Just as people require food, shelter, financial stability, and peace of mind to stay happy and content, so do they need a healthy sexual routine with their partners to sustain happiness. Any form of disability arising from physical aspects can be a cause for concern, especially in men, and can affect one’s mental health as well as physical well-being. In this article, we will discuss Peyronie’s disease, how it is diagnosed, and what protection needs to be rendered to the penis.
What Is Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease is a rare form of the erectile dysfunction which results in a bent penis with painful erections. Different men have penis varying in size and shape and in most cases a bent penis does not pose as a cause for concern but the degree of curvature occurring in Peyronie’s is comparatively significant. The bend occurs due to the formation of non-cancerous, disorganized fibrous scar tissues developing on the penis. Some men also experience penile shortening as a result of this disease. In all, this condition often causes great discomfort in one’s sexual life as it makes getting or maintaining an erection difficult. The condition oftentimes prevails or worsens with time causing great anxiety and stress.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention at the onset of any visible changes in the shape or size of one’s penis or if they are experiencing erectile dysfunction in any form. Early detection and relevant medical intervention can help improve the condition and lessen the symptoms to some extent. For some people, symptoms stabilize anywhere between 3 – 12 months where the pain is said to improve within a year or 2, depending on the severity of the condition; although the pain, penile shortening and curvature may stay the same. In a few men, the condition improves without any treatment.
Causes And Symptoms
Although the exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is still under intensive research, few factors are said to contribute to its onset. They are:
- Repeated penile injury during athletics.
- Injury to the penis incurred during an accident
- A penile injury incurred during sex. Although this is rare it does happen.
- In some cases, the disease gradually develops unrelated to external injuries.
Some common symptoms of Peyronie’s disease that develop either suddenly or with time are as follows:
- The appearance of scar tissue under the penis skin, as flat lumps, when touched, is an early sign of the disease.
- A conspicuously bend penis either upward-facing, downward-facing, or to anyone side.
- Difficulty in getting or upholding an erection.
- length of the penis gets shortened.
- Uncalled for penile pain either during an erection or after.
- Other penile abnormalities in shape and size.
Doctors often rely on physical examinations to identify the occurrence of Peyronie’s disease. Some methods of diagnosis are as follows:
- The doctor feels the presence of scar tissues in the penis to exactly locate it as well as to determine the amount of tissue present. This test known as palpation is done in the absence of an erection. The doctor will be able to analyze as to what extent the penis has shortened from this initial examination. The doctor would also request to present pictures of the erect penis to understand the exact extent of the problem. Medications are then prescribed depending on the findings from the examination.
- The doctor also uses the Peyronie’s Disease Questionnaire or PDQ, containing 15-items tests in terms of psychological and physical symptoms related to Peyronie’s disease, which also gives an idea about the severity of those symptoms. From this, the doctor determines the type of treatment to be meted out.
- Other testing options include testing an erect penis using images procured from sound waves from an ultrasound scan, along with other tests that are conducted for the same. The scan is carried out after an injection has been administered into the penis that causes the erection. This helps the doctor to better analyze the situation. In most cases, ultrasound of the penis helps to understand relevant penile abnormalities as they help to spot the presence of scar tissues, the amount of blood flow, etc.
- The doctor also measures the length of the penis and request X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans to detect changes within the penis.
- Blood tests are another technique through which doctors determine the intensity of Peyronie’s disease in some men. These tests help assess the levels of testosterone. However, results rendered from this test may not give the most accurate diagnosis. But it cannot be completely ruled out because prolonged erectile dysfunction does suggest a progression to Peyronie’s in certain cases.
Who Is At Risk
Studies have helped researchers and doctors determine that hereditary factors and the age of a person seem to have a significant role in the onset of Peyronie’s disease. Those above 50 years of age experience the disease more in severity as compared to younger men. Also, men with Dupuytren’s contracture, which is a connective tissue disorder, stand at a greater risk for developing this disease. Excessive smoking, certain types of prostate surgery also seem to have a link with this disease. It is important to note that minor injuries to the penis do not lead to Peyronie’s disease but if the wound healing is impaired leading to scar tissue formation then it could lead to the onset of this disease.
Protect The Penis
Together with your partner, you can take certain measures to avoid the incidence of Peyronie’s disease:
- Take medications for any prevalent erectile dysfunctional condition before it is too late, as this can lead to Peyronie’s if neglected for long.
- In case your partner lacks natural vaginal lubrication, opt for over-the-counter, safe lubricants.
- In case the penis slips during intercourse guide it back in using the hands.
- Have sexual intercourse only when the body feels energized and ready to ensure a firm erection.
- Avoid sex if you have consumed too much alcohol.
- Follow safe sexual routines rather than the ones that would cause bending of the penis during intercourse.
- Men being on top is a safer sexual position during intercourse as this avoids pressure on the penis, as it may bend otherwise.
- Educate yourself and your partner in terms of safe sexual practices. Prevention is always better than cure.
- Speak to a doctor and don’t feel shy or embarrassed if you notice any changes in the shape or size of your penis. Early detection often helps to slow the progress.
Never shy away from addressing problems related to your sexual life, first and foremost with your partner and then together take it to the attention of a medical expert. Our sexual health is as important as any other aspect of our lives. It not only leaves us feeling content and rejuvenated, but also helps to improve and maintain a healthy relationship with our partner. Often there’s a taboo when it comes to discussions on sex and related topics due to which people hide their discomforts and shortcomings. As a result, diseases that could have been cured go neglected and the condition deteriorates. Understanding Peyronie’s and other forms of erectile dysfunctions and abnormalities not only gives one an idea about the disease but it also helps people to take precautions and treatments as and when needed.