Greater Viagra use and increase of Peyronie’s disease
In a 2002 article in the International Journal of Impotence Research about possible causes of Peyronie’s disease, authored by Sikka and Hellstrom of Tulane University, these two medical researchers observed that with the increased use of Viagra, Peyronie’s disease also increased.
In my work with the Peyronie’s Disease Institute, while corresponding with six to 10 men daily who have Peyronie’s disease concerning various aspects of their problem, I have also made this observation – that with greater use of Viagra, Peyronie’s diseases clearly increases. The difference between Drs. Sikka and Hellstrom’s and my explanation why Peyronie’s disease is becoming more common as the use of Viagra – and other PDE5 drugs like Cialis and Levitra – increases around the world.
Their explanation, quoting Drs. Sikka and Hellstrom’s report:
“Peyronie's disease usually affects 13% of males between the ages of 40 and 70, and the number of patients with such lesions have increased since the advent of oral sildenafil (Viagra, Pfizer) either because more men are becoming manifest and/or not hesitant anymore to come to clinics for such evaluations.”
In other words, these two Tulane researchers say the only reason PD appears to be increasing is that more men are willing to talk about it, now that men are talking more about erectile dysfunction with the greater awareness brought about with the frequent TV and magazine ads about this problem and drug solution of it.
While they offer the simple explanation that because men are becoming less hesitant to talk about their sexual problems, they assume more men are inclined to enter medical clinics asking for help – like asking for a prescription for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. That is certainly a possible explanation of perhaps some merit. But that does not match my experience in talking with men who actually have Peyronie’s disease.
Peyronie's and Viagra
Men I talk to about starting Peyronie’s treatment still ask about how the mailing package will be labeled and if the return address will mention “Peyronie’s disease,” lest their letter carrier will learn they have PD. I am asked if the credit card statement will mention that their therapy products are for treatment of PD, lest someone at the credit card company will learn they have PD. I am asked by men how to explain the problem of Peyronie’s disease to a new girl friend so that she will not be scared away from a relationship with someone who has a disease of the penis. I talk with men who do not want to talk at work about their PD lest someone overhears the conversation. I learn from men that the worse thing about PD is not the pain associated with the scar development, but the loss of penile girth and length – something that most men would seem hesitant to tell the world about.
I do not doubt for an instant that men are more relaxed and casual about admitting to a problem with erectile dysfunction, and more willing to ask for a Viagra prescription than they were a few years ago. This is a more sexually open society – for good or for bad. Yet, I doubt that men are just as willing to admit that they have Peyronie’s disease in which their penis is shockingly smaller than average or that can be so distorted as to be incapable of entry to engage sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction is one problem related to advancing age that perhaps has some dignity related to it and hope of easy drug solution, but Peyronie’s disease might not be seen in the same way since it is associated with permanent deformity and reduction of the size of the male organ.
My opinion is that Drs. Sikka and Hellstrom are reluctant to discuss the possibility that these PDE5 drugs sporadically, irregularly and without warning cause severe injury to the tunica albuginea by extensive over-inflation of the corpora cavernosa of the penis. The mechanism of this possible route of injury was discussed on 8-17-09 in the Peyronie’s Disease blog under the title, Peyronie’s Disease Treatment and Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, and again on 8-1-10 under the title Viagra, Cialis and Levitra Use with Peyronie’s Disease.
These doctor’s hesitance to discuss or speculate that the increase of PD parallels the increase use of these drugs due to yet another drug side-effect of yet another group of drugs itself can be speculated upon. Each man with PD must make up his own mind if this possibility makes sense to him, and if it is further reasonable to avoid the use of these drugs if he wishes to avoid further injury to his penis.