Acquired curvature of the penis (IPP) is a condition that usually results from violent sexual intercourse, during which the penis is severely bent or kinked. This leads to the smallest injuries in the tissue, which harden over time and cause the penis to curve. IPP is to be distinguished from congenital curvature of the penis.
What is penile curvature?
When it comes to the term “ penile curvature ”, as already indicated, a distinction must be made between congenital and acquired penile curvature. The congenital form is understood to mean a changed penis shape that already exists at birth, which is often caused by an asymmetrical development of the penile tissue. See electronicsencyclopedia for Slang AIHA.
The acquired curvature of the penis, which is described below, usually only occurs around the age of 50. In medical terminology, it is also referred to as induratio penis plastica (IPP), which means something like »deformation of the penis due to hardening«. In the past, the curvature of the penis was also known as Peyronie’s disease, after the French surgeon de la Peyronie, who first described the disease in the mid-18th century.
With penile curvature, pathological hardening forms in the penile tissue, but these are benign. They cause the curvature of the penis, which is usually only visible during erection.
Acquired penile curvature is caused by hardening in the penile tissue. However, what causes these changes has not yet been fully researched.
Penile tissue injuries are thought to be the main cause. They can occur during sexual intercourse when the penis is bent or even kinked when it is erect. This can lead to tears in the cavernous body shell, but these are so small that they are usually not noticed.
Normally, these injuries heal without any problems, but in some men connective tissue is deposited in the tears, which can be felt as small nodules through the skin. Over time, these knots harden, causing the curvature. The reason why the cracks heal in some men and the nodules form in others is believed to be a disruption in connective tissue metabolism.
Another possible reason for the curvature of the penis is genetic predisposition, but no precise facts have been researched yet.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Symptoms of penile curvature vary. This depends on whether the penile curvature is congenital or acquired. Acquired penile curvature leads to the formation of palpable and sometimes visible plaques.
These consist of hardening on the shaft of the penis and form over a period of several weeks and months. These hardenings can be up to three centimeters in size and can appear anywhere on the shaft. They are more common on the top than on the bottom of the limb. This leads to fibrosis as a result of the proliferating and hardening connective tissue. The limb bends in the direction of hardening and thus mostly upwards.
The extent of the curvature can be very different and it can also happen that the limb bends in several directions. This can lead to erection problems and pain during intercourse. In addition, the plaques can lead to reduced blood flow, which makes the erection less hard towards the glans.
Those affected by a curvature of the penis experience restrictions in their sex life due to the changed limb. The plaques rarely cause nerve damage and loss of sensitivity to the penis (especially the glans). Congenital curvature of the penis, on the other hand, hardly causes any symptoms. The main symptom is a curved – but mostly fully functional – penis. Restrictions in sex life only occur with very severe curvatures.
Diagnosis & History
The symptoms of acquired penile curvature vary. In some people, the curve comes on suddenly, in others, it develops gradually. Pain can occur, especially during intercourse, but in some patients, penile curvature is completely painless.
Hardening of the connective tissue usually occurs on the upper side of the penis shaft, but can also form in other places. Due to the hardening, the cavernous body skin can no longer adapt to the erect shape of the penis. It shortens at the point where the nodules lie and a bend is formed. The larger the knots, the more the penis curves.
If the hardening occurs on two opposite sides, the penis can become constricted. If several nodules have formed in different places, this can lead to a shortening of the penis. Erection problems can also arise.
To make the diagnosis, the doctor asks about the medical history and the symptoms and feels the penis for existing nodules. Ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRT) and X-rays can be used to visualize the connective tissue deposits that occur with a penis curvature and any inflammation that may be present.
Complications related to penile curvature can be psychological and physical. Since a curvature of the penis can be stressful for those affected, a negative self-image can develop. Depression or general moodiness can follow and have consequences if the condition persists for a long time.
Examples include drug use and self-injurious behavior. It can also cause social stress. An unsatisfactory or non-existent sex life due to penile curvature increases these effects. In addition, a relationship suffers as a result.
Further complications can occur due to unqualified, supposed self-help measures. Devices or drugs intended to supposedly straighten the limb can at most lead to poisoning or serious injury. Physical attempts by the person concerned to straighten the penis are particularly dangerous. In the worst case, this can lead to a cavernous tear, a painful skin injury or similar.
Complications can also occur as a result of the surgical treatment of a penile curvature. In about ten percent of cases, erectile dysfunction occurs afterwards. The susceptibility to infection is also temporarily greatly increased after such an operation. Scars, bleeding and inflammation are possible. An operation should therefore be carefully considered and only carried out if absolutely necessary.
When should you go to the doctor?
