What Peyronie’s Disease Can Mean for Your Sex Life
Peyronie’s disease is a condition of the penis in which scar tissue or plaque builds up under the skin of the penis, causing it to take on a new, curved shape, especially when it’s erect. While many men don’t like to talk about it, Peyronie’s can significantly disrupt their sex life. But they can take steps to relieve the condition.
Experts don’t fully understand the reasons why Peyronie’s develops, but a traumatic incident—often an injury sustained while having vigorous sex—can be the cause. A poorly aimed thrust that misses its mark can cause a tear in the tunica albuginea, the thick, elastic tissue that helps keep the penis erect, and, as a result, plaque or scar tissue builds up and causes the penis to bend while erect.
Over the 18 months following the trauma, during what’s called the “acute phase,” erections can be painful, making sex difficult. As the scar tissue builds, the new curvature of the penis can become so profound as to make sex nearly impossible—even causing or worsening erectile dysfunction (ED).
Beyond the bedroom
In addition to the physical challenges that Peyronie’s brings, emotional trauma is also involved. As the scar tissue builds, the reshaping of a man’s familiar erection can be a source of embarrassment, especially given that the new curvature often makes the penis appear shorter.
According to a study by the British Dupuytren’s Society, a charity organization that helps men with Peyronie’s and a related finger condition called Dupuytren’s disease, some 60 percent of men diagnosed with Peyronie’s reported suffering from depression, which can also have a profound effect in the bedroom.
Peyronie’s is not uncommon, so there’s no need for you or your sex life to suffer in silence. Men can take a few proactive steps if they suspect they may have Peyronie’s. The most important steps are to talk with your doctor and get a referral to a urologist, and also talk with your partner.
Embarrassment causes many men to forgo discussing the issue with their regular physician. If that’s the case, you might go directly to a urologist for a diagnosis and treatment options. If the curvature of your erection is greater than 30 degrees, treatment may include multiple injections—using a drug called Xiaflex or a blood pressure drug called verapamil—directly into the scar tissue. Your doctor might also simply recommend waiting a while, because Peyronie’s can occasionally go away over time.
Treat Peyronie’s as you would any other medical condition and disclose it to your partner as keeping your insecurities locked away can lead to other problems, including ED or worse. According to the Dupuytren’s Society, the stress Peyronie’s puts on couples leads 1 in 10 to separate.
It’s better to explain to your partner the physical and emotional toll it has taken on you. If you’re looking for extra support, organizations such as the Peyronie’s Society Forums and the Dupuytren’s Society forum are there to help.
Improving sex with Peyronie’s
If you are diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease, you can usually continue to have sex, unless otherwise directed by your physician. Three methods have been found to make it work:
Take an anti-inflammatory—such as ibuprofen—30 minutes before sex. It’s important to remember that the pain fades after the acute phase, which is typically about 18 months.
Find your best angle
Try experimenting with different positions. Some couples report that having the woman on top makes it easier for an upward curving penis, while men with a side-curving penis report that doggy style allows them to shift their body behind their partner as needed.
Treat erectile dysfunction (ED)
With the onset of Peyronie’s, you might also experience bouts of ED. But just as Peyronie’s doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life, neither does ED. Talk to your physician to strategize various options, from medications to devices and more.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of Peyronie’s disease and have little knowledge of the condition, try to understand that it’s common, treatable and tolerable. Don’t let Peyronie’s throw you a curve—talk to your doctor about your options.