Peyronie’s Disease is an abnormal curvature of the p*nis during an erection and can cause it to bend up to 90 degrees.
Caused by fibrous scar tissue under the skin, it can make s*x agonising – and cause immense distress. Although the condition affects millions of men, most of whom are over 40, doctors are still unclear what causes it.
Now, new research into the little-talked about condition has revealed the devastating mental toll it has on those with the condition.
A survey of 185 British men with the disease was carried out by charity The British Dupuytren’s Society to mark the start of Men’s Health Week. It revealed the impact is such that one in six men have suffered depression following their diagnosis.
Of those affected, a quarter admitted it had caused relationship troubles, while one in 10 said the embarrassing problem led to their relationships breaking down completely. Tragically, one in four with the condition said they were no longer sexually active.
One in 20 men are thought to suffer from Peyronie’s disease, which causes the erect penis to bend and shorten
But Birgir Gislason, trustee of the British Dupuytren’s Society, encouraged men not to suffer in silence. Speaking to MailOnline, he said as with most illnesses, getting a swift diagnosis and treatment is vital.
‘The problem with most men is they avoid talking about it with their partners and don’t go to the doctors. That’s the worst thing you can do. It’s all about acting quickly.
‘You can reverse it in the first 18 months and if you don’t, you risk ending up with a really bad case of a 90-degree curvature, which is shockin,’ he said.
First described in 1743 by the physician to King Louis XIV of France, one theory is that Peyronie’s is caused by some type of injury – while other experts believe it may run in families.
The symptoms of Peyronie’s include pain, curvature on erection and having thickened nodules (referred to as plaques) in the soft tissue of the penis.
This hard scar tissue, by its nature, causes inelasticity, so when the spongy tissue fills with blood the erection looks distorted.
Studies have shown that in about 10% of men the problem resolves over a year or two; but in about 50 per cent the curvature slowly worsens as the scar tissue continues to form, and tightens and contracts.
A survey of 185 sufferers found a quarter of men with the condition were no longer s*xually active and one in ten said a relationship had ended as a result of the disease
A doctor can diagnose the condition simply by asking about a patient’s history and performing an examination. For those who have only a mild curvature — less that 30 degrees — and who still have satisfactory erectile function, watching and waiting is an option.
But if it worsens, then an expert opinion to consider further treatment is necessary. There have also been trials showing some improvement by injecting a drug directly into the cords of scar tissue.
The last resort is surgery which involves making a tuck in the lining of the penis opposite the curve, which pulls everything back towards the centre.
This does make the penis shorter overall, around 1cm for every ten degrees of curvature.
Dr Noelle Robertson, consultant clinical psychologist said diagnosis was important for a patients’ mental health.
‘Its negative impact on intimacy, sexual activity and satisfaction, psychologically it can significantly affect mood, self-esteem and masculinity. Evidence suggests that men may be reluctant to disclose their distress and clinicians may not realise the considerable psychological burden experienced by their patients.
‘Any initiative to increase awareness of the condition and its impact is likely to be welcomed by patients and professionals alike.’
The illness is most common between the ages of 41 and 60.
Source: Dailymail UK