Peyronies: Disease of the Penis?

Peyronie’s disease is not a disease

The problem that brings men to this website that is usually commonly called Peyronie’s disease is not a disease of penis tissue, actually.  We continue to use this term only because for hundreds of years it has been commonly associated with this problem we share, but it is not accurate.

A disease refers to an altered condition of the body that is associated with extreme pain, significant and limiting organ or system dysfunction, social problems, and even death.  Further, a disease is typically acquired by means of indirect or direct contact or transmission from one person to another.  While there are many definitions of what constitutes a disease, the above definition is universally acceptable.

Let’s consider each element of what constitutes a disease, point by point.

1.    Peyronie’s disease seldom causes extreme pain, and sometimes no pain at all – does not fulfill definition.

2.    The genitourinary system of which the penis is only a part continues to function carrying urine in all cases, and has reduced sexual function in about half of the cases – does not fulfill definition.

3.    Society is not affected by a Peyronie’s curved penis that plays havoc with the man who has it in the way that diseases like the flu or measles, alcoholism, syphilis and tuberculosis  do – does not fulfill definition.

4.    Lastly, it is not communicable.  It is not possible to catch Peyronies from someone else or pass it on to another person  – does not fulfill definition.

5.    Peyronie’s disease is not fatal, except to some couple’s sex life – does not fulfill definition.

You will notice that throughout the PDI website and blog I often refer to this problem as a “condition.”  More clinically accurate names that were taken from the Peyronie’s Disease Institute website:

1.    Indurato penis plastica

2.    Penile fibrosis

3.    Penile fibromatosis

4.    Penile induration

5.    Chronic cavernositis

6.    Fibrous sclerosis of the penis

7.    Fibrous cavernositis

8.    Fibrous plaques of the penis

Peyronie’s syndrome

Some people use the term Peyronie’s syndrome to refer to this problem, but technically that is also not a correct way to refer to Peyronie’s disease.

A syndrome refers to a typical group of several essential and clearly recognizable clinical signs, symptoms and characteristics that often occur in association or together, creating a picture or profile of a recognizable clinical condition.  In an actual syndrome the presence of one feature, sign or symptom will alert a doctor to the possibility a particular syndrome might be present.  Once this is established, the doctor will automatically look for other features, signs and symptoms that normally occur with it within the profile of that suspected syndrome. If additional typical findings are found, a diagnosis of that suspected syndrome can be made.

Peyronie’s syndrome is not a valid term because the characteristics, signs and symptoms of Peyronies are actually too few, and seldom present a customary group of features that suggest this particular health problem.  By usual medical standards the few symptoms and signs associated with PD are actually vague and sometimes are totally missing. Since there are typically only three such standard findings associated with Peyronie’s disease (penis pain, penis curvature, presence of the common Peyronie’s plaque or scar), this group is not  large enough to strongly suggest this condition, hence Peyronie’s syndrome is not a good term to use.

Disease of penis not fair to either party

Many times I am asked how I would suggest telling a woman about Peyronie’s disease.  The first thing I say is, “You want to be fair and accurate when you tell this new woman you have just met about your problem. For this reason do not tell her you have a ‘disease.’  PD is not a disease, so do not create a problem for her or yourself that neither of you deserve.”  I then go on to explain that to be most accurate and honest requires that you describe what is wrong with you, avoiding the term “Peyronie’s disease.”  Simply say, “I injured myself a few years ago, and now I have an excess of internal scar tissue that has caused some penile curvature.  I am not as straight or large as I was before this scar material developed, but I am otherwise very healthy. Do you have any questions about what I have just said?” Then answer her questions honestly and forthrightly.  I have never met a man who has gotten into trouble or lost a woman in a new relationship if he offers this type of description of his problem.

You do not have a disease of penis tissue so do not frighten her or create problems where none should exist.

If you wish to learn more about this condition usually called Peyronie’s disease, or Peyronie’s disease treatment, please review our website and blog for additional information.

Peyronie’s Syndrome is more than a curved penis

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:

  1. Indurato penis plastica
  2. Chronic cavernositis
  3. Fibrous sclerosis of the penis
  4. Fibrous cavernositis
  5. Fibrous plaques of the penis
  6. Penile fibrosis
  7. Penile fibromatosis
  8. 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?