Peyronie’s disease, characterized by a bent penis, is among those secret medical conditions that seldom come to light until individuals or their partners are directly affected. However, it is a significant condition impacting up to 1 in 10 men in the UK, exerting a profound influence on relationships and a man’s sexual well-being.
So, what precisely is Peyronie’s Disease, and why the prevailing secrecy?
To start the positive news, Peyronie’s disease does not lead to mortality. It is not catching and does not compromise a man’s physical health. Despite its name, it is not a disease per se but rather a misnamed medical condition. Yet, the excellent news wanes as Peyronie’s disease can substantially alter the lives of those afflicted by it.
The primary facet of Peyronie’s disease is the progressive deformation of the male organ. This can occur abruptly or gradually over time. The alteration in shape is indiscriminate, with the most common deformation being an upward curve ranging from a subtle banana-like bend to an angle of 90 degrees or more. However, it can also curve in any direction, sideways or downwards. Some individuals experience a dual curvature, with bends occurring in different directions. Additional symptoms encompass indentation, where the erect penis appears to have segments excised or an hourglass shape, where the penis retains normalcy at the top and bottom but constricts in the middle like an hourglass.
The manifestations do not conclude there; many men also observe a weakening of erections, and some may develop full-fledged Erectile Dysfunction. Shrinkage is a prevalent issue, and, in some instances, the erect penis can contract in length by 20 to 30% while losing considerable girth. The experience varies for each man, leading to partial erectile function preceding the deformity and a lack of rigidity post-bend or deformed region. Pain is joint in the initial stages, ranging from severe to mild throbbing, and sexual sensitivity often diminishes.
For those affected, these implications make sexual activity exceedingly challenging and, regrettably, often unattainable. It can also severely impact a man’s self-perception; one study indicated that 90% of men with Peyronie’s disease suffer from depression. This psychological distress can be attributed, in part, to the sheer embarrassment associated with possessing a deformed penis. From early adolescence, particularly during puberty, considerable emphasis is placed on notions of manhood, causing many boys and teenagers to grapple with anxieties related to these concerns.
So, how does one develop Peyronie’s Disease, and is prevention feasible? Multiple causes contribute to Peyronie’s Disease, with injury to the penis being the most prevalent. Trauma can induce scarring or fibrosis beneath the penile skin, disrupting the usual expansion and contraction during erections. Various forms of injuries, including those incurred during sexual activities or sports like rugby, may precipitate Peyronie’s disease. Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as Dupuytren’s and Lederhosen’s disease, exhibit direct correlations. Diabetes and high blood pressure, affecting blood flow, elevate the likelihood of Peyronie’s Disease. Moreover, surgeries like prostate cancer surgery can also lead to the development of both Peyronie’s disease and ED.
For those recently diagnosed or waking up with a bent penis, seeking information and advice is crucial. A valuable online resource, an active UK Forum moderated by Peyronie’s disease sufferers, can be found at www.peyroniesforum.co.uk. The NHS offers basic information on Peyronie’s disease, but for comprehensive treatment options, private clinics such as Mansmatters, based in Central London, may provide more diverse choices than those available on the NHS.
If residing in the UK, the initial step typically involves consulting a local General Practitioner. However, expectations of extensive knowledge of such conditions from General Practitioners may be unrealistic, as they deal with many medical conditions. Individuals are often referred to specialist consultants called Urologists, but the prolonged wait times within the NHS can exceed two years. The NHS commonly prescribes a penile pump and PDE5 inhibitors, with surgery being an option based on the severity of the deformity.
There are three principal surgical approaches include:
Nesbit Technique: Shortening one side of the penis to align with the scarred side, resulting in a straighter but shorter erection.
Penile Implants: Reserved for cases with severe curvature or Erectile Dysfunction; this involves the surgical insertion of a prosthesis that facilitates erection and straightening.
Surgical Grafting: Removal of scarring, replaced with a graft; however, this operation is less common in the UK due to potential complications.
Apart from NHS options, private treatments include extracorporeal shockwave therapy, Electro Magnetic Transduction Therapy (EMTT), NanoVi, penile injections, and stem cells, which do not necessitate surgery. Shockwave therapy employs sound waves to target scarring, aiding in its breakdown and remodeling, increasing blood flow, and improving nerve and sensitivity functions. These non-surgical treatments are gaining popularity among men. Top of Form