Peyronie's Disease (also known as Chronic Inflammation of the Tunica Albuginea (CITA), is a connective tissue disorder involving the growth of fibrous plaques, or scarring, in the soft tissue of the penis. It is estimated to affect up to 10% of all men, although many cases go unreported. Specifically, scar tissue forms in the thick sheath of tissue surrounding the dilatable spaces of the penis which fill with blood and become distended with erection. The condition causes pain, abnormal curvature, erectile dysfunction, indentation, and shortening of the penis. While among CITA's symptoms is not bladder control problems, because of its interference with normal sexual intimacy and the dysfunction that accompanies it, at NAFC we are prepared to address it and help to refer callers to further information and clinical experts.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking seem to be more common among men with Peyronie's disease. Invasive procedures, like a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate as treatment for prostate cancer) may also increase the risk of developing Peyronie's disease. However, studies aiming to draw causal links between such factors and CITA remain inconclusive to date. Doctors do not know why some men develop Peyronie's disease and others do not. It is generally believed that it is a wound-healing disorder that prevents tissues in the penis from healing properly and that the disease is activated by injury to the penis. The injury can be a significant trauma or the accumulation of minor ones - like those that occur during normal sexual intercourse.
For many, the disease does change over time but it does not go away. It usually occurs in two phases - the acute (or active) phase when the most changes in the penis occur and the pain is most acute and the chronic (or stable) phase when the pain may subside substantially and changes cease to occur. In rare cases, Peyronie's disease resolves on its own within 12-18 months without any form of medical treatment.
A variety of treatments have been used, but none has been especially effective. Complete success from invasive surgery tend to average 50-60%, and in about a third of the cases the condition returns after a number of years. Some of the country's recognized experts in studying and treating CITA include Dr. Tom Lue of UCSF Medical Center, Dr. Lawrence Levine of the University of Chicago, and Dr. Cully Carson at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Levine, a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Association of Peyronie's Disease Advocates (APDA), recommends the following approaches among viable nonsurgical intervention and treatment:
"First is a combination of oral pentoxifylline 400 mg three times a day and L-arginine 1,000 mg twice a day. Although these drugs have not been shown in any large-scale multi-center trials to be effective, there is some evidence that they may reduce the likelihood of progression of scarring and may have some beneficial effects on scar remodeling and resolution. These drugs are relatively inexpensive, non-toxic, and tend to be well tolerated. This combination of drugs should be taken for about 6 months....."