Peyronie’s disease is a condition that causes a buildup of scar tissue inside the penis as well as bent erections.
This curving of the penis can make sex uncomfortable or even painful. As a result, many people living with Peyronie’s disease experience high levels of stress resulting from their condition.
Part of this stress can come from the impact of the condition on your sex life.
In some cases, people with Peyronie’s disease feel that their body is betraying them, which can also be distressing, said Christian Jordal, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist.
They think that “a penis is supposed to operate a certain way and look a certain way, and when it doesn’t, they think, ‘There’s something wrong with me,’” he said.
While it’s common to feel stressed about this condition, there are ways you can manage that stress. Here are some ways to cope with stress from living with Peyronie’s disease.
Like many conditions that can affect a person’s ability to have sex, Peyronie’s disease can feel taboo, so it’s often not discussed.
This can put you in the stressful position of feeling like you’re the only one who has the condition.
“This [belief] magnifies that sense of ‘There’s something wrong with me, and I can’t talk about it,’” said Jordal.
However, the condition might be more common than you realize. Scientific literature has estimated that up to 9 percent of men will develop Peyronie’s disease, but in reality, the rates may be even higher.
So, while you might feel alone in having this diagnosis, the reality is that you’re absolutely not. Understanding just how many people are affected by Peyronie’s disease can help reduce the stress you may feel about the condition.
Connecting with others who have Peyronie’s disease gives you the space to openly discuss your experiences and treatment options. This, in turn, may help you feel better.
Here are a few Peyronie’s disease support groups to check out:
- Peyronie’s Disease Society support forum
- The Erectile Dysfunction Foundation support forum
- Peyronie’s Disease Support Facebook group
Not all support groups are created equal, though. If the group you join features frequent discussions that make you feel worse about the condition, it could end up increasing your stress, said Jordal.
Look around for a safe, supportive community with attentive moderators. And be mindful about how you feel when reading others’ posts and sharing your experience.
Not everyone with Peyronie’s disease needs treatment. But if the condition is causing you stress, pain, or difficulty having sex, it’s worth looking into treatment options.
Treatment may include:
- shockwave therapy
- collagenase injections
Looking into treatments comes with the added benefit of giving you a sense of control over the condition — potentially helping you feel less stressed.
And remembering that this is a health condition, just like any other disease, “helps you shift from feeling stuck and helpless,” said Jordal.
Not all treatments are appropriate for everyone with Peyronie’s disease, and some are offered only once the condition has stabilized. Talk with your doctor about which options are right for you.
Connecting with a mental health professional can give you the opportunity to work through the emotional aspects of Peyronie’s disease and develop personalized ways to manage your stress.
If Peyronie’s disease is having a negative effect on your intimate relationships, you may also consider setting up an appointment with a sex therapist.
These professionals are specifically qualified to help people navigate concerns around physical and emotional intimacy.
They also work with couples, so your partner can join in on the conversation.
Erectile dysfunction and other sexual conditions related to Peyronie’s disease can be a big factor in how much stress you feel about the condition.
But it’s important to remember that intimacy can mean much more than sexual intercourse.
“There are other ways that you can participate in and tune into your enjoyment of sex,” said Jordal.
While it’s not easy, try to think of Peyronie’s disease as an opportunity to experiment with what feels good for you and your partner. Finding new ways to experience pleasure can help alleviate some of the stress from the condition.
A sex therapist can also be a helpful resource for figuring out new forms of intimacy for you and your partner to try.
Having an open line of honest communication with your partner can go a long way toward feeling more comfortable about Peyronie’s disease and its impact on your sex life.
If you’re worried about experiencing pain or discomfort, try to talk about it with your partner.
Letting them know your concerns gives them a chance to provide support. It may also help eliminate misunderstanding and preserve your intimacy.
Peyronie’s disease is more than a physical condition — it can also impact your emotional well-being. Finding ways to manage the stress can help you feel better and avoid friction in your intimate relationships.
If you’re experiencing stress from Peyronie’s disease, consider joining a support group and talking with a mental health professional. A sex therapist can also work with you and your partner to find new ways of being intimate.
Talking with your doctor about treatment options can also give you an opportunity to reverse penis curvature and feel more in control of your condition.