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Definition of Peyronie’s Disease and Curved penis
A condition in which a hardened, fibrous plaque forms within the connective tissue of the penis, causing a contracture that pulls the penis into a curved position. Researchers do not know what causes the plaque to form. Some believe it represents an autoimmune response (overreaction of the immune system) and others that it occurs as a reaction to traumatic injury.
Peyronie’s disease generally affects men age 50 and older.
The contracture often causes pain, particularly when the penis is erect, and interferes with or prevents sexual intercourse.
Treatment and Risks
The doctor can usually diagnose Peyronie’s disease on physical examination of the penis. The plaque is both visible and palpable. The doctor may request an ultrasound of the penis, which shows the extensiveness of the plaque.
In about a third of men who have Peyronie’s disease the plaque softens and goes away on its own. In other men the curvature progresses to a certain point and then remains stable. It is important to evaluate the potential risks compared to benefits for proposed treatments, which include injecting the plaque with a medication to dissolve the fibrous tissue and surgery to remove the plaque.
A key risk of either procedure is erectile dysfunction (inability to obtain erections). Generally these treatments are most appropriate when the contracture completely prevents sexual intercourse.
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