Peyronie’s disease is probably a very old condition, one that’s been around for centuries if not since mankind’s first days on this planet. Like erectile dysfunction and other intimate problems, the condition has not been openly discussed for a long time, as men tried to hide it from the world and from themselves. In the ages when people frowned upon intimate diseases and there was little understanding of illnesses and their causes, it’s easy to guess why nobody wanted to bring up this topic. The natural fear of impotence or sexually transmitted diseases was bad enough in those times.
The first clinical reports on this condition were made more than 250 years ago by Francois Gigot de la Peyronie, the man whose name is still linked to the condition, although the first to mention it was Cesare Aranzi in 1587. De la Peyronie was a brilliant surgeon and one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Surgery in France. His work on the penile curvature was the first and, for a long while, the only step toward the modern attempts to cure it. Unfortunately, today we are no closer to a comprehensive definition of the causes of Peyronie’s disease than Peyronie himself was in 1743.
Most doctors agree with the assumption (as yet unproven) that Peyronie’s disease is caused by microvascular trauma during intercourse. Unfortunately, since the tunica albuginea (the layer of the penis where the condition develops) is not rich in blood vessels, the healing process does not always follow the normal course. Multiple instances of intercourse trauma and poor healing lead to the formation of a plaque, which is made of fibrin, a protein that helps blood clot. This plaque prevents the normal expansion of the penis tissues during erection, thus causing the characteristic bend.
It is also believed that the diseases develops only in men who are genetically predisposed to the accumulation of fibrin within the tunica albuginea and the expansion of plaque to healthy tissue along the dorsal and ventral midline of the shaft. However, one must keep in mind that this attempt at etiology is still speculation at this moment. Unfortunately, Peyronie’s disease is considered a rare diseases and non-life-threatening, which means that only a handful of professionals are actually interested in uncovering the causes and finding a cure.