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Get It Straight: How to Treat Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease causes fibrosis under the skin of the penis. Clinical and traditional treatments may help correct penile curvature and boost a man’s confidence.

Man holding a SOS sign signalling he has peyronie’s disease

Peyronie’s disease is a condition characterised by a bent or curved penis or loss of penis girth or length due to the formation of scar tissue (also called plaque). The plaque can be felt through the skin, or as pain in a specific part of the penis.  

The location of the plaque formation can make a man’s penis bend upwards, downwards, or to the side. Some men may not have a curved penis. Instead, they have an indentation that gives the penis an hourglass shape. 

Here are a few reasons behind the condition’s onset and treatment options that may help restore confidence.

Primary Risk Factors and Causes of Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease can be acute or chronic. The former can happen over a six to 12-month period. During this time, plaque will form under the skin, causing a curvature or change in shape. A man may also experience pain when the penis is erect or soft.

On the other hand, chronic Peyronie’s disease neither involves plaque growth nor a worsening of the curvature of a man’s penis. However, he may struggle to achieve and maintain erections.

Closeup of a man’s hand holding his crotch area with both hands to show pain.
Pain in the area surrounding the penis is common during acute-stage Peyronie’s disease.

Age and genetics

Peyronie’s disease is more likely to happen among ageing men. According to Cleveland Clinic, approximately 10% to 15% of men between 45 to 65 years old are at risk of the condition.

Genes also play a role, that’s why men in the family with the condition are more susceptible. 

Connective tissue disorders

Men who’ve been previously diagnosed with connective tissue disorders like Dupuytren’s contracture, plantar fasciitis, and scleroderma also tend to develop the condition.

A not-so-fun fact: According to Weill Cornell Medical College Department of Urology, 10% to 20% of men with Peyronie’s disease may also deal with Dupuytren’s contracture. 

Prostate cancer surgery

The Department of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College reports that 16% of men have been found to develop Peyronie’s disease within three years of undergoing a surgical procedure for prostate cancer.

Autoimmune disorders

Peyronie’s disease may be associated with these disorders: 

  • Behçet’s disease: A rare disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. 
  • Sjögren’s syndrome: A disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the glands that produce tears and saliva. 
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus: A disorder that damages tissues in the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, and other organs.

Erectile dysfunction

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, men with impotence due to diabetes are four to five times more likely to develop Peyronie’s disease. Sometimes, the condition can also trigger the onset of erectile dysfunction. 

An unhappy Asian couple sitting on their bed.
Impotence is one of the most prominent risk factors for Peyronie’s disease.

Body constitution imbalances

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Peyronie’s disease can be caused by injury. However, in cases without prior injury, Real Medical’s Senior TCM physician Brandon Yew says that Peyronie’s disease is associated with internal imbalances.  

He adds that these internal imbalances can be due to Cold, Fire, Dampness, phlegm, and blood clots that impede the qi (vital life force) and blood circulation in the meridian channels of the Liver, Kidneys, and Conception Vessel (ren mai, 任脉). 

“In TCM, the Liver governs the entire bodily sinews system, which the penis is a part of,” explains Physician Yew. “Also, both the Liver and Kidneys directly control the proper development of the reproductive organs and functions.” Because of this, the reproductive organs are affected when something is wrong with the Liver and Kidneys. This can result in Peyronie’s disease.  

Clinical Treatment Options for Peyronie’s Disease

Male doctor and young male patient
There are many clinical options to treat Peyronie’s disease. Speak to a medical practitioner to find the best solution.

Peyronie’s disease is incurable, but the combination of clinical and traditional treatments can improve penile health. 

Traction therapy

This treatment option requires a man to use a device that stretches or bends his penis in the opposing direction of curvature. They may then see an improvement in the shape of their penis after a few months.

Oral medications, injections, and surgery

The administration of an injection helps break down plaque. It also helps correct penile curvature. Oral medications can be prescribed to men with acute stage Peyronie’s disease, especially if they’re unsure if they want corrective surgery.

A surgical procedure can help correct the shape of a bent or curved penis.

  • Surgery to make the side of the penis opposing plaque shorter 
  • Surgery to make the side of the penis on the inside of the curve longer 
  • Surgery to insert a prosthetic device into the penis

TCM Remedies for Peyronie’s Disease

If a man wants to include TCM in their treatment plan, they can try acupuncture and Chinese herbs.  

Acupuncture

Physician Yew explains that this treatment can help dispel the invasion of post-surgery pathogenic factors, improving blood and qi circulation to the penis, Liver, and Kidneys.

They can work on different acupressure points on the body. These include the following: 

  • Yang ling quan (GB34, 阳陵泉), Lie que (LU7, 列缺) and Tai chong (LR3, 太沖): Dispels pathogens 
  • Yin ling quan (SP9, 阴陵泉): Dispels phlegm and Dampness
  • Xue hai (SP10, 血海): Dispels blood clots
  • Tai xi (KI3, 太谿): Enhances Kidney function for better penile structural and functional development 
  • San yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交): Enhances Kidney and Liver function for better penile structural and functional development  

Herbal remedies

Holistic recovery from surgical treatment of Peyronie’s disease can also be achieved with the use of herbal formulas. Physician Yew recommends the following herbal formulas to promote better and faster wound healing and improve penile structure and functions:  

  • Nuan Gan Jian (暖肝煎) and Tian Tai Wu Yao San (天台乌药散): Dispels surgery-induced Cold, Dampness and Qi Stagnation, regenerates lost blood and yin (passive energy) to nourish the Liver and Kidneys 
  • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (龙胆泻肝汤): Dispels surgery-induced Fire and Dampness, regenerates lost blood and yin to nourish the Liver and Kidneys  
  • Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang (少腹逐瘀汤): Dispels surgery-induced blood clots
  • Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang (芍药甘草汤): Regenerates lost blood and yin to nourish the Liver 

The sooner a man seeks treatment for Peyronie’s disease, the better. Avoid self-medicating and always consult a licensed TCM practitioner before using traditional remedies to speed up post-surgery recovery.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. Peyronie’s Disease. [online] [Accessed 31 October 2022] 
  2. Weill Cornell Medicine – Urology. Peyronie’s Disease – Risks & Causes. [online] [Accessed 31 October 2022] 
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Penile Curvature (Peyronie’s Disease). [online] [Accessed 31 October 2022] 

 

 

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