How Do You Get Peyronie's Disease?

Reviewed on 6/30/2022
A man's hand holding a banana pointing upward
Peyronie's disease (curved penis) can be caused by minor injury to the penis due to vigorous sex, or from sports or other accidents.

Peyronie's disease is a condition in which segments of flat scar tissue (called plaques) form under the skin of the penis. The penis may bend or indent during erections due to the scarring. The plaques may be felt through the skin and can sometimes cause pain.

Peyronie’s disease is uncommon in young men but is believed to occur in about 4% of men between the ages of 40 and 70. 

Peyronie's disease results from a problem in wound healing. You can get Peyronie's disease from minor injury to the penis. Injuries often occur due to vigorous sex (such as bending the penis during penetration or pressure from a partner's pubic bone), or from sports or other accidents. 

Men who have mild trauma to the penis do not usually get Peyronie's disease. Risk factors for developing the condition include men who have:

  • Certain connective tissue disorders (such as Dupuytren's contractures or tympanosclerosis) 
  • A close family member with the condition 
  • Certain health issues, such as high blood sugar 
  • Tobacco use
  • Past pelvic trauma

What Are Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease?

Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease include:

  • Bent/curved penis
  • Problems with sex because of a bent/curved penis
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Penis becomes hard 
  • Penis becomes less flexible
  • Penis shrinks or gets shorter
  • Lumps in the penis
  • Painful erections
  • Soft erections
  • Reduced quality of life

How Is Peyronie’s Disease Diagnosed?

Peyronie's disease is diagnosed with a patient history and it often just requires a physical examination for confirmation. The hard plaques can usually be felt whether the penis is stiff or not. 

Other tests may include: 

  • Injection of a drug into the penis to see how it curves 
  • Ultrasound to see where the plaque is, how the blood flows in the penis, and if there is any calcium buildup


What Is the Treatment for Peyronie’s Disease?

In a few cases, Peyronie's disease may go away without treatment. No treatment may be needed if: 

When treatment is needed for Peyronie's disease, it may include: 

  • Penile injections
    • Verapamil 
    • Interferon 
    • Collagenase (Xiaflex)
  • Surgery 
    • Usually, a last resort for men with severe, disabling penile deformities that make it difficult to have sex
    • There are three main ways Peyronie's disease is fixed with surgery:
      • Shortening the side of the penis opposite the plaque/curve 
      • Making the side of the penis that is curved longer 
      • Placing a prosthetic device inside the penis if the man has both Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction
  • Other treatments
    • Many of these are being studied and have not yet been proven
      • Stretching the penis daily for at least six months to help restore length and curving
      • Ultrasound
      • Radiation
      • Shockwaves
      • Heat and verapamil on the skin

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Reviewed on 6/30/2022

Image source: iStock Images