Peyronie’s Disease is hard to spell but easier to pronounce (Pay-Row-knees). It’s a disease that strikes men and can lead to painful erections.

The condition, which can cause stress in a sexual relationship, is also known as penile curvature. Peyronie’s Disease is a buildup of plaque within a section of the penis. The plaque, starting out as inflammation, can turn into hardened scar tissue. The end result can be a painful, curved penis, which can make it extremely difficult to engage in sex.

The disease has been around for centuries. Dr. L. Dean Knoll says it was first described in 1743 by Francois de la Peyronie, who was King Louis XV’s court physician. The condition, which can create erectile dysfunction, can produce varied penile configurations, including that of an hourglass.

Knoll, Medical Director for both the Center for Urological Treatment and Medical Research Associates of Nashville, says, “the erectile dysfunction, that can come with this, has been reported to affect anywhere from 20 to 54 percent of men with Peyronie’s.” He adds that about 60 to 70 percent of men with Peyronie’s Disease will have an associated vascular abnormality, “such that the scar tissue doesn’t allow for the trapping of blood in the penis. Patients don’t obtain or maintain good quality erections.”

Peyronie’s disease affects more men than originally thought. Knoll, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, says it’s estimated that up to seven to ten percent of patients may be affected with Peyronie’s. “The reason the incidence is higher than it originally was thought to be is that more men are seeking therapy for it (thanks, in part, to the growth of E.D.commercials on television).”

The painful condition, thought to be related to penile trauma, according to Knoll, mostly affects the age group of 45 to 59. Knoll says, “They tend to have similar sexual activities, as far as how they have their intercourse, but in that age group, the erection is not quite as rigid as it was when they were 20 or 30 years old. Subsequently, the penis seems to bend more and that sets up the inflammation in the blood vessels to the covering of the erection body. That’s why they end up  having Peyronie’s Disease more frequently.”

If you’re diagnosed with Peyronie’s by your primary care physician, you need to be referred to  a urologist.

Catching Peyronie’s early is important, according to Knoll. If you catch it early, “you have a better chance of truncating the inflammatory process.” The problem, says Knoll, is doctors don’t have the best medical therapy (oral or injectable drugs) to stop Peyronie’s.  “We’ve tried all kinds of therapies in the past (such as ultrasound therapy). They’ve all showed limited and unpredictable success,” notes Knoll.

Knoll says there’s an investigational drug being looked at. Xiaflex (in phase three clinical trials) could be injected into the scar and it would diminish the deposition of the scar tissue. If approved by the FDA in a few years, this drug, according to Knoll, could help straighten the penis, avoiding surgical treatment.

Surgical treatment options include penile straightening. Another procedure involves removing tissue on the opposite side of the curvature, thereby straightening the penis. The down side of this procedure is patients can lose further penile length. “Most of us are doing an incision and a partial excision of the scar. We’re laying in some bio material grafting. These bio materials get absorbed and becomes pliable..the penis is straight when they attempt intercourse,” says Knoll.

If you suspect any changes with your penis, see medical help. “Don’t sit and live with the condition and think it will go away. It won’t. Obviously, the sooner they see a urologist the better off these patients are,” says Knoll.

Visit Dr. Knoll at