Among the issues that have plagued male sexual health for centuries, Erectile Dysfunction is probably the most common one. What is Erectile Dysfunction one may ask? Well, Erectile Dysfunction is characterized by the inability of men to obtain and keep erection strong and long enough for sexual intercourse causing shame and ignominy. On the other hand, Peyronie’s disease is identified by the unnatural curvature of the penis and around 5-10% of men around the world suffer from this disease. So, it’s evident that Peyronie’s disease or PD is not that common in men compared to Erectile Dysfunction or ED. But it’s predicted that the number of actual PD patients around the world is exponentially higher than the suggested number. The treatments for both Peyronie’s disease and Erectile Dysfunction have benefitted hugely due to the technological advancements. Decades ago, men had to rely primarily on the herbal medicines in order to find relief from these sexual issues. Thankfully, nowadays a lot of improvements have been made in this regard. In this article we will take a look at some of the potential causes and ED and PD treatment options. Plus, we will also try to address the relationship between these two sexual issues, if there is any.
Understanding Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
What causes Erectile Dysfunction? Well, ED affects millions of men worldwide and can have various causes, both physical and psychological. Conditions that affect blood flow, such as atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), hypertension (high blood pressure), and chronic diabetes, can impair the ability to achieve or maintain an erection. Also, conditions that attack the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or spinal cord injuries, can disrupt the nerve signals necessary for a successful erection. Hormonal imbalance is also possible cause of Erectile Dysfunction. Low levels of testosterone can also contribute to the development of ED. Hormonal imbalances can result from conditions like hypogonadism (low testosterone production) or the use of certain medications. Moreover, certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and blood pressure drugs, can cause or contribute to ED. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and recreational drug use can have adverse effects on erectile function.
Understanding Peyronie’s Disease
We know that Peyronie’s disease is characterized by the formation of fibrous scar tissue which are known as plaques, within the erectile tissue of the penis. These plaques can cause the penis to curve or bend during erection, leading to pain, deformity, and difficulties with sexual intercourse. It’s unclear exactly what causes PD in a man. But it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic predisposition, trauma to the penis, and abnormal wound healing. Physical trauma can damage the penile tissues that ultimately shapes up the penis. Damages to these tissues can lead to the curvature of penis.
The Relationship between ED and Peyronie’s Disease
One may ask, can Peyronie’s disease and ED coexist? The answer is, yes. ED and PD sometime can coexist and there are several overlapping factors that can contribute to their association:
Shared Risk Factors: Both ED and Peyronie’s disease share common risk factors, such as age, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. These risk factors can contribute to vascular damage, inflammation, and impaired tissue healing, which are implicated in both conditions.
Physical and Psychological Impact: The physical symptoms of Peyronie’s disease, such as penile curvature and pain, can directly contribute to difficulties in achieving and maintaining an erection, leading to ED. Additionally, the psychological impact of Peyronie’s disease, including anxiety, depression, and relationship stress, can further exacerbate ED.
Penile Anatomy and Blood Flow: The development of fibrous plaques in Peyronie’s disease can cause structural changes in the penis, affecting blood flow and impairing the ability to achieve or maintain an erection. The presence of plaques can create physical barriers within the penile tissue, leading to ED.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of ED and Peyronie’s Disease
The symptoms of ED and PD for men may vary in severity and presentation. Common symptoms include:
Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual activity is the hallmark symptom of ED. This can manifest as reduced firmness, premature loss of erection, or a complete inability to achieve an erection.
Penile Curvature: Peyronie’s disease is characterized by penile curvature or bending during an erection. The severity of the curvature can vary, ranging from mild to severe, and it can cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
Pain and Discomfort: Both conditions can cause pain or discomfort in the genital area. In Peyronie’s disease, men with PD may experience pain during erection, while in ED, pain may be associated with underlying causes such as vascular or neurological conditions.
Diagnosing both conditions involve a comprehensive evaluation, including:
Medical History: A detailed medical history is essential in identifying potential risk factors, underlying medical conditions, and medication use that may contribute to ED or Peyronie’s disease.
Physical Examination: A healthcare professional may perform a physical examination of the genital area to assess the extent of penile curvature, plaque formation, or other physical abnormalities.
