New study tries to link Peyronie’s disease with low testosterone
As we have extensively discussed in the Peyronie’s disease (PD) section (link), PD is a wound-scar of the connective tissue of the tunica albuginea of the penis, i.e. the tissue which covers the penis erection mechanism. This wound-scar is caused by the growth of a fibrous collagen plaque resulting in penile deformity. Due to this plaque the penis loses its elasticity leading to a number of other problems such as penile curvature, penile pain, and erectile dysfunction.
Although the causes of Peyronie’s disease have not yet been confirmed, low testosterone (T) levels have been suggested by several studies as a risk factor for the development of Peyronie’s disease (PD) and Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Some studies have also shown that low T levels may also be associated with the severity of Peyronie’s disease as well as with changes of the plaque’s size, apart from the fact that low T levels are generally affecting the man’s overall sexual health. In fact Testosterone deficiency is related to the loss of sexual drive, difficulty in achieving erection, and poor semen production. However, despite the fact that low T is common in men with sexual dysfunction, its role in the pathogenesis of PD particularly, remains ambiguous. Five researchers aiming to answer this question and examine the role of low T in PD and ED conditions published a new study which takes the matter one step further.
The researchers who conducted the study, which was published in the journal of Sexual Medicine, aimed at comparing the prevalence of low Testosterone levels in PD and ED patients, as well as at examining whether low T plays a significant role in the severity of PD.
185 patients participated in the study and were divided into two groups: 87 patients diagnosed with PD and 98 patients diagnosed with ED. These patients had similar age and no substantial differences in the comorbidities of their disorders.
All patients had serum total T and free T drawn during a morning clinic, generally between 8 am and 11 am. The analysis of the total T levels (normal range 179–756 ng/dL) was performed by the University of North Carolina McLendon Clinical Laboratories and the analysis of the free T levels (normal range 9–30 ng/dL) was performed by Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester, MN, USA, with the free T level calculated by a direct radioimmunoassay. Low T was defined as total T level lower than 300 ng/dL and normal T as total T level higher than 300 ng/dL.¹
The researchers concluded that the total T levels of both groups were similar, specifically 328 ng/dL for PD patients and 332 ng/dL for ED patients. The same applied to the free T levels with 11.5 ng/dL for PD patients and 12.1 ng/dL for ED patients.²
More importantly, the study demonstrated that low T levels did not correlate with PD severity or surgical correction rate. The researchers stated that the comparable prevalence of low T in men with PD and ED suggests that the high rate of low T in PD men may be related to a common process among men with sexual dysfunction characterized by abnormal erectile physiology and not specifically causative in plaque formation.³
1,2,3 Study: Low Testosterone Has a Similar Prevalence among Men with Sexual Dysfunction Due to Either Peyronie’s Disease or Erectile Dysfunction and Does Not Correlate with Peyronie’s Disease Severity.