Men sometimes refer to Peyronie’s disease simply as peyronie or peyronies. Recently a more accurate term has appeared, “Chronic Inflammation of Tunica Albuginea,” or CITA.
Peyronie disease is a connective tissue disorder of unknown origin in which variable sized fibrous nodules or “plaques” or “scars” develop in an internal tissue envelop, called the tunica albuginea, around the long penile chambers, called the corpora cavernosa. These nodules prevent complete and full expansion of the corpora cavernosa during erection, resulting in abnormal curvature and distortion of the penis. Although it is difficult to collect accurate statistics, early numbers indicated this disease affects 1-4% of all men, or approximately 10% of men over 45 years of age. More recent studies suggest it is more common than previously reported.
Many men are born with a slight to moderate curvature of the penis that is considered normal, commonly referred to as congenital curvature. One of the key questions asked in a medical history concerns the presence of a lifelong and stable congenital curvature of the penis that usually rules out Peyronie disease.
Peyronie signs and symptoms
Signs – such as distortion – and symptoms – such as pain – may develop slowly or appear overnight. A popular misconception is that Peyronie disease always results in a curved penis; some men have absolutely no bend or distortion if the internal fibrous tissue produces a balanced tension from within the penis. Other distortion pattern frequently seen in PD are the bottle neck and hour glass that describe the appearance of the shaft, or one or more indentations or dents on the penile surface rather than curvature. For a review, click pictures of Peyronies disease.
Variable intensity pain can accompany Peyronies, usually in the early stages although it can develop later. Some men report pain only while erect while others report pain only when flaccid, and others report constant pain. In approximately two-thirds of all cases the pain is self-limiting and disappears after the disease has entered the chronic stage.
The sexual problems that result from the pain, distortion and reduced sexual function related to Peyronie can disrupt a couple’s physical and emotional relationship. Peyronie disease in about half of the cases causes sexual intercourse to be painful and/or difficult. In addition, since the fibrous contraction of the scar material can reduce the length and girth of the penile shaft, the loss of a man’s self-esteem can be considerable.
Peyronies affects men of any race and age, but is most common in Caucasian males above the age of 40, of northern European ancestry with blood type A+. About 30 percent of men with Peyronie's disease develop fibrosis in other elastic tissues of the body, such as Dupuytren's contracture of the hand and Ledderhose disease of the foot.
How do I start to treat my Peyronie's disease?
Peyronie disease cause
The underlying pathology of Peyronie is still not well understood even though it was first described over 450 years ago in France. Most commonly, the cause is described as an over abundant and excessive healing response to trauma or injury of the penis. This trauma is usually related to sexual activity – either many minor events over time or a single massive injury that causes bleeding into the deep penile tissue layers of the tunica albuginea.
Exacerbation or causation has also been associated with a class of anti-hypertensive drugs known as calcium channel blockers, although it has not been conclusively proven. However, another all class of drugs called beta blockers list Peyronie's disease as a known side effect. Other possible causes of aggravators of Peyronies that have been mentioned in the scientific literature are vitamin E (tocopherol) deficiency, as well as low testosterone. Some searchers have made popular the notion that Peyronies occurs as a result of many causative factors (genetic, traumatic, deficiency, drugs) that allow the condition to develop when the circumstances are correct.
For an accurate and dependable diagnosis it is usually best to seek out a urologist who specializes in Peyronie's Disease, or at least one with considerable experience managing this problem. This is because the disease and its current range of possible treatments are not well understood by less experienced family doctors.
Alternative medicine in Peyronie disease treatment
There are no drugs approved by the FDA for Peyronies treatment. Any drug that might be prescribed is an off-label use of a medication that is actually intended for some other health problem. The FDA has asked doctors to stop using these off-label drugs to treat Peyronies since the response often is so disappointing.
In the absence of an approved FDA drug therapy, the Peyronie’s Disease Institute has since 2002 educated men about the use of Alternative Medicine treatment of PD. Probably the best place to start learning about non-drug Peyronie’s disease treatment is with those who have done it the longest and have the most experience.