Peyronie’s disease – a condition which causes the penis to become curved when erect – affects about nine per cent of men in the UK.
It’s a condition that causes scar tissue plaques to form on the penis’s tunica albuginea – the part which helps to maintain an erection.
Men suffering from Peyronie’s will usually notice a lump on their penis, and that their penis is curved when erect.
Other symptoms of the condition include a pain in the penis, erectile dysfunction, and a loss of penis length and girth.
“Unfortunately, most patients suffering from Peyronie’s report that the disease has a significant impact on their quality of life and causes severe psychological distress and depression, as it can affect their self-esteem, and even their relationships,” said Mr Giulio Garaffa, Consultant Urological Surgeon at Highgate Private Hospital.
The severity of symptoms changes from person to person, and is dependent on size, shape and location of the scar tissue plaque. It usually occurs in those over 50 years old, but can affect all ages.
But, most Peyronie’s patients aren’t aware the condition is entirely treatable, said Garaffa.
All sufferers can regain a healthy sex life, as long as appropriate treatment by experienced doctors is sought, he added.
“It is a shame that most men are simply just not aware that the symptoms they experience are due to a medical condition that is treatable and therefore do not bother to address the condition appropriately,” said Garaffa.
“Educating both men and women about the symptoms and the condition might go along way to removing the stigma and encourage men to seek treatment sooner rather than later.”
There are four main treatments for the condition, including simple oral medications and topical treatments.
A vacuum erection device and penile exercises could help to reduce the curvature.
Injection therapy is the latest treatment available, and is the first non-surgical therapy that could fight Peyronie’s plaques.
Surgery can also effectively treat the condition, and it’s the most successful route for patients, Garaffa said. But, surgery should only be performed after the condition has stopped progressing – usually between six and 12 months.