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Reviewed by Peter J. Stahl, MD
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So, you've noticed your penis is a little curved and you're here because you're wondering if this is normal or if a penis curve is something you should be worried about.
We'll get straight to the answer: yes, some degree of penis curvature is absolutely normal. Much like your face and body aren’t perfectly symmetrical, it’s pretty typical for your penis to have a slight curve to the left or right.
However, if your penis has a severe curve or is noticeably bent in one direction to the point where it’s causing pain or stops you from being able to enjoy sex, it's not okay. Like, definitely not okay.
Below, we explain what penile curvature is, as well as the specific factors that may cause it to develop. We also explain what you can do to treat it.
It’s normal to have a slight curve in your penis. Your erect penis might curve to the left or to the right, and it might fall to one side when it’s soft. As long as your penis doesn’t stop you from having sex or feel painful, a slight curve usually isn’t a big deal.
The most common cause of severe penile curvature is Peyronie’s disease — a condition that can develop when plaques form inside your penis, stiffening the tissue and causing it to bend in a specific direction when it’s erect.
In Peyronie’s disease, a curve may develop in your penis as the result of an injury. It’s possible to injure your penis during sexual activity, or in an unrelated accident that causes damage to the tissue.
Some men are affected by congenital curvature, a type of penis curvature that’s present from birth. However, congenital curvature is highly uncommon, with research suggesting that less than one percent of the male population is affected.
Not all penis curvature needs to be treated. However, if a curved dick gets in the way of your sexual, physical or mental well-being, it might be possible to correct the issue with medical intervention.
Most of the time, severe penile curvature develops as a result of Peyronie’s disease — a fairly common condition that can occur in men of all ages. It occurs when scar tissue forms in the tunica albuginea — the fibrous membrane that surrounds the erectile tissue inside the shaft of your penis.
Let’s back up…
Your penis is made up of three cylinder-shaped areas. Two of these are masses of soft erectile tissue called the corpora cavernosa. When you’re sexually aroused, these areas of tissue fill with blood and — boom! You get an erection.
The third area contains the urethra (and some other stuff), which connects your bladder to your penis. It also squeezes the vas deferens (the tubes that transport semen from the testes) to help things along when you ejaculate.
All three of these cylindrical areas are covered by a fibrous tissue collectively known as the tunica albuginea. Your tunica albuginea is made up primarily of collagen and elastin — two important proteins that exists as fibers in connective tissue.
When you get an erection, your tunica albuginea traps blood inside the corpora cavernosa and prevents it from flowing back into your circulatory system. Basically, it’s what keeps you hard.
Peyronie’s disease occurs when there’s scar tissue in your tunica albuginea. This scar tissue is mostly made up of a type of collagen, making it inflexible, firm and less able to adapt to the shape of your penis as it changes from being flaccid to erect.
If you have plaques of scar tissue in your tunica albuginea, these may pull on the surrounding tissues of your penis and cause your erection to curve in one direction.
Curvature caused by Peyronie’s disease is definitively more severe and noticeable than the minor curvature of the penis many guys have naturally. It’s also more likely to be uncomfortable, as Peyronie’s disease can involve the development of hard lumps on one or both sides of the penis.
Other common symptoms of Peyronie’s disease include:
Noticeable penile curvature even when you’re not erect
Changes in your penis’s shape, such a shortening of the penis
It may not be the 8th Wonder of the World, but experts don’t know precisely why Peyronie’s disease develops. Not yet, anyway.
But most research suggests that it occurs as the result of physical injuries that affect your penis or as a result of autoimmune conditions that could damage your erectile tissue.
Physical injuries — like ones that develop after vigorous sex, sports or other accidents — can cause Peyronie’s disease.
And autoimmune and connective tissue disorders associated with Peyronie’s disease include plantar fasciitis, scleroderma, Behçet’s disease, Sjögren’s syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
You may have a higher risk of developing Peyronie’s disease if you:
Have family members who also have Peyronie’s disease.
Suffer from an existing autoimmune disease or connective tissue disorder.
Have vigorous, rough or aggressive sex that causes injuries to your penis.
Have diabetes, erectile dysfunction (ED) or a history of receiving prostate cancer treatment.
Your risk of developing Peyronie’s disease also increases with age and is generally more common in older men.
Our guide to Peyronie’s disease goes into more detail about factors that may increase your risk of developing penile curvature.
The litmus test for too much when it comes to penis curve is simple: does it hurt when you get an erection? Does it make getting one or having sex with one difficult?
If the answer to either of those questions is a definitive “yes,” then there ya go — that’s too much curve.
As we mentioned above, there’s no such thing as a flawlessly symmetrical penis. Even if you don’t notice it, your penis probably bends a little to the left or right and points up or down. This is all normal.
Peyronie’s disease usually involves a more noticeable, significant curve to your penis. You may notice that your penis curves noticeably to one direction, or that it has a sharp bend that gives it an unusual appearance.
There’s no minimum degree of curvature for Peyronie’s disease. However, in a review published in the Journal of Urology, a group of researchers noted that:
Approximately 43 percent of men with Peyronie’s disease have curvature of less than 30 degrees.
38.8 percent of men have penile curvature of 31 to 60 degrees, with 18.6 percent of men displaying more than 60 degrees of curvature.
Dorsal curvature (meaning the penis bends upwards) is the most common form of penile curvature in Peyronie’s disease, with lateral curvature also common.
Peyronie’s disease has two phases. During the initial phase, or acute phase, your penis can become inflamed and plaques (not the stuff on your teeth) may form inside the tunica albuginea. This results in the progressive curvature and pain of the penis.
