Causes and Risk Factors for Peyronie's Disease

The cause of Peyronie's disease is unknown. Cases that develop suddenly are often caused by trauma to the penis (e.g., invasive penile procedure, injury, extremely vigorous sexual activity). Invasive penile procedures include urethral catheterization, cystoscopy, and transurethral prostatectomy.

Cases of Peyronie's that develop over time may be caused by an inherited abnormality of human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27), suggesting a genetic link. Also, Peyronie's occurs more frequently in men with family members who have the condition or a connective tissue disorder (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus). About 30 percent of patients with Peyronie's disease also develop hardened tissue in other parts of the body, such as the hand (e.g., Dupuytren's contracture) or the foot.

Microscopic examination of hardened tissue in cases of Peyronie's disease is consistent with cases of severe inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis), suggesting the condition may have a vascular (i.e., pertaining to blood vessels) cause. Diabetes, which often leads to blood vessel disease, is also considered a risk factor.

The use of the antihypertension medication propranolol (Inderal) has been found to cause the condition in rare cases. Peyronie's disease has also been associated with vitamin E deficiency.

Publication Review By: Barton H. Wachs, M.D., F.A.C.S., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 29 Sep 2015