Peyronie’s Disease is an acquired condition characterized by the formation of scars in the tunica albuginea of the penis. These scars can be easily palpated as a lump and tend to be tender for a few months during the initial phase of the disease.
Peyronie’s Disease plaques cause loss of elasticity of the tunica of the penis and this reduces the capacity of the penis to stretch during erections. Patients therefore frequently report penile shortening and deformity such as curvature and narrowing of the shaft penis, which become visible during erections. In flaccidity the lumps can still be palpated, but the deformity is not visible.
Peyronie’s disease is frequently associated with other known cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity and tobacco smoke. It is now established that more than 60% of patients have at least one known cardiovascular risk factor.
Worsening of the quality of the erections is quite common in patients with Peyronie’s Disease; although this can be potentially caused by the plaque itself, as it allows the blood to be rushed out of the tunica of the penis, certainly also the cardiovascular risk factors play a role by causing obstruction to the arteries feeding the penis, thus reducing the blood inflow into this organ.
Since Peyronie’s Disease can be associated with penile pain, shortening, deformity and worsening of the quality of the erection, it can be cause of severe distress in both the patient and the partner.
The initial, acute phase of Peyronie's Disease is usually characterized by the formation of a tender nodule on the tunica of the penis. Erections at this stage tend to be painful and patients usually notice a penile deformity, which, at this stage, still changes over time.