Peyronie’s disease (PD) occurs when scar tissue (plaque) under the skin of the penis causes it to bend or change shape when it becomes erect. Often, this condition is associated with a loss of penile length or girth. It is considered to be a sexual dysfunction because PD may make it difficult or impossible for an individual to have sex. While the exact cause of PD is unknown and may vary from person to person, it can be related to an injury or a connective tissue disorder.
A minor curve in an erect penis is not always cause for alarm, and it is normal for the penis to bend slightly to one side or another. However, if the curvature is more severe, it may be PD.
PD can be diagnosed by a knowledgeable health care provider with a medical history and a visual inspection/physical exam. If you suspect you may have PD or are experiencing symptoms that concern you, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation. Nevertheless, the following are a few signs of PD that an individual may be able to identify on their own.
Penile curvature: One of the most noticeable signs is a curvature of the penis during erections. The curvature can be upward, downward, or to either side and is often accompanied by pain or discomfort.
Penile pain: Some individuals with PD experience pain or discomfort, which may occur during erections, during sexual activity, or even when the penis is flaccid.
Penile lumps or plaques: You may be able to feel or see hardened areas or lumps beneath the skin of the penis. These plaques are the result of fibrous scar tissue.
Shortening of the penis: Some individuals with PD notice a decrease in the length of their penis due to the scarring and curvature.
Penile deformity: In addition to curvature, the penis may exhibit other deformities, such as an hourglass appearance or narrowing at the site of the plaque.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice from a urologist or a healthcare provider who specializes in sexual medicine. They can perform a physical examination, ask about your medical history, and may recommend additional tests or imaging, such as ultrasound or MRI, to confirm the diagnosis and assess the extent of the condition.
Treatment options for PD may include medication, injections, vacuum erection devices, or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition and its impact on your quality of life.
For more information on this topic, please read these publications from the ISSM Journals: The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Sexual Medicine Reviews, and Sexual Medicine Open Access:
Cleveland Clinic. (2023, April 11). Peyronie’s Disease. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10044-peyronies-disease
Mayo Clinic. (2021, November 19). Peyronie’s Disease. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peyronies-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353468