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doctor with x-ray chartPeyronie's disease, characterized by an abnormal and sometimes painful bend in the penis, is a condition that has probably been around for centuries if not longer. Much like erectile dysfunction and other intimate male problems, this condition is not usually discussed openly out of embarrassment and primarily due to its private nature. A natural fear of sexually transmitted diseases and impotence led most to frown upon intimate diseases and there was little or no understanding of these illnesses and their causes.

Although the first person to make mention of this ailment was Cesare Aranzi in 1587, the name of the disease itself is still linked to Francois Gigot De la Peyronie, the man who created the first clinical reports on this condition more than 250 years ago. De la Peyronie was one of the most brilliant surgeons of his time and one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Surgery in France. His work on penile curvature included the first and, for a very long time, the only steps towards finding a cure. Sadly we are no closer to a comprehensive definition of the causes of Peyronie's disease than Peyronie himself was in 1743.

While still unproven, most doctors agree with the assumption that Peyronie's disease is caused by microvascular trauma occurring during intercourse. Because the tunica albuginea, or the layer of the penis where this condition develops, is not rich in blood vessels, the natural healing process does not always repair the damage. Repeated instances of intercourse trauma combined with poor healing can lead to the formation of a plaque (fibrin), a protein that helps blood clot. This accumulation of plaque prevents the normal expansion of penis tissues during erection, thus causing the characteristic bend.

It is also generally believed that the disease develops only in men who are genetically predisposed to the accumulation of fibrin within the tunica albuginea. In these men the plaque will further expand to the healthy tissues along the dorsal and ventral mid line of the shaft.

Even though many doctors prescribe to the above etiological progression, it should be noted that much of this is still speculation at best. Peyronie's disease is considered a rare and non-life-threatening disease and unfortunately only a handful of professionals are actually interested in uncovering the causes and finding a cure.

Posted by PRS
Friday, August 5th, 2005


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