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Peyronie’s Disease

It seems that if any part of your body functions, then something is likely to go wrong with it as well. The Peyronie’s disease affects the penis, interfering with copulation in worst case scenarios. Becoming more prominent during an erection, it can cause panic and fear for one who does not know what is wrong with them, not to mention the embarrassment of having to explain what is wrong to your partner. It is formed when hard scar tissue grows beneath the skin of the penis.

Though the exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is unknown, there are some circumstances and incidences that increase the risk of someone developing the disease and they are discussed below.

• A fracture/injury/trauma to the penis during sex, or radiation treatment from treatment of prostate cancer can increase the risk of suffering this ailment. It should be noted however that majority of the patients are not aware of any injury and in fact for some cases the disease appears on its own without any related trauma.

• It is generally associated with middle aged men, with majority of reported cases affecting men between the ages of 40-60.

• Though it is a small percentage, men with Dupuytren’s contracture may sometimes develop the disease. Most sufferers are white men older than 50 years of age.

• Hereditary causes have been cited as men with the disease show a specific immune cell marker.

• Calcium channel blockers have been suggested to cause the disease (no proof of this), while beta-blockers list the disease as being a possible side effect of the drugs.

Symptoms
Ordinarily there is hardening of tissue either above or below the skin of the penis. During an erection the penis will bend depending on the location of the fibrous scar tissue, if the plaque is on the upper side (commonly) the penis bends upwards, but if it is on the under side then it will bend downward. The hardened tissue usually occurs near the top of the shaft.

There may also be narrowing and or shortening of the penis, pain during the erection and problems with penetration during copulation. All these make the act of sex quite difficult and many men will suffer esteem issues as a result. Also, one may experience an acute pain in the penis during sex, which may be accompanied by bruising and swelling.

In some cases, there is no bend (which is common) but instead there is indentations caused by the hardened scar tissue.

Tests and diagnosis
Even when the penis is limp, the hard tissue can be felt but the doctor may need to see the erect penis to be able to determine the extent of deformity caused by the bending. The erection may be induced by an injection or through self-stimulation. Alternatively, the patient can take a picture of the erect penis at home and show it to the doctor when they go in for examination.

Where the doctor suspects erectile dysfunction, an ultra sound may be ordered to determine the blood flow and how it has been affected by the hardening of the tissue and also to determine the exact location of the plaque.

Treatment
As with most diseases for which the cause is not known, the treatment procedure is variant and shaky. There is no concrete research that the treatments offered for this disease help ease or prevent it and since most patients will eventually heal on their own, doctors are reluctant to endorse any particular medication.

Medications include Corticosteroid injections directly into the plaque, pataba which is taken orally, vitamin E pills, and radiation therapy which is known to ease the pain but is not seen to do anything for the actual plaque.

Where the situation is severe and sex has become impossible, doctors will eventually recommend surgery though as it may result into impotence, it is only done as a last resort (with some doctors waiting for a period of a year and a half before scheduling the surgery) after it is clear that the ailment will not heal on its own. There are 3 surgical options and they are the Nesbit surgery, the penile prosthesis surgery, and the leriche technique surgery. The aim of all these surgeries is to return sexual function, but not much can be done to restore the penis to its original state before the narrowing and or shortening.

Conclusion
While Peyronie’s disease itself is not that painful (physically) except in extreme cases, the biggest problem comes from the implications attached. Because of the nature of the ailment, sex becomes uncomfortable and in some cases painful, the bending can make penetration impossible and this will cause issues between partners. We all like to think that when it comes to sex, things should go smoothly but in some cases they do not and people are unwilling to openly discuss the problem. Being the one with a bent and painful penis that can not achieve its purpose can destroy self esteem very fast, especially before you find out what is really wrong. Luckily, there are professionals out there who can help you and if you find yourself with any of these symptoms, just go into the ER and have a doctor take a look at you.

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