Peyronie’s disease is distressing for men, but it can affect their female partners, too, researchers have found.
Healthcare providers might approach Peyronie’s disease as a couples issue, they said.
Experts believe that Peyronie’s disease is caused by an injury to the penis that doesn’t heal the way it should. Instead, hardened plaques form just below the skin’s surface. Because of these plaques, the penis curves. Men may have pain and trouble with erections, too. Penetrative intercourse can become extremely difficult and, in some cases, impossible.
Not surprisingly, Peyronie’s disease takes a toll on a man’s sex life, both physically and emotionally. Men may become frustrated and depressed that they cannot have sex the way they used to. They may worry about satisfying their partners.
Partners may feel upset as well, missing the intimacy they once shared. The curvature can also make intercourse painful. Some couples – even those with solid relationships - find it hard to talk about the situation and drift apart.
To find out more, researchers read 13 previously published medical studies that discussed the impact of Peyronie’s disease on female partners. (The authors explained that most studies that include partners of men with Peyronie’s disease focus on female partners. They called for further research involving non-female partners.)
After analyzing the studies, the researchers found that up to 30% of couples were not having sex before the men’s Peyronie’s disease treatment. If they did, female partners often had sexual pain and low sexual satisfaction.
However, treatment did seem to improve partner satisfaction. For example, about 70% of the patients receiving injections of collagenase Clostridium histolyticum (CCh) had more satisfied partners after treatment. Partner satisfaction rates with surgical treatments ranged from 34% to 100%. And for Peyronie’s patients who received penile prostheses (implants), partner satisfaction rates were between 40% and 75%. (Note: To learn more about treatments for Peyronie’s disease, see the links below.)
The consulted papers did have limitations, the authors said. Many studies had small groups of participants, didn’t use the same validated assessment tools, and didn’t use control groups for comparison. Also, it was unclear whether the women had any degree of sexual dysfunction before the studies began.
Still, the authors recommended that partners be involved when men are treated for Peyronie’s disease.
“Encouraging partners to attend clinic appointments starting with the initial consultation will further open the lines of communication,” they wrote.
Learn more about Peyronie’s disease treatments:
Sexual Medicine Reviews
Parikh, Niki N., MD, MBA, et al.
“A Review of Treatment-Related Outcomes in Female Partners of Men With Peyronie's Disease—An Opportunity for Improved Assessment”
(Full-text. Published: July 1, 2020)