Peyronie's disease defies classification
Technically, Peyronie’s syndrome is not the correct way to refer to Peyronie’s disease. Actually, calling it Peyronie’s disease is not correct, either, but more on that later.
First, the term Peyronies syndrome. A syndrome refers to a group of several essential and clearly recognizable clinical signs, symptoms and characteristics of a health problem that often occur in association or together. In the situation in which a syndrome occurs, the presence of one feature, sign or symptom would alert a doctor to the possibility a particular syndrome was present, so he/she would automatically look for other features, signs and symptoms that normally occur with it. If those additional findings are detected, then a diagnosis of that syndrome could be made.
Peyronie’s syndrome is not a valid term because the characteristic Peyronies symptoms are actually too few, and they do not usually form a tightly bound set of features that suggest this particular health problem. The few symptoms and signs associated with PD are actually vague by usual medical standards. Since there are typically only three such standard features or clues associated with Peyronie’s disease (penis pain, distorted or curved penis, and the common Peyronie’s plaque or scar), this set of presenting characteristics is not large enough or strongly suggestive of the condition, hence syndrome is not a good term to use.
Peyronie’s syndrome is not a disease, either
Then we come to the term Peyronie’s disease, which is not all that accurate either. A disease refers to any condition that causes extreme pain, significant organ or system dysfunction, social problems, and even death, and is usually acquired through direct or indirect transmission or communication from one person to another. Of course, there are many definitions and ways of looking at what constitutes a disease, but that is generally acceptable in most cases.
Since Peyronie’s disease seldom causes extreme pain, and sometimes no pain at all, it does not fulfill that requirement. Since the genitourinary system of which the penis is only a part continues to function, and the penis continues to carry urine and oftentimes is still capable to function sexually, it does not fulfill the requirement of loss of function. While having a bent penis plays havoc with the man who has it, and the woman or women he is sexually active, it does not affect society as a whole, the way actual diseases like the flu or measles, syphilis, tuberculosis or alcoholism do. Peyronie’s disease is not fatal, except to some couple’s sex life, so it also does not fulfill that part of the requirement. And lastly, this problem is not communicated or transmitted from one person to the next; you cannot catch Peyronies.
When referring to Peyronie’s disease it is more accurate and fair to use other terms like “condition,” or the more descriptive terms that follow in this list. These are more clinically accurate names that have been collected and were taken from the PDI website:
- Indurato penis plastica
- Chronic cavernositis
- Fibrous sclerosis of the penis
- Fibrous cavernositis
- Fibrous plaques of the penis
- Penile fibrosis
- Penile fibromatosis
- Penile induration
This list of descriptive terms was taken from the PDI website where the basics of Peyronie’s disease are discussed at length. If you wish to learn more about this condition, called Peyronie’s disease, please review this additional information. But whatever you do, do not call it Peyronie’s syndrome, OK?