Peyronie's Disease

Definition

Also known as bent or curved penis, Peyronie's disease is a form of erectile dysfunction. Peyronie's disease is characterized by the formation of hardened scar tissue beneath the skin of the penis that may lead to curvature and pain during erection.

Symptoms of Peyronie's Disease

Not every Peyronie's disease sufferer may experience the same symptoms, but in general, symptoms may include:

  • A change in the shape of the penis during erection, including curvature, indentation and penis shortening
  • Reduced flexibility in the penis that causes pain and forces it to bend or arc during erection
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful intercourse for either partner
  • Painful erection

normal penis - curved penis - indented penis

Peyronie's disease is not

  • Cancerous, but in rare cases some cancers may have similar symptoms, so be sure to check with your doctor
  • Sexually transmitted

Peyronie's Disease Causes

No one knows for certain what causes Peyronie's disease, but there are several theories. The main hypothesis is that Peyronie's/curvature occurs as a result of sexual trauma. Other theories associate it with Dupuytren's contracture, a scarring on the palm of the hand that may be related to chromosomal or metabolic abnormalities.

Talking to Your Partner About Peyronie's Disease

Due to the sensitive nature of the symptoms of Peyronie's disease, it is rarely discussed and often goes untreated. Having a conversation about an intimate, sensitive matter is never easy. Your partner with Peyronie's disease may become frustrated and angry when you attempt to speak with him. Be patient and supportive. If you suspect your partner may be suffering from Peyronie's disease, the most important thing for both you and him to know is that help is available and the disease – even if severe – is treatable.

Here are some tips for broaching the topic with your partner:

  • Try to initiate the conversation outside of the bedroom when you are both relaxed and have time available.
  • Start by telling your partner what you've noticed. Have you or your partner been experiencing pain during sex? Have either of you been avoiding intimacy? Have you noticed a curvature in his penis during erection?
  • He may not want or be able to talk about it. You can mention that you have heard about similar conditions that are treatable. Point him to this website and/or print out the symptoms for him to read.
  • Encourage him to speak with his physician to understand his condition and the treatments available.

For more information, read urologist Caroline Ames Ryan, MD’s, Peyronie’s Disease from a Partner’s Perspective.

Learn about treatment options for Peyronie's disease. »