Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie's disease affects the tissues of the penis, causing abnormal curvature. Peyronie's can lead to painful erections, pain during sex, and distress or depression. Usually, the symptoms of Peyronie's disease are only present when the penis is fully or partially erect. The plaque occurs from an abnormal bend or "pop" during sexual intercourse. It can also result from an external trauma to the penis.

symptoms of peyronie's disease.
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Frequent Symptoms

Most of the major symptoms of Peyronie's disease are physical. However, changes in a person's erection can also lead to sexual or psychological dysfunction. Both types of symptoms can be addressed with treatment.

Not all cases of Peyronie's disease require treatment and, other than curvature, many symptoms improve with time.

Curvature of the Penis

Curving of the penis is caused by the growth of plaques or scars in the fibrous tissue that surrounds the erectile bodies—the tunica albuginea.

These hardened areas are less flexible, and the penis bends toward them as it becomes erect. The extent of curvature of the penis depends on the number, position, and size of the plaques. Plaques may not yet have formed in men who have active disease, which is why their penises do not appear curved.

Unfortunately, in order for healthcare providers to observe curvature directly, the penis must be erect. As such, healthcare providers may use an intracavernosal injection test to cause an erection in the office setting.

The size of the plaque and degree of angulation will be measured to help with treatment recommendations.

Pain During Erection

Pain during arousal and intercourse is not uncommon during the early, active stage of Peyronie's. This pain usually decreases with time, as the scarring in the penis becomes stable. Pain should generally go away over the course of a year for many, and curvature should also stabilize after that period of time.

Difficulties with Erection and Sex

Often Peyronie's causes difficulty getting or sustaining an erection. Erectile dysfunction may be the result of pain or caused by deformities of the penis.

Problems with sex can occur if the penis becomes curved in a way that makes penetration difficult to achieve or painful, both for the person with Peyronie's or their sexual partner. They may also be the result of changes in self-image and other signs of stress.

Shortening of the Penis

Just as scar tissue on one side of the penis makes it difficult for that area to stretch—causing a bend—scar tissue on both sides of the penis, or through the penis, may cause the penis to become shorter. Shortening of the penis is more likely to happen if there is extensive scarring.

Active Disease Versus Stable Disease

Peyronie's disease is classified as either active disease or stable disease.

With active disease, the main symptom is penile pain with or without an erection. There may be problems with erectile function. Deformity may or may not yet be visible.

With stable disease, symptoms have not changed for at least three months. Usually, there is no pain, or only mild pain, when the penis is flaccid. There is noticeable curvature when the penis is erect.

Rare Symptoms

In rare cases, men with Peyronie's disease may no longer be able to engage in any sexual penetration. However, treatment can often help restore at least some sexual function to even men with significant functional impairment and extreme penile curvature.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Some treatments for Peyronie's disease are most effective early in the disease process before there is any visible penile curvature. Therefore, if you are experiencing pain during erection, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a urologist.

This is particularly true if you have experienced recent trauma to the penis. This may have been noticeable as a sharp pain during sex or unusual swelling.

Any new pain with erection is worth getting checked out. The same is true if you suddenly have more difficulty getting or keeping an erection.

There may be things your healthcare provider can do to help, even if you don't have Peyronie's disease.

If you notice a new curve to your penis, that's also worth talking to a practitioner about. After an initial evaluation, your healthcare provider may suggest that you give your condition time to stabilize before you try any treatment or other intervention. For many men with minimal curvature, no pain, and no difficulty with sex, treatment is not indicated.

When to See a Mental Health Professional

Stress and depression are common reactions to changes in sexual function as well as shortening of the penis.

These symptoms can cause some patients with Peyronie's disease to feel as though there is an issue with their masculinity. This is particularly a problem for those individuals for whom the size and function of their penis is a core part of their identity.

Research suggests that erectile dysfunction may be more linked to how bothered people are by their symptoms than by the symptoms themselves. Therefore, if you have Peyronie's disease, it's important to find someone to talk to.

A good therapist can provide a safe place for you to explore how you are reacting to your penile curvature, as well as how it is affecting your life. Being able to come to terms with the new shape of your penis will likely help you feel better and improve your sexual function.

That said, if your Peyronie's disease is affecting your sex life, it may also be a good idea to speak with a sex therapist. Sex therapists are specially trained in dealing with sexual health problems, and they can work with you and your partner to find ways to make your sex life less stressful and more pleasurable.

For example, for some people, taking the emphasis off of intercourse can allow for more enjoyable sexual exploration. And for some people with Peyronie's disease, reducing the stress associated with how the disease impacts their own sexual expectations may allow them to get rid of those expectations and return to the enjoyment of penetrative sex.

If you have previously been diagnosed with Peyronie's disease and your curve has become worse, gotten more painful, or started to make sex difficult, you may want to check in with your medical professional again. Although many of the more invasive treatments are not used until after your condition has stabilized, your r will want to know if your symptoms are getting worse.

You should also check in with your healthcare provider if your curve has stabilized in a way that is making sex difficult or painful for you or your sexual partner(s). That's the point at which more invasive treatment options can start to make sense.

Peyronie’s Disease Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Man

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you feel the plaques in the penis when you have Peyronie's disease?

    Usually, you can. The scars can be felt under the surface of the skin of the penis and may feel like a ridge of small bumps. The plaques may calcify until they're as hard as bone in severe cases.

  • Is Peyronie's disease a permanent condition?

    It may be. Scarring during the acute phase of the disease may not go away. The pain that occurs early on will subside, but any changes in the appearance of the penis due to scarring will remain unless treated, typically with surgery.

  • What will happen if Peyronie's disease isn't treated?

    If Peyronie's disease isn't diagnosed and treated at the first signs of pain, the injured tissue is likely to form the plaques (scars) that force the penis out of its normal shape. Around 20% of the time, Peyronie's will resolve without scarring, 40% of the time it will stabilize, and 40% of cases will become progressively worse.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Terrier JE, Nelson CJ. Psychological aspects of Peyronie's diseaseTransl Androl Urol. 2016;5(3):290–295. doi:10.21037/tau.2016.05.14

  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Peyronie's Disease.

  3. American Urological Association. Peyronie's Disease Guideline.

  4. International Society for Sexual Medicine. How might Peyronie’s disease cause erectile dysfunction?

  5. Hartzell R. Psychosexual symptoms and treatment of Peyronie's disease within a collaborative care model. Sex Med. 2014;2(4):168-77. doi:10.1002/sm2.45

  6. American Academy of Family Physicians. Peyronie's Disease.

  7. Urology Care Foundation. What is Peyronie's disease?

Additional Reading

By Elizabeth Boskey, PhD
Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, MPH, CHES, is a social worker, adjunct lecturer, and expert writer in the field of sexually transmitted diseases.