So what is Peyronie's? Well, if you are suffering from this affliction, you know it causes deformity, it is painful, it damages your self esteem and image as a man. There is the fear factor that accompanies this syndrome, which is often followed by detachment and anger. I remember asking myself, "Why Me?" and thinking, "This isn't fair!" When my doctor and urologist told me I had a disease, it hit me hard. I was devastated! When they told me the gold standard of treatment was surgery, and that I was a good candidate, I fell into depression and was inconsolable. It was at this point that I decided to do something pro-active. Let's take a look now at what this syndrome really is.
- Scar tissue, Skin changes, & Lumps: This is what really generates fear. Men often think they are developing cancer. This condition is actually caused by a build up of plaque at the site of micro injuries. Over time this plaque hardens into scar tissue and can form a lump or deformity which adheres to the sheath (Tunica Albugenia) that houses the erectile tissue (Corpus Cavernosum). If left untreated, the plaque will calcify and become a hard lump, feeling like a pea sized bump or tumor under the skin.
- Pain: Pain is most often experienced, when you are getting an erection. Some men experience continuous pain. This is a result of the scar tissue that is not pliable, like the rest of the penis, adhering to the normal tissue of the penis. During the process of erection the nerves are letting you know that something is wrong by signaling pain. Although rare, the plaque can adhere to nerves, that will cause constant pain.
- Curvature/Bending: This is the embarrassing part of Peyronie's and it can really inhibit satisfying sexual intercourse. Think of one of those long balloons that entertainers twist and tie into all kinds of shapes for children at fairs and festivals. If you think of your penis as one of those balloons it makes it easy to imagine how this bending occurs. The balloon is straight or may have some natural curve, but it is normal. Now take a piece of duct tape and put it on one side of the balloon. When it is blown up the balloon will curve around the tape that adheres to it's side, causing a bend. That is what the scar tissue is doing to your penis. The scar is not pliable (like the duct tape) but the penis is pliable (like the balloon) so the penis bends around the scar.
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Partial or complete erectile dysfunction sometimes accompanies Peyronie's. This can be psychological or physiological. The mind is a big part of sex, and embarrassment and perception can often cause ED. There is also the physical aspect of the plaque becoming so large that it causes ED by invading the erectile tissue and blocking circulation to the penis after the plaque.
All of this is definitely an affliction & a syndrome but it isn't a "disease". So I want to set you mind at ease. You didn't do anything to be ashamed or embarrassed of. The cause at this point is beyond your control. It is important to accept what you cannot change and not to wrestle with misplaced guilt. Don't hold on to anger and resentment, but be proactive in your treatment. Seek help and support from your Loved ones, and develop a plan of action. This condition will not go away by itself. Ignoring the problem or pretending like it does not exist, is the worst course of inaction. Remember with Peyronie's, time without treatment is your enemy. The best time to take action, and prevent surgery is in the earlier acute stages, when the plaque/scar has not calcified.