GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT
8 things you need to know about PD before talking to a urologist
1 Not all curves are created equal.
Like fingers and noses, erections come in all shapes and sizes. And while it may be common for an erection to curve slightly, the curve shouldn’t be bothersome. And it shouldn’t be painful.
A noticeably curved and/or painful erection?
PD is a condition in men in which there is an abnormal curve that can be painful during intimacy or arousal. PD can be extremely difficult for the men who experience its effects, and may result in anxiety, feelings of low self-esteem, or depression—not to mention emotional and relationship problems with their partners.
3 How common is it?
It is estimated that PD can affect as many as 1 in 10 men worldwide. Diagnosis rates remain low because men living with PD may be too uncomfortable to see a urologist, a doctor who specializes in men’s sexual and reproductive health.
4 What causes PD?
The penile curvature is caused by a buildup of fibrous scar tissue (plaque) that develops under the skin of the penis. And while the exact cause of the plaque is unknown, it’s most commonly believed to be caused by injury “down there”—maybe even during sex.
5 Who gets it?
PD can be found in men in their 30s, but is commonly seen in men ages 40 to 70.
It is not known what places patients at a higher risk for having PD. It is thought that genetics, injury to the penis, and other factors, such as smoking and diabetes, may play a role in this condition.
6 How do I know if I might have PD?
Only a urologist can make an accurate PD diagnosis, but there are a handful of signs to look for, which could include:
- A curve in the penis during erection with or without associated difficulty during sex
- Lumps in the penis
- A narrowed or shortened penis
- Pain during erection or during sex
7 Sounds like some serious form of ED—is it?
PD can be confused with erectile dysfunction (ED), but it’s actually very different.
Some men with PD may also have ED. A urologist will be able to identify which condition(s) you may have.
8 What should I do if I think I might have PD?
Ask about the curve! Talk to your doctor—or, better yet, see a urologist about the symptoms you are experiencing. It may seem embarrassing, but it is important to speak up and get the help you need.
There’s a learning curve
ED: Erectile Dysfunction is an inability to develop and/or maintain an erection. ED is a different medical condition than PD
Fibrous plaque: A buildup of scar tissue in the connective soft tissue that causes an erection to curve abnormally
François Gigot de la Peyronie: The French guy who first described PD as a disorder
Peyronie’s disease (PD): A condition in men in which there is an abnormal curve that can be painful during intimacy or arousal
Urologist: A doctor who specializes in men’s health conditions
GO BEYOND PD TO DISCOVER WHAT YOUR ERECTION SAYS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH
Are there signs of an underlying health condition?
A man’s erection is not only a sign of his sexual health, it also could be a barometer for his overall health. below to learn more about how your penis may be affected when these conditions are present.
Men with heart disease are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED)—difficulty developing and/or maintaining an erection. But studies have shown that the association goes the other way, too—the risk for heart disease increased among men with ED.
One complication of uncontrolled diabetes is nerve and blood vessel damage, which can affect the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection. So, it’s not surprising that diabetes is tied to ED. In fact, men with diabetes tend to develop ED 10-15 years earlier than men without diabetes.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that impact functions throughout the body. So, when the thyroid gland is producing too many or too few hormones, your ability to get an erection can be affected. ED is a symptom of both too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).
Chronic Kidney Disease
ED is a common condition among male patients with chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease can affect your hormone levels, blood circulation and overall strength and energy levels. Chronic renal failure is also associated with impaired spermatogenesis, and it often results in infertility.
Prostate enlargement and ED are separate problems, but they are somewhat linked. If you are living with ED, there’s a good chance you may be experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as needing to urinate frequently during the night, increased urinary frequency and/or urgency, having a weak urine stream, inability to completely empty your bladder and the need to strain during urination. Both problems increase with age.
Men with Peyronie’s disease develop an abnormal curve of their penis that can be painful during arousal or intimacy. The condition is caused by a buildup of fibrous scar tissue (or plaque) that develops under the skin of the penis. One study found that men with Peyronie’s disease also may have a higher risk for certain cancers, including stomach cancer, skin cancer (melanoma) and testicular cancer.
Hypogonadism (sometimes called Low-T) is a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone—the hormone that plays a key role in masculine growth and development during puberty—or has an impaired ability to produce sperm or both.
Psychological factors such as depression can contribute to ED and can interfere with the physiological processes needed to have an erection. Depression can also lead to decreased libido.
If you are experiencing any new symptoms related to your sexual health, especially if you are over 40, it’s time for you to speak to a urologist.
A urologist is a doctor who addresses diseases of the urinary tract as well as the male reproductive system, and someone men can trust to discuss some of the more embarrassing and uncomfortable conditions we may otherwise ignore.
GET AHEAD OF THE CURVE
We want to help debunk some common myths about the penis. Your penis is probably pretty important to you. You’ve spent a lot of time together, but how well do you really know each other? Take this quiz to raise your awareness—let’s get started!
TAKE IT FROM AN EXPERT...
Meet Dr. Aaron Spitz
Dr. Spitz is a urology expert who specializes in male reproductive health. For 4 consecutive years, he was named a “Physician of Excellence” award winner and is co-chair of the American Urological Association’s (AUA) Telemedicine Work Group. Dr. Spitz is also the chief representative for America’s urologists to the American Medical Association. He received his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University and has been practicing for over 20 years.
He currently has a thriving general urology practice in CA and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area. Dr. Spitz has had television appearances on The Doctors, Dr. Phil, and The Real Housewives of Orange County. He is also the author of The Penis Book: A Doctor’s Complete Guide to the Penis: From Size to Function and Everything in Between.
Dr. Spitz has partnered with Endo Pharmaceuticals to help bring awareness to men about how they can improve their overall penile health.
Learn from the nationally recognized, board-certified urologist
Do you know what to expect at your doctor’s appointment?
Being healthy for your family and friends starts with talking to a doctor, including a urologist if necessary.
We know that seeing a new doctor can sometimes feel intimidating. And since you may only have limited time for your appointment, we want to help you feel as prepared as possible and make the most out of your visit.
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