Why is my penis curved? An overview of Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s Disease or penile curvature: an overview
Peyronie’s Disease (pronounced pay-roe-NEEZ disease)—or penile curvature— occurs when scar tissue develops inside the penis, causing curved, painful erections.
In Peyronie’s Disease, scar tissue, also known as a plaque, builds up on the inside the tissues within the penis, most commonly at the top or the bottom of the penis. As the plaque builds up, the penis can bend or curve during an erection. This can be very painful, and can make sexual intercourse very painful, difficult, or even impossible. The curvature of the penis can worsen as more plaque builds up over time.
The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is not yet known, but it is thought to be the result of acute injury to the penis, chronic/repeated injury to the penis, or an autoimmune disease. Acute or repeated penile injury can result in bleeding or swelling within the penis tissues. If blood can’t flow normally in and out of the penis after the injury, blood clots may form and trap immune system cells inside. As the injury heals, the immune system cells may release substances that can cause too much scar tissue to form. Similarly, in autoimmune diseases, immune cells may attack the penis, and this can lead to inflammation and scarring. In both of these cases, the scar tissue then can build up and harden, reducing the flexibility and elasticity of the penis during an erection and leading to pain and a curved appearance.
The plaque that develops in Peyronie’s Disease is not harmful to other parts of the body. It is benign (non-cancerous), it is not a tumor, and it is not the same type of plaque that builds up in a person’s arteries. It is not caused by any known disease, and it is not contagious.
Aside from being painful and causing penile curvature, Peyronie’s Disease also causes stress and anxiety for many men.
Risk factors for Peyronie’s Disease
If you participate in any vigorous activities (sexual or nonsexual) that can cause tiny injuries to the penis, you may be at higher risk of Peyronie’s Disease. Some autoimmune or connective tissue disorders also increase the chance of having Peyronie’s Disease. You are also more likely to have Peyronie’s Disease if you have a family history of Peyronie’s Disease. Your risk increases as you get older.
Peyronie’s Disease is common: researchers estimate that Peyronie’s Disease may affect up to a quarter of men between ages 40 and 70.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s Disease can be recognized by any of the following:
- Scar tissue under the skin of the penis that feel like flat lumps or a hard band of tissue;
- A noticeable, significant bend to the penis (upward, downward, or to one side);
- Abnormal shaping of the penis (such as narrowing, indentations, or an hourglass shape);
- Pain in the penis, with or without an erection;
- Erection problems; or
- Penile shortening.
Peyronie’s Disease can sometimes go away on its own, but more commonly, it stays the same or gets worse over time. The pain during erections can improve after one or two years, but the scar tissue and curvature often remain.
What should I do if I have penile curvature or painful erections?
See a urologist if the curve or pain in your penis makes sex difficult or impossible, or if it causes you anxiety. An individualized treatment plan may be needed.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best urologist doctor in NYC for the treatment of Peyronie’s Disease.