How to Protect Your Penis From Peyronie’s Disease

When buying a new car, you get an owner’s manual to teach you how to use and care for the car to make it run well and last longer. Unfortunately, men don’t get an owner’s manual for their penis. As a result, most men don’t know that sexual intercourse can damage their penis, causing a deformity that makes further sexual activity difficult or even impossible.

Peyronie’s disease—which makes the penis bend or curve when erect—affects about nine percent of men between ages 40 and 75. While called a “disease,” it’s actually the most common injury of the penis.

Far less common are other traumas, such as zipper injuries and athletic injuries. When you’re playing sports, hormones trigger a fight-or-flight response in your body, causing your penis to shrink and withdraw. This action protects your penis, even if you’re not wearing an athletic cup. During sex, however, your penis is enlarged and engaged, putting it at risk for damage.

This “Penis Owner’s Manual” will help you learn how to better care for your penis and reduce your chance of getting Peyronie’s disease.

Danger of Erectile Dysfunction

Men in their 20s typically have highly rigid erections—a nine or 10 on a 10-point scale. As you age, your erections become less rigid. When your erections aren’t rigid enough for sexual intercourse at least half the time, you have erectile dysfunction (ED).

If you have an erection that is a five or six on a 10-point scale, you still may be able to have sexual intercourse. However, during regular thrusting, your penis may not stay straight. This bending during sex can damage the elastic tissue inside your penis.

You probably won’t see or feel this damage at first. And further sex may cause more damage over time, all painless.

As your penis heals, scar tissue forms inside around the erection chambers. That scar tissue isn’t as elastic as the normal tissue. That means it doesn’t stretch as well during an erection, which can make your penis look bent or shorter or dented.

What Causes Peyronie's Disease?

How to Protect Your Penis

There are several things you and your partner can do to help protect your penis from Peyronie’s disease:

  1. Take ED medications: Most men who see a doctor about ED do so once it becomes nearly impossible to have sex. But that may be too late to prevent Peyronie’s disease. Men should seek treatment as soon as they begin to notice weaker erections, around a five, six or seven on a 10-point scale. I call that “erectile insufficiency.” It’s a precursor to ED, which usually happens gradually, over time. The firmer you can keep your erections, the less likely you’ll get Peyronie’s disease.
  2. Lubricate: If your female partner doesn’t have enough natural vaginal lubrication, use an over-the-counter lubricant. If your penis slips out of the vagina during intercourse, use your hand to guide it back in.
  3. Stay on top: When you’re on the bottom and your female partner is on top, your penis may be forced to bend more.
  4. Go straight in and out: Avoid movements that could cause your penis to bend during thrusting.
  5. Be alert: Avoid sex when you’re too tired or have had too much alcohol. Your erection may not stay as firm.

    It’s Bent. Now What?

    If you develop Peyronie’s disease but the bend doesn’t cause pain or make sexual intercourse difficult, you don’t need to treat it. The deformity may be permanent, but if you can still function with it, it’s not a concern.

    Even in the case of functional Peyronie's disease, you don’t want to damage your penis more and make the deformity worse. Follow the guidelines above. You may need to improve your erections to prevent further damage.

    If you have mild pain during erections, it could mean the tissue inside your penis is still healing. It can take one to three years for healing to be complete, depending on how often the damage is aggravated.

    For severe deformities, there are surgical treatments to straighten the penis. An outpatient procedure called “plication” can shorten the long side of the erect penis. (Your erection will be a little shorter, but your penis will be straight). Or a surgeon can remove the scar tissue and replace it with a graft collected from somewhere else on your body. This procedure requires a longer recovery and can worsen ED. 

    The best option is to follow the instructions in this “Penis Owner’s Manual” so you keep your penis healthy and reduce your risk of Peyronie’s disease.

    Recognizing and Treating a Penile Fracture
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