Patients, Ads Set Men Straight on Peyronie’s
''He's just starting to notice that his penis is curved when it's erect,'' says Wallace. He showed it to his wife, Lisa, who said, ``Looks good to me. I didn't think much about
Men have no reason to expect a straight erection, but Wallace's flexion sharpened rapidly to his 45 degrees, about two inches from his head. Soon he was unable to have sex. The curvature was caused by plaque that had accumulated on the top of his penis.
It was short overall when standing upright.
The doctor recommended his $1,200 tube of medicine that could break down the plaque. He was told to bend his penis against the curve. ''You might hear a very loud crackling sound,'' Wallace recalled the doctor's words.
Wallace, his 60-year-old IT worker in Dubuque, Iowa, received few proper treatment options, but he received a diagnosis.
Peyronie's disease. Connective tissue diseases cause scar tissue to form on the albuginea membrane (the blood-carrying tube that expands during an erection) in the penis. Scar tissue is believed to be the result of mild or severe trauma to organs during sexual or exercise.
Amy Perlman, M.D., an assistant professor of urology at the University of Iowa and the physician who ultimately guided Wallace to proper treatment, likens the penis to ''a prize fighter who has been in the boxing ring for years. No one walks into a boxing ring and gets a scar.” And scar tissue doesn't stretch.
The incidence of Peyronie's Syndrome varies as men are too shy to talk about the problem. According to Perlman, the percentage ranges from his 0.5% to 20% of men. Wayne J.G. Hellstrom, M.D., professor of urology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, puts it at 4%.
The condition is often painful. Men with Peyronie's disease tend to be middle-aged and have other medical conditions such as diabetes and erectile dysfunction, and in Wallace's case both.
Surgery involving penile implants has been a treatment option, as have stretching exercises and spring-loaded traction devices that bend the penis in the opposite direction of its curve.
Wallace declined the option of surgery. ''The first words that came out of my mouth were, 'No one is going to attack there with a knife,''' he says.
The first FDA-approved non-surgical treatment for Peyronie's disease, an injectable drug called Xiaflex, hit the market in 2013. Xiaflex has become the preferred choice for treating Peyronie's disease in men with more than 30 degrees of penile flexion.
Hellstrom, who helped develop Xiaflex, said studies show improvement in his 70% of men who have had four courses of treatment. An early study found that his penile curvature improved by 34% (about 17 degrees). Perlman's goal is to not be afraid of getting an erection.
His Endo Pharmaceuticals, which sells Xiaflex, launched an advertising campaign last fall aimed at rekindling Peyronie's conversation. Goal-winning NFL viewers saw the company's ''crooked carrot'' commercial for the first time.
There were smirks in some corners, and some critics said they didn't want to see ads like that while they were eating. is a simple way to deal with serious problems.
''I spoke to a man who had the disease,'' Endo said, ''but in a way that would turn off network television,'' he says. ''The bottom line is that it works.''
Peyronie's disease is ''a very distressing condition for people,'' says Perlman. ''No father tells his son about curvature.''
Before getting Xiaflex, Wallace said, ''He was pretty depressed. I didn't think there was a solution for that. It's kind of detrimental to your mental health. ”
Wallace said the insurance-covered treatment was uncomfortable but painless, although many patients did experience pain.
''In his next three to four days, his penis will look like an eggplant,'' he says. ''It's all black and blue and swollen.''
Its curvature went from 45 degrees for him to 20 degrees for him which is much more manageable. Although he still uses a penis pump and takes ED medication, he ''feels like he's got his 20-year-old libido back,'' he says.
man on duty
Wallace has become an evangelist for Peyronie's disease treatments, often through his Facebook. He had been in contact with three men in the past, two of whom were suicidal. ''It tore me apart,'' he says.
A big stumbling block is often men who don't want to deal with their problems.
''It's very difficult to talk about and men are not good advocates for their own health,'' says Mattis. ''
Hellstrom said he saw more patients as a result of the ''crooked carrot'' commercial. ''It's very effective,'' he says. ''There is no reason to wait and worry about sending patients home this year. Treatment should begin immediately.''
Xiaflex is not widely spread, so treatment is not so easy. Alison Jenner from the UK said her husband's bouts of erectile dysfunction, especially Peyronie, were disturbing.
“We had less and less sexual contact, he got more and more angry, and gradually his anger turned into depression,” she says. ''We were separated and living like strangers. It was like living with a roommate instead of a husband.''
Jenner's husband was successfully treated with a penis pump, the drug Cialis, and a tightening ring. Her sex life improved, but ''he never told anyone about it,'' Jenner said. , found that people like Wallace were very helpful in getting men to open up.
''Maybe it's time to give something back,'' says Wallace.
30 Dec 2022