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The prevalence of Peyronie's disease: results of a large survey.

BJU International 2001 November
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of Peyronie's disease, a localized connective tissue disorder of the penile tunica albuginea, the symptoms of which include palpable plaque, painful erections and curvature of the penis, in a large sample of men in Germany.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A standardized questionnaire was sent to 8000 male inhabitants (age range 30-80 years) of the greater Cologne area (approximately 1.5 million inhabitants). Three questions about the self-diagnosis of Peyronie's disease were previously assessed for validity on 158 healthy men and 24 patients with confirmed Peyronie's disease. To optimize the response rate, the questionnaire was mailed three times to all the men.

RESULTS: The response rate after the third mailing was 55.4% (4432 men): 142 men (3.2%, mean age 57.4 years, SD 13.4) reported the new appearance of a palpable plaque which, from the previous validation, was the most sensitive question and the main symptom of the disease. In men aged 30-39 years only 1.5% reported localized penile induration, compared with 3.0% in those 40-49 and 50-59 years, 4.0% in those 60-69 years and 6.5% of those > 70 years old. Newly occurring angulation was reported by 119 of the 142 men (84%) and painful erection by 66 (46.5%). The combination of the three symptoms (plaque, deviation and painful erection) was reported by 46 of the 4432 respondents (1.04%), i.e. 32% of the 142 men with penile induration; 58 of the 142 men (41%) reported erectile dysfunction.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first large cross-sectional, community-based study to examine the prevalence of Peyronie's disease. Using previously validated questions the prevalence of Peyronie's disease in the sample was 3.2%; this is much higher than indicated in previous reports. A comparably high prevalence is reported for diabetes and urolithiasis, suggesting that this 'rare' disease is more widespread than previously thought.

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