The penis tends to bend slightly when it is erect because human anatomy is rarely perfectly symmetrical. The direction of bending of an erect penis depends on the ratio of the crus (portion of penis under the skin) to the exposed penis. Hence, a man with a shorter crus and longer exposed penis tends to have an erection pointing downward while one with a longer crus and shorter exposed penis has an erect penis pointing straight up or outward. In some men, the penis may curve slightly to the right or to the left. However, when the bend is more extreme and accompanied by painful erections, it may be a symptom of Peyronie’s disease.
What Is Peyronie’s Disease?
Peyronie’s disease (PD) is the most common cause of a curved penis. As a collagen disorder characterized by scar tissue (plaques) that develops under the skin, Peyronie’s disease is typified by a bend of the penis during erections. Other deformities, such as penis shrinkage, loss of girth, hourglass narrowing and indentation may also occur. The resulting bend makes penetrative sex painful or difficult, culminating in physical and psychological distress that causes difficulties in relationships.While the actual cause of Peyronie’s disease is not known, genetic defects, damage to blood vessels of the penis and low levels of testosterone hormone are believed to cause the disorder. And although the number of men who develop the condition is not known—given that most men are too embarrassed to see a doctor about the disorder—it is estimated that between 3-9 men out of 100 are affected. The disease is common among men in their fifties, though a small number of teenagers may also develop it.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Peyronie’s Disease
Typical symptoms such as painful erections, bending, deformity of the shaft and angulation are indicative of the disease. Given these indications, the urologist will measure the bend or distortion of an erect penis using photographs taken by a patient at home, a vacuum pump, or an injection to stimulate an erection. In some cases, the urologist may find it necessary to order a duplex ultrasound test in order to have a more accurate assessment of blood circulation in the penis.
Treatment options for the disease include stretching (external penile traction), vacuum devices, oral medicines (such as para-aminobenzoate, propoleum and colchicines), topical medicines (applied on the surface of the penis, like topical verapamil), injections into scar tissue (such as interferon, verapamil and clostridium hystolyticum (Xiaflex)), electrical currents (iontophoresis) and surgery.
So, is it normal to have a curved penis or could it be a symptom of Peyronie’s disease? Well, a mild curvature may be normal, but a severe curvature accompanied by painful erections requires immediate medical attention as it may, in fact, be a symptom of a curable disease. Presently, urologists have several treatment options for handling the condition in a personalized manner. Don’t suffer in silence. For more information, visit Advanced Urology Institute.