Alternative Treatments for Peyronie’s Disease
As the surgical treatment of Peyronie’s disease is risky, expensive and is often considered as the last resort, more and more treatment modalities are being introduced. Some of these include include vitamin E in tablet or cream form, potassium aminobenzoate (a chemical that belongs to the Vitamin B group and is used to break down hard, fibrous skin), and quite recently, the use of external penis stretchers.
Vitamin E: Antioxidants such as vitamin E prevent ﬁbrosis. Early studies on the use of vitamin E in Peyronie’s disease reported a decrease in penile curvature in 78% of patients and a decrease in plaque size in 91%. Though the recent evidence does not support a strong role for vitamin E, the low toxicity and cheaper cost of the supplement encourages its use either alone or in combination with other treatment options in Peyronie’s disease.
Potassium para-aminobenzoate (POTABA): POTABA has long been suggested both by medical / alternative treatment experts as an effective therapy for the plaque, curvature, and pain produced by chronic Peyronie's disease. In a study done on 32 adult men who were treated for at least 3 months with POTABA on daily basis, symptom resolution was significantly seen. For example, improvement in penile discomfort / pain was seen in 8 of 18 patients, and decreased plaque size was found in 18 of 32 patients. Similarly, a significant improvement in penis angle (curvature) was seen in 18 patients while 8 patients reported complete correction of the curvature. However, even PTABA is not free of side effects and its efficacy still needs to be established in a vast majority of patients.
Traction-based extenders: Out of all these alternative options, penis stretchers (or extenders) have emerged as the most promising treatment option because of their high successful rate, long-lasting impact and safety. The most unique fact about the successful use of penis extenders in the treatment of Peyronie’s disease is that, unlike other natural / alternative methods of supplements, their use has been documented, established and recommended by several clinical trials and studies. In one of such study which was presented in the 2nd European Congress of Andrology (September 2002), the efficacy of mechanical penile stretching (PS) to reduce penile deformity during erection was tested. The study was done in Italy on ten patients affected by Peyronie's disease, apparently unchanged at least for the latest 3 months and with penile curvature during erection (PEC). Measurements were performed before and after daily home penile stretching application (at least four hours / day) for 3 to 6 months. As a result, penile curvature during erection was significantly and successfully decreased after 3 months. Also, the treatment was well tolerated (no severe complication and no patient drop outs occurred). The results suggested a promising use of penile stretchers in selected Peyronie's patients affected by penile curvature without erectile dysfunction.
While surgery is still an option, it is often associated with a high risk of complications, more costs and other problems.
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