“The most embarrassing thing I’ve ever experienced happened to me yesterday,” says Tom, my business partner. It was just our normal office breeze-shooting, turned confessional: Tom had developed a hemorrhoid. When he went to have it checked, he learned that his regular physician had been called away, and he was passed on to another doc—a sensationally attractive female.
“So damn hot,” Tom assures me. “And it all happened so fast. One minute I’m saying hello, and the next minute she’s exploring my ass.”
I nod. I am not impressed. Tom sees this and gives me a look, like, Do you hear what I’m saying?
“I can top that,” I reply. “I went to see a urologist 6 months ago. He sent in a hot nurse—’so damn hot,’ as you say—who stuck my shaft with a needle to give me an artificial erection. Then she took a picture of it.”
My God, I think, I’ve actually told someone. Surely Tom could be trusted to keep this one in the vault. We’ve shared plenty of secrets. He scrunches up his face, wondering if I’m kidding. Little does he know that the most incredible part of my story is yet to come.
“Here’s what happened,” I say.
IT STARTED WITH A FEROCIOUS PISS BONER. I had awakened during the night and was headed for the bathroom when I saw, to my horror, that my erection was bent at a 90-degree angle and now stared at the ceiling. I tried to straighten it, but couldn’t. So I leaned forward and bent my already bent penis painfully toward the wall of the bowl. Thankfully, my erection eased as the pee flowed.
What was this? I bolted downstairs, googled “bent penis,” and blinked at the copious results. Something about Bill Clinton. A bunch of porn. (Who knew?) Finally, there it was. I had Peyronie’s disease. There was a photo of a penis bent just like mine.
Experts don’t know how prevalent the condition is. According to the highest estimates, more than 25 million American men could be walking around with penises gone wild. I’m sure that number would surprise Francois de la Peyronie, the French surgeon who first described the disorder in 1743. Nearly 300 years later, no one really knows what causes it.
The primary theory is that it’s an injury to the penis resulting from sexual activity (excessive masturbation, strain from a penis pump, or trauma from a madcap sexual adventure). Well, I haven’t masturbated excessively since I was 14. All right, 24. As for penis pumps and kinky sex, they’re just not my bag.
Other theories peg Peyronie’s as an auto-immune or hereditary disorder. Some docs think certain medications may cause it, especially blood-pressure and heart meds known as beta-blockers. This theory hit home for me; I’d been taking blood-pressure pills for a dozen years. Still, Peyronie’s has been around for centuries, and beta-blockers have not.
So I don’t know why this happened. But it was my problem now.
My physician referred me to a urologist specializing in Peyronie’s. He was an unassuming Indian man who reminded me of Ravi Shankar, the famous sitarist. Except he was playing my instrument. On my first visit, I recall thinking, It’s amazing how we can con ourselves into thinking that the most unimaginable things are normal. Here I was, letting a stranger perform the most leisurely exploration of my penis I’d ever experienced. I was tempted to tip him 20 percent on the co-pay.
It didn’t take long for him to “find the plaque.” With Peyronie’s, plaque most often develops in the erectile tissue on the upper side of the penis, bending it upward during erections. My doc laid out the options.
Option one: He could inject a medicine called verapamil directly into the plaque. But he would first have to administer a series of anesthetic injections into my penis, because verapamil injections are so painful. So total, I’d need six shots at each of six sessions. In theory, the verapamil would break down the plaque. In reality, the success of these injections has been spotty at best.
Spotty at best? Not interested. Next.
The second option was a surgery called corporal plication, where two permanent sutures are placed in the lining of the penis opposite the curvature in order to straighten it out. My doctor said it’s the most common procedure, and also the most successful one. But then he told me it’s best suited for patients for whom “shortening the penis is not a major concern.”
Shortening? Next, