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  » Medical Topic Archive  »   Peyronie's disease

Peyronie's disease

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 envelop surrounding the penile corpora cavernosa.

Peyronies Disease is also formally known as "penile induration" or "Induratio Penis Plastica (IPP)" and colloquially as "bent nail syndrome". A French surgeon, Francois de la Peyronie, first described the disease in 1743. [1] [2] [3]


A certain degree of curvature of the penis is considered normal, as many men are born with this benign condition, commonly referred to as congenital curvature. This causes the penis to point in a direction other than directly forward, while still having a relatively straight shaft. Such curvature is not caused by Peyronie's Disease.


The disease may cause pain, hardened, cord-like lesions (scar tissue known as "plaques"), or abnormal curvature of the penis when erect. In addition, narrowing and or shortening of the penis may occur. Pain felt in the early stages of the disease often resolves in twelve to eighteen months. Erectile dysfunction, in varying degrees, often accompanies these symptoms in the later stages of the disease process. The condition may also make sexual intercourse painful and/or difficult, though many men report satisfactory intercourse in spite of the disease. Although it can affect men of any race and age, it is most commonly seen in caucasian males above the age of 40. Peyronie's Disease is not contagious, nor is it related in any way to cancer. The disease only affects men and is confined to the penis, although a substantial number of men with Peyronie's exhibit concurrent connective tissue disorders in the hand, and to a lesser degree, in the feet.
About 30 percent of men with Peyronie's disease develop fibrosis in other elastic tissues of the body, such as on the hand or foot, including Dupuytren's contracture of the hand. An increased incidence in genetically related males suggests a genetic component.

Diagnosis and treatment

A urologist can diagnose the disease and suggest treatment, and it is best to seek out a urologist who specializes in Peyronie's Disease, as the disease and its current treatments are not well understood by most urologists in general practice. Commonly prescribed oral treatments, such as Vitamin E and potassium aminobenzoate (Potaba), are probably ineffective. Newer agents targeting the basic mechanisms of inflammation have not yet been studied in larger clinical trials. Such medications include acetyl L-carnitine, propionyl L-carnitine, L-arginine, sildenafil (acting through phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition) and pentoxifylline (acting through TGF?1 inhibition). Surgery is considered a last resort and should only be performed by highly skilled urological surgeons knowledgeable in specialized corrective surgical techniques. Injections to plaques (scar tissue formed by the disease) with Verapamil may be effective in some patients. Use of Iontophoresis with Verapamil and Dexamethasone, applied to the affected areas has been studied but a recent placebo controlled trial failed to show a significant improvement. There are no clinical trials listed in the NIH trial registry. Always consult a qualified physician before starting any treatment regimen. Anecdotal evidence supports use of a vacuum erection device to exert gentle longitudinal forces on the plaque, and to lead to remodeling; this too is now being studied in a clinical trial. Never attempt to bend or force the erect penis back to its former alignment as this could cause serious injury and significantly worsen the condition.
Peyronie's Disease can be a physically and psychologically devastating disease. While most men will continue to be able to have sexual relations, they are likely to experience some degree of deformity and erectile dysfunction in the wake of the disease process. It is not uncommon for men afflicted with Peyronie's Disease to exhibit depression, withdrawal from their sexual partners, and an unwillingness to talk openly about their concerns with their partner and or their physician. Accordingly, seeking out a mental health professional is often recommended as an adjunct to medical treatment.

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