Updated: Mar 11
Dear Dr. K, My erections used to be straight and firm. Now my penis has a bend in it. What’s up with that?
Normal penises can have a slight bend or curvature in the non-erect or erect state. A newly developed bend or angulation in an erect penis is most often the result of a fibrous plaque that forms in the penis. This plaque is usually the result of some injury to the penis, most commonly during sex but also may occur following a sporting injury. This is called Peyronie’s disease (PD). The causative injury may be insignificant, or a man may feel a popping sensation in the penis, most often during sex, followed by pain and perhaps bruising. Inflammatory cells respond to the injury and lay down a matrix of fibrous tissue, forming a thickening in the lining of the penile shaft.
There may be a genetic factor involved as PD can be seen in family members. Dupuytren’s contracture in the hands and feet may result from a similar inflammatory response which may have an underlying genetic component. In the shaft of the penis are two chambers (corpora cavernosa) that are filled with a spongy material which fill up with blood during an erection. Each chamber of this spongy material is encased in a tough but elastic sheath (tunica albuginea) that expands as the spongy tissue fills with blood.