Diagnostic Tests: Additional tests, such as blood tests to evaluate hormone levels, lipid profile, or glucose levels, may be conducted to identify any underlying medical conditions contributing to ED or Peyronie’s disease. Imaging studies, such as ultrasound or MRI, may also be used to assess the severity of penile curvature or plaque formation.
Treatment Options for ED and Peyronie’s Disease
Fortunately, there are a lot of options available for the treatment of these two sexual health issues. Erectile Dysfunction and Peyronie’s disease treatments have developed immensely in recent times.
Lifestyle Modifications: Making healthy lifestyle changes can positively impact both conditions. These include regular exercise, a balanced diet, weight management, smoking cessation, and limiting alcohol consumption.
Medications: Oral medications such as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, including Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, are commonly prescribed for ED. These medications enhance blood flow to the penis, facilitating an erection. However, they do not directly treat Peyronie’s disease.
Penile Injections or Urethral Suppositories: For individuals who do not respond to oral medications, injections of medications directly into the penis or the use of urethral suppositories may be recommended to achieve an erection.
Vacuum Erection Devices: Penile vacuum pumps or vacuum erection devices create a vacuum around the penis, drawing blood into the penile tissue and facilitating an erection. They can be a non-invasive option for individuals with ED.
Psychological Counselling: Psychological counselling or therapy can be beneficial, particularly when psychological factors contribute to or worsen ED or Peyronie’s disease. Counselling can address anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and offer strategies to manage stress and improve sexual function.
Surgery: In severe cases of Peyronie’s disease, where the curvature is significantly affecting sexual function, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical options include penile plication (shortening the longer side of the penis) or penile prosthesis implantation.
Shockwave Therapy: Shockwave therapy, also known as low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (LI-ESWT), has emerged as a promising treatment for both ED and Peyronie’s disease. Shockwave therapy for ED and PD involves the application of acoustic waves to the penis. These sound waves enhance the blood flow within the penis and triggers the formation of new blood vessels. This treatment also promotes tissue healing and reduces the symptoms associated with both ED and PD. Moreover, shockwave therapy for Peyronie’s disease breaks down the plaques that cause the penis to curve in unnatural shape. According to Shockwave Clinics Ltd, which is a specialized men’s health clinic situated in London, right now shockwave therapy is probably the best treatment for ED and PD patients. This therapy has very little side-effects and it is non-invasive by nature. That means patients can often continue with their usual day to day life right after undergoing this treatment. It is also practically painless. Thousands of patients suffering from ED and PD have found reliefs after undergoing shockwave treatment. But it’s important to know that this therapy is yet considered as a new treatment option for male sexual issues. While it worked for some, it may or may not work for others.
EMTT Therapy: Extracorporeal magnetotransduction therapy or EMTT was specifically developed for the musculoskeletal pain and similar illnesses. But recently it has been used as a treatment option for ED and PD. Some studies have showed the effectiveness of this non-invasive treatment option in treating male sexual health issues such as ED and PD. The best thing about this treatment procedure is that, just like shockwave therapy it is painless and it can be used in conjunction with other non-invasive treatments like shockwave therapy, Tesla Chair and NanoVi.
So, as we have seen that there are a lot of interconnections between Peyronie’s disease and ED. But there is no certainty that a patient of PD will definitely experience ED or vice versa. There are a lot of men who suffer from ED but never experienced PD. Similarly, a lot of men face no problem in getting erections but still suffer from PD. But it’s safe to say that, there is some possibility that a PD patient is more likely to develop ED than a man who is not suffering from PD. What’s more interesting is that, a lot of men have bend penis or curved penis but they don’t experience any sort of erectile problem or pain during erection. In that case, this curvature is not always PD. This is why it’s so important to seek medical help if there is any sort of sexual dysfunction. Doctors will evaluate all the potential causes of the issue and provide treatments according to the needs of the individual patients. As mentioned above, there are a wide range of treatments available for ED and PD. While oral medications are the most common forms of treatments, non-invasive treatment options such as shockwave therapy and EMTT therapy are gaining popularity rapidly. Because of their non-invasive nature and the lack of any real dangerous side-effects, these modern treatment technologies are turning out to be very attractive choices to the men who are suffering from sexual issues.
So, if you are suffering from any or both of these sexual conditions, then don’t get scared. Be calm, seek medical help as soon as you can and make sure to follow the instructions of your doctor properly. As well as joining the men’s health forum to engage in discussions and seek advice from others facing similar challenges