According to the Urology Care Foundation, doctors believe that about six percent of men ages 40 to 70 experience penis curvature, a condition called Peyronie’s disease. While it mostly affects men over age 50, it can also occur in men in their 30s and 40s.
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What Is Peyronie’s Disease?
In men with Peyronie’s disease, a buildup of scar tissue along the shaft causes the penis to curve. The curve is most noticeable during an erection and, while it can be mild, a severe curve can lead to painful erections and/or erectile dysfunction, and can make penetration difficult. These issues, in turn, can cause stress and anxiety.
Phases of Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease has two phases:
- Acute phase: This is when scar tissue forms, causing the curvature; this may happen slowly or quickly. You’re more likely to feel pain in this phase.
- Chronic phase: During this phase, scar tissue stops forming and the penis doesn’t curve any further. Pain also tends to go away. Depending on the severity of the curve, your doctor may recommend treatment.
Risk Factors for Peyronie’s Disease
While doctors know that a buildup of scar tissue causes the penile curvature of Peyronie’s, they don’t fully understand the cause of that buildup. Trauma from an accident, sports, or even sex can cause scar tissue to form, but men without prior injury can also have Peyronie’s.
“Patients that typically seem to be impacted by Peyronie’s disease can be anyone,” says Paul Rusilko, DO, assistant professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh. “Any age, any demographic, any race. It typically starts off as some type of vague penile trauma that can cause scarring or, in a small set of population, it can be an inherited disease.”
The condition might have a genetic component. Men with a father or close family member who’s had the condition could have a higher risk of Peyronie’s disease. However, the overall risk of developing Peyronie’s is low.
“It’s important when discussing treatment options for Peyronie’s disease, to be seen by someone who has been educated in all the various treatment options, including non-surgical and surgical options,” says Dr. Rusilko.
To learn more about your risk of Peyronie’s disease, visit the UPMC Men’s Health Center or call 1-877-647-4636(4MEN). While there’s no cure for Peyronie’s, there are many treatment options available.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
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About Men’s Health Center
The UPMC Men’s Health Center evaluates and treats conditions affecting men’s sexual and reproductive health. With years of clinical experience in male sexual medicine and surgery, our team has treated a wide variety of conditions and performed thousands of surgeries. We are dedicated to providing patients the highest level of quality care. Our providers understand the intimate nature of male sexual difficulties, and we will work to help you restore your normal level of sexual function in a comfortable, educational, and discreet environment.