After 12 to 18 months, Peyronie’s disease generally becomes chronic. During this phase, the curvature of the penis stabilizes, or does not get any worse. While the penile pain typically decreases in the chronic phase, erection dysfunction may begin (or get worse).
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To diagnose Peyronie’s disease, a healthcare professional will likely ask about your recent symptoms and your general medical history. They’ll also perform a physical exam, including checking your penis for plaques or issues that could contribute to penile pain.
In some cases, your healthcare provider may use an imaging test to gather more info on the plaques — like where they are inside your penis.
If you have a curved penis and think it could be Peyronie’s disease, the best course of action is to talk to a healthcare professional, who may refer you to a urologist.
Make sure to answer your healthcare provider’s questions as thoroughly and accurately as you can.
Remember: they’re there to help. We know it can be difficult to discuss this kinda thing, but there’s no need to feel embarrassed when you talk to them about penile curvature, painful erections or other symptoms.
The more open you are, the better equipped they’ll be to help.
Sometimes, an unordinarily curved penis is something you’ll have even before you’re born. This is known as congenital penile curvature, or CPC.
Thankfully, congenital penile curvature is a relatively rare condition that only affects between 0.5 and 10 percent of the population. And even then, the number of men with clinically significant curvature is thought to be significantly lower.
Congenital penile curvature is different from Peyronie’s Disease in that there’s no scar tissue within the penis. This condition also typically doesn’t change over time.
Most men with congenital penile curvature first notice that their penis is curved in puberty, or during early adulthood.
When mild, congenital penile curvature usually doesn’t require active treatment.
However, more severe cases may affect your sexual performance or self-image, meaning you may benefit from some form of treatment. The best thing you can do in this instance is schedule some time with your healthcare provider.
Because penile curvature can vary in severity and type, there’s no single optimal treatment for everyone. Healthcare professionals use an array of surgical and non-surgical methods to straighten a severely curved penis.
Several non-surgical treatments are available for Peyronie’s disease. These include injections to break down plaques and physical procedures to bend or reshape the penis into a neutral, less curved shape.
Collagenase. Collagenase, available under the brand name Xiaflex®, is an enzyme that breaks down plaques when injected into the tissue. It’s the only FDA-approved treatment for Peyronie’s disease and is used in men with penile curvature of 30 degrees or more.
Interferon-alpha 2b. An antiviral and antineoplastic medication, interferon-alpha 2b is a protein that’s produced from white blood cells. When injected into the plaques, it may reduce their size (and the pain they cause), as well as help straighten the penis.
Verapamil. Verapamil is a medication that’s typically used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It may also be used as an injectable medication to help manage pain and reduce penis curvature in men with Peyronie’s disease.
Vacuum and traction devices. We won’t lie — there’s not a lot of research out there about these vacuum devices, but they’re worth mentioning. In theory, they’re used to physically stretch the tissue of the penis into a certain shape. Traction devices (penis stretchers) are actually supported by research and can be effective, but you may need to wear the device for at least 30 minutes twice a day for several months to see any distinguishable results.
In some cases of severe penile curvature — usually in regard to Peyronie’s disease — things can only be improved through surgery to remove plaques from your penis and/or improve your ability to get a normal erection. And it’s also important to note that surgery to treat penis curvature usually isn’t performed until the plaques stop developing.
Your healthcare provider may suggest surgery to fix Peyronie’s disease if you:
Experience pain when you have an erection or during sex.
Have Peyronie’s disease symptoms that haven’t improved over time.
Find it physically impossible or difficult to have sex due to your penile curvature.
Several surgical procedures are used to treat penile curvature and/or discomfort that’s caused by Peyronie’s disease.
These include grafting tissue from other parts of your body into your penis to replace areas with plaques, as well as plication, which is a type of tissue removal process to straighten your penis.
This heading is kind of a trick, guys. At the present, there’s no real proven way to treat severe penis curvature from the comfort of your home. Womp womp.
BUT! Experts are currently studying the effectiveness of things like vacuum and traction devices to see if they’re actually effective at reducing fibrous scar tissue and improving sexual health. So far, research on the topic is scarce, but they’re working on it.
Aside from that, there’s no evidence to suggest that herbal remedies or massage (or other) exercises are effective at treating Peyronie’s disease and reducing penile curvature.
At the end of the day, slight penile curvature is completely natural and it usually isn’t something that you need to worry about or “fix” via treatment.
If you have a curved penis, try to keep the following in mind:
Mild curvature isn’t harmful. If your penis has a slight bend but doesn’t cause any pain, discomfort or inconvenience during sex, it’s unlikely to be a problem.
Significant curvature is something you should get checked. If your penis has a visible bend in a certain direction that makes sex difficult or hurts when you get an erection, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.
Most of the time, penile curvature is treatable. Your healthcare provider may recommend using medication or undergoing surgery to straighten your penis.
You can also learn more about your options in our detailed guide to the most common treatment options for erectile dysfunction.
Dr. Peter J. Stahl is the Director of Male Reproductive and Sexual Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Associate Professor of Urology at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
He completed his undergraduate studies at Cornell University, and subsequently attended medical school and completed his urology residency at New York Presbyterian-Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
Following residency, he completed two years of fellowship training in male reproductive medicine, and microsurgery at the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery at Weill Cornell and received additional training during a fellowship in male sexual medicine and penile reconstructive surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Stahl is a recognized leader in the medical and surgical treatment of sexual disorders that affect men. He has published more than 45 articles in peer-reviewed medical literature, serves as a reviewer for several major academic journals and is a member of numerous professional associations — including the American Urological Association and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America.