A curvature of the penis is only a reason to see a doctor under certain circumstances. In the case of congenital penile deviation, for example, it does not require treatment as long as the limb is perceived to be functional and an acceptable sex life can be experienced. The curvature is perceived very subjectively by the men affected and is often considered an aesthetic problem. In fact, most congenital penile curvatures are not so serious that they would cause problems.
An acquired – i.e. later occurring – penis deviation is a reason to see a doctor. It is less about the distortion itself than about the possible background. There are several diseases (e.g. plaque build-up, diabetes) that can cause the limb to curve.
Major changes in the limb are always a reason to see a urologist. In addition, a urologist should also be consulted if the sexual sensitivity suffers from the curvature. Depending on the person, this can be the case with very different degrees of curvature. There are men who have no complaints despite a pronounced curvature of their member and those who have problems due to the change in shape.
If one’s own limb also burdens the psyche because it is perceived as “ugly” or “repulsive”, talk therapy can help. This is especially true if the curvature of the penis is not a medical problem.
Treatment & Therapy
To date, no curative therapy for acquired penile curvature is known. However, treatments are possible that alleviate the symptoms and have a beneficial effect on the course of penile curvature. For example, medications are prescribed to be taken that have an anti-inflammatory and anti- scarring effect, such as vitamin E or colchicine.
In addition, it can be treated with creams and gels, which are applied directly to the penis. Cortisone or interferon injections into the penile shaft at the affected areas are also used for treatment. However, this method is controversial because, in addition to the healing effect of the injection, further injuries to the penile tissue with renewed scarring are possible through the insertion of the needle.
Another treatment option is extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), in which the hardened connective tissue knots are shattered by shock waves. After the acute phase has subsided, in which the injuries are still fresh and the inflammation is still present, an operation can be carried out. Here, the hardening caused by the curvature of the penis is removed.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis and future prospects of a penile curvature are linked to the underlying cause. In the case of a congenital health impairment, spontaneous healing or relief of the symptoms is not to be expected without medical care. The tissues of the penis are damaged from birth and therefore developed asymmetrically. There may be changes in the development process and thus a decrease in irregularities. Still, recovery is not achieved in most men.
There is a genetic defect that cannot be changed with the current scientific and legal possibilities. In particularly serious cases, surgery is performed. In this case, existing tissue abnormalities are to be changed. The aim of the treatment is to optimize the health problems.
If the person affected suffers from tissue injuries due to an accident or other damage, the healing process can alleviate the symptoms. However, full recovery is often not achieved. Erectile dysfunction or genital pain can develop over time. In addition, the risk of inflammation is increased. With medical care, there are therapy options that lead to an improvement in the overall situation. However, freedom from symptoms is not always achieved.
In principle, psychological complications can be expected with this disease, since a strong emotional state of stress prevails.
There is no specific way to prevent a penis curvature. Since the disease is mainly caused by violent sexual intercourse and by sexual practices in which the penis bends or bends severely, one should avoid this type of sexual intercourse in order to avoid penile curvature.
The purpose of follow-up care is, among other things, to prevent the recurrence of a disease or at least to detect it at an early stage. However, this cannot be decisive in the case of a penis curvature. Because either the malposition of the male member exists or it could be treated successfully. In the latter case, no further follow-up checks are necessary.
The patient can go on with his life. If, on the other hand, a therapy was unsuccessful or was not used, the patient has to cope with limitations in everyday life. In addition to possible physical complaints from an operation, the psychological suffering usually weighs the heaviest. Many sufferers have low self-esteem, which can lead to depression.
Therefore, follow-up care often consists of long-term psychotherapy. Since sexuality takes place in the intimate and familiar area, openness to the respective sexual partner is essential. Therapy can teach how fulfilling sexuality is possible in the face of penile curvature.
However, the implementation of such an act of love in a partnership then falls within the area of responsibility of those affected. Scheduled follow-up examinations over years, as is known from cancer, are not intended for a penile curvature. Patients turn to their doctor for acute problems. There is no life-threatening situation.
You can do that yourself
The options for self-help in the event of penile curvature are limited and have no influence on the cause of the deviation. It should be noted that the need for self-help measures depends on the degree of penile curvature. While a curvature that still allows an intact sex life does not necessarily require treatment, this can be different with a severe curvature.
Since there are hardly any options for treating penile deviation apart from medical treatment (and surgery), various products are offered that supposedly take care of it. However, the use of penis pumps, stretching devices and other utensils that promise to straighten the penis is strongly discouraged. The risk of injury is too high and a (permanent) effect is not to be expected.
In the case of a curvature of the penis, the person concerned basically only has the option of coming to terms with his or her condition – and, if necessary, adapting his or her sex life accordingly – or to seek medical treatment. If erections or irritations of the limb are associated with slight pain, relaxation techniques that have been learned can provide relief if necessary.
In fact, the best way to help yourself is to understand how disabling penile deviation is – and if it might be better to seek medical help.