Peyronie’s disease

Dr Mark Porter / 08 February 2017 ( 25 November 2019 )

Dr Porter advises a reader who has noticed a change in the shape of his penis.

Q: I have developed a painful bend in my penis whenever I get an erection. Could you tell me why it has developed after sixty problem-free years and whether there is anything I can do about it?

A: At least 1 in 20 men develop some curvature in their penis when erect (Peyronie’s disease). The problem typically starts in middle-age and is caused by the formation of fibrous scars in the wall of the penis that can’t stretch with the rest of the tissues as they become engorged, resulting in a bend.

Peyronie's disease

Peyronie’s is associated with a number of underlying problems including diabetes, high cholesterol levels, raised blood pressure and Dupuytren’s contracture (scarring in the palm of the hand that curls the little finger in), but the exact cause remains unclear.

Peyronie’s disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

Left to its own devices the curvature gets worse in around half of all cases, but the pain tends to settle within a year or two, and many men learn to live with their Peyronie’s regarding it as nothing more than a curiosity.

There are lots of suggested treatments for more troublesome cases, ranging from vitamin E supplements to cortisone injections, but the effects are often disappointing and surgery to remove the scarred area remains the method of choice in people whose sex lives are severely affected. 

Living with Peyronie’s disease: the impact on sex and relationships

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