Understanding Peyronie’s Disease

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You may be seeing advertisements for a new FDA-approved treatment for something called “PD.” Simply put, PD, or Peyronie’s Disease, is a curvature of the penis. Although it may be a little unsettling when it’s first noticed, PD is more common than you might think. In fact, it’s estimated that about 10% of men in the U.S. have some degree of PD. It typically presents as a painful, incomplete erection that occurs sometime after an injury from forceful intercourse. Scar tissue may develop and lead to a firm lump that restricts the elongation of the penis with an erection.

There are many treatment options for PD and it may be more effective if done in the early stages, especially if there is pain and worsening curvature. Surgical and nonsurgical treatments are available. Nonsurgical options include anti-inflammatories and shockwave therapy and are typically most helpful during the early, painful stage. Although extracorporeal shockwave therapy showed small non-significant decreases in curvature and plaque in studies, it did work well for a reduction in pain. Some men also commonly use vacuum pump devices and manual traction to reduce the curve in their penis. The effectiveness of these methods is still being determined.

Injections of various medications are typically used in the stable stage of PD, where most of the healing has taken place. In this stage, what is left is the characteristic curvature that men notice when they get an erection. In cases that are more severe or resistant to conservative treatments, surgery might be a final consideration. For men that can maintain a strong erection and find that the curve doesn’t interfere with sexual activity, surgical or nonsurgical treatment may not be needed.

The most useful takeaway from all of this information? After a painful injury to the penis, early intervention can minimize the degree of damage you are left with in the form of a curved penis and problematic erections.