QUESTION: I’VE RECENTLY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PEYRONIE’S DISEASE. WHAT ARE MY BEST OPTIONS FOR TREATMENT?
Answer: Peyronie’s disease is a condition that happens when fibrous scar tissue builds up in the penis. This build up can cause the penis to curve when erect, and can be painful in some men. It also may lead to urinary difficulties, shortening of the penis, or even erectile dysfunction. Many men are also emotionally affected by Peyronie’s disease.
The cause of Peyronie’s disease is often one or a repeated trauma to the penis (often happening during sexual intercourse), although if you have a family member that has had Peyronie’s disease, you may have an increased risk of it as well.
Treatment options have advanced in recent years for this condition. The following list describes potential ways to treat Peyronie’s disease:
Medications to treat Peyronie’s disease are few, but they may be effective in the acute treatment of the disease. Your doctor typically injects these medications into the penis, over a series of sessions:
- XIAFLEX is a type of collagenase and is the only FDA-approved drug for treating Peyronie’s disease. It works by breaking down the build of the collagen or plaque that is causing the penis to curve.
- Verapamil, a drug commonly used for high blood pressure, works by breaking up collagen, the protein that forms the plaque in the penis.
- Interferon is a protein that may disrupt the production of fibrous tissue, in addition to reducing pain in the penis that is caused by Peyronie’s disease.
This type of treatment is best used in the early stages of Peyronie’s disease. It uses a device that stretches the penis over a period of time in order to improve the length and reduce the curvature of the penis.
Surgery is generally thought to be the most effective form of treatment to date for Peyronie’s disease. There are several types of surgical procedures that may be performed, so you should talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of each one, and find one that will work best for you. Your doctor will also help to determine if you are a candidate for surgery – you should only have surgery if you have reached the “chronic” phase of Peyronie’s disease, meaning that your condition has become stable (your curvature has stopped increasing) and you have no penile pain. This typically occurs around 3-12 months after you first begin to notice symptoms.
- Suturing. This procedure uses sutures the side of the penis without the plaque build-up in order to straighten it. Suturing may result in penile shortening and/or erectile dysfunction.
- Incision and grafting. Your surgeon will cut into the scar tissue, which allows the sheath to stretch out and straighten. This procedure is often used for more severe cases but may worsen erectile function.
- Penile Implants. Two types of implants exist to treat Peyronies Disease: semi-rigid implants and pump implants. These implants help to correct the curvature of the penis and also can help assist with erectile dysfunction. Semi-rigid implants are surgically placed into the spongy tissue that generally fills with blood during erections. They allow the patient to bend the penis upward and downward.With pump implants, a pump is surgically placed in the scrotum and allows the penis to inflate when you want an erection, and deflate it later when you no longer want an erection.
All of these therapies have pros and cons, and some may be more suitable for you depending on what stage you’re condition is at. Talk with your doctor about your options to find one that works best for you.
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