Penile Curvature in Peyronie’s Disease: What You Need to Know
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a board-certified urologist in NYC who specializes in treating men with Peyronie’s disease.
Penile Curvature is One of the Most Common Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
Penile curvature is one of the most common manifestations of Peyronie’s disease.
It is important to recognize that many men have mild life-long curvature called congenital penile curvature. The congenital penile curvature is not caused by Peyronie’s disease.
This article deals with penile curvature caused by Peyronie’s disease.
Some men have a mild curvature that bothers them visually but does not cause any difficulty with erections or sex. Other men have more pronounced and more severe bent, which makes it difficult to have intercourse. When the curvature is moderate, it makes it necessary to find a particular position that may work better. Penile bent can cause severe pain for the patient or his sexual partner during intercourse.
When the curvature is severe enough, it may be difficult or impossible to engage in intercourse.
What You Need to Know About Measuring Penile Curvature
Penile curvature is measured in degrees. Typically curvature less than 20 degrees is mild and usually, no treatment is required. Curvature more than 30 degrees to 70 degrees is moderate and curvature of more than 60-70 degrees is severe.
Penile curvature measurement is challenging. It is important to understand the factors that affect the measurement of penile curvature.
Curvature can only be measured accurately if the penis is fully erect. Men with severe curvature can have only mildly noticeable curvature when the penis is semi-erect.
Penile Curvature Shape is an Indicator of Anatomic Problem
Penile curvature is typically caused by aggregation of scar tissue called Peyronie’s plaque. Typically the plaque is located in the area of curvature. Usually but not always, one can feel a hard ‘knot’ in the penis that corresponds to Peyronie’s plaque. There may be more than one palpable plaque.
Peyronie ’s curvature may be pointing the penis up, to the side, or down to the floor.
The location of the Peyronie’s plaque usually determines the location and the shape of curvature.
Dorsal Penile Plaque
Dorsal plaque (plaque located on the upper part of the penis shaft) usually causes the penis to point up or to the side. Sometimes the curvature may be multi-dimensional pointing both up and to the side. Occasionally the curvature may be even more complex ‘doughnut-like” causing severe multi-dimensional curvature. The dorsal curvature is the most common type occurring in 60-70% of patients, sometimes with a secondary lateral curvature.
Ventral Peyronie’s Plaque
Ventral plaque of the penis (plaque located on the underneath of the penis) usually causes the penis to point down, but it may also cause the penis to point to the side depending on the exact location of the plaque. Ventral plaque is less common, occurring in about 10-20% of patients.
Ventral plaque is located in proximity to the urethra, the tube through which the urine passes. Occasionally, it may cause narrowing of the urethra. For men with severe ventral curvature or urinary symptoms (slow urine stream, frequent urination, split urine stream) a cystoscopy may be necessary to evaluate the urethra for narrowing (stricture).
Distal Peyronie’s Plaque
Peyronie’s plaque that is located closer towards the tip of the penis (distally) causes curvature that is located closer towards the tip of the penis. For the same degree of curvature, curvature that is closer to the tip of the penis tends to affect men more severely in terms of sexual function than a similar plaque that occurs closer to the base (or beginning of the penis).
We offer affordable, highest-quality urology care.