Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which fibrous scar tissues called plaques form beneath the skin of the penis, causing curved and often painful erections which can make sexual intercourse difficult or impossible. Peyronie’s disease plaque is different from plaque that builds up in blood vessels.

The cause of Peyronie's disease is not well understood, but causes are thought to include having underlying conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and injury (microtrauma) to the penis. It may affect 6% of men between ages of 40 and 70 years, possibly more men since likely underreported.

If the scarring affects the blood vessels that supply the corpus cavernosum (the two spongy tubes in the penis that enable erections), erectile dysfunction may develop. 

Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease can improve on their own without treatment. Moreover, not all men with Peyronie's disease will develop pain or sexual dysfunction, even when the curvature of the penis is significantly altered.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to cure Peyronie's disease?

    In about 13% of cases, Peyronie’s disease goes away with no treatment; in others, it can be  permanent. Not all men experience symptoms that are significant enough to cause problems with sexual activity. When treatment is necessary, it may involve medication (injections into penile plaque; traction, and/or surgery (such as plication, excision/incision and grafting).

  • What causes Peyronie's disease?

    Peyronie’s disease is primarily caused by a problem with wound healing in the penis. As such, trauma to the penis is thought to be a significant cause. Injury can result from vigorous intercourse, an accident, or a sports injury. Risk factors include underlying health conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and conditions associated with inflammation and scarring.

  • What does Peyronie's disease look like?

    Peyronie’s disease is characterized by a bend or curvature in the penis when erect. Depending on where plaques occur, bends or curves can bend upward or downward, with left or right deviation possible as well. If plaques form all around the penis, an “hourglass” shape can occur. Shortening of the penis is also possible. There can be pain associated with penile plaque.

Key Terms

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Erectile Dysfunction
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  1. Russo GI, Milenkovic U. Clinical Efficacy of Injection and Mechanical Therapy for Peyronie's Disease: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Eur Urol. 2018 Dec;74(6):767-781. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2018.07.005

  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Peyronie’s Disease.

  3. Mayo Clinic. Peyronie’s disease. Diagnosis and Treatment.

  4. Alom M, Sharma KL, Toussi A, et al. Efficacy of Combined Collagenase Clostridium histolyticum and RestoreX Penile Traction Therapy in Men with Peyronie's Disease. J Sex Med. 2019 Jun;16(6):891-900. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.03.007.

  5. Russo GI, Milenkovic U, Hellstrom W, et al. Clinical Efficacy of Injection and Mechanical Therapy for Peyronie's Disease: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Eur Urol. 2018 Dec;74(6):767-781. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2018.07.005.

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