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What is Peyronie's disease?

Peyronie's disease is a big name for a curve in the penis. (Peyronie's is said this way: pay-rone-ees.) It can be painful at times, most often during sex. In some men, Peyronie's disease is a mild problem without symptoms. Other men with Peyronie's disease may have pain during erection or erections that aren't hard enough for sex.

What causes Peyronie's disease?

Scar tissue under the skin of the penis causes the curve. No one knows why the scar tissue starts. Some men with Peyronie's disease have had a penis injury that causes scar tissue. The scar feels like a ridge or a row of tiny bumps. The scar can keep getting worse during the first few years, making the penis curve more and more. You might notice this more during an erection. After a few years, the scar usually stops getting worse, but it doesn't go away.

What can I do about the curve in my penis?

We can't cure Peyronie's disease. Medicines like Potaba or vitamin E help some men. Potaba is a prescription medicine. Your doctor will tell you about it. If you take vitamin E, don't take more than your doctor tells you. Too much vitamin E won't help your penis. Too much vitamin E or Potaba can hurt your liver. Potaba can also make you nauseous or take away your appetite.

Can surgery help?

Surgery might help men who have very bad pain during sex. Surgery may also be OK for men who can't keep an erection long enough to have sex. During the surgery, a prosthesis (something to make the penis firm) is put in the penis. The prosthesis helps make the penis straighter. It also helps erections last longer.

Can anything else help?

No, although new treatments are being tested. Some of the medicines being tested are put into the scar tissue in shots. So far, the test results don't show any help from these medicines.

From the American Academy of Family Physicians - August 1999


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