply an abnormal curvature of the penis, but the condition is also sometimes manifested as divots or indentations on the patient's penis rather than the significant curvature. Lastly, although the disease is actually confined to just a man's penis, upwards of thirty percent (30%) of men afflicted with Peyronie's also exhibit simultaneous connective tissue disorders in their hands and their feet.
Treatment Of Peyronie's Disease
An experienced urologist may use an ultrasound in order to diagnose the disorder. This can sometimes lead to conclusive evidence and thus help the physician to rule out congenital curvature or other disorders in a patient.
One study showed the following results in regards to not treating Peyronie's disease:
- Approximately half of the subjects (50%) got progressively worse over time
- A little over ten percent of patients (12 to 13%) improved without any treatment
- About a third (35%) remained about the same
Treatment of Peyronie's disease is considered to be essential for some patients because an estimated 75% of all men who suffer from it are stressed and depressed as a result of having it. Treatments include medication, plasma enrichment, penile traction devices, physical therapy, surgery and counseling. Below is a brief discussion of the most commonly used therapies.
This injectable medication is actually an enzyme that has been proven to "dismantle" the collagen buildup in a man's penis that is associated with Peyronie's disease. It was approved for use in the US in December of 2013 and is sometimes called by its European name of Xiapex. Produced by a bacteria known as Clostridium histolyticum, Xiaflex is the only biologic therapy currently approved in the US for the treatment of Peyronie's disease. It is a prescription medication and is prescribed to adult males who have significant "plaque" present that can actually be felt, plus a curve of greater than thirty degrees in their penis.
According to the manufacturer, Xiaflex can result in serious injuries to a patient's penis. An injection of the medication can potentially cause damage to the vessels called the corpora, resulting in what is known as a corporal rupture or penile fracture. When one of these "tubes" breaks during an erection, the damage may not get better and sometimes requires surgery to fix. Additionally, Xiaflex treatment may cause blood vessels in a man's penis to "break" resulting in hematomas that may need to be drained. Other common side effects include itching, swollen lymph nodes, pain and minor bruising. Less than one percent of patients experience an allergic reaction to Xiaflex therapy.
The Priapus Shot
Also commonly referred to as the P-Shot, the Priapus Shot uses what is known as PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy in the treatment of Peyronie's disease. The treatment has been shown in some cases to result in a very dramatic improvement in both the shape and functionality of the patient's penis. In certain individuals there has been a "dramatic" correction to the bend in the penis.
Basically the procedure involves taking a patient's own blood and then concentrating the natural "healing factors" found in the blood (such as stem cells and growth factors). After being separated from the red and white blood cells using a specialized centrifuge, the concentrated "healing factors" are then re-injected into the patient's penile area. The entire procedure can be accomplished in less than fifteen minutes and is not considered to be a surgical procedure.
Phallosan Forte is one product in a class of devices called penis extenders or penile traction devices. The theory of their use in Pyronie's disease is based on the concept that stretching a patient's penis by using tension may result in reducing the penile curvature. Phallosan is a stretching device that combines both traction and vacuum technology. By utilizing prolonged stretching to help straighten the penile curvature, Phallosan can also help with erection quality and erectile dysfunction, both common among Peyronie's patients. Additionally, Phallosan is the only traction device that can be safely used while sleeping which is a significant benefit to many patients.
Although not actually a curative treatment for patient's with Peyronie's disease, the use of penile implants to treat the erectile dysfunction commonly associated with the disease warrants some discussion. Penile implants are a surgical procedure where a medical device called a penile prosthesis (or implant) is surgically implanted within a patient's penis. This procedure is an option when the less invasive treatments for ED (such as oral drugs or vacuum erection devices) prove to be unsuccessful or are contraindicated in a patient. There are two types of penile implant devices: non-inflatable (semirigid) devices and inflatable (hydraulic) devices.
Questions about the treatments for Peyronie's disease? Contact Philadelphia Urology Associates for Answers
At Philadelphia Urology Associates, Dr. Bruce Sloane is a nationally renowned specialist in Men's Health issues and Age Management Medicine. Throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, patients seek his expertise to treat Peyronie's disease and the erectile dysfunction associated with it. Using state-of-the-art equipment and having extensive specialized education and training, Dr. Sloane is considered to be the leading urologist in the tri-state area for penile implants to treat Peyronie's disease induced erectile dysfunction and other forms of ED.
If you have any questions about the treatments available for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) or other urological disorders, we urge you to contact us now online or call us at (215) 563-1199 today to discuss how we can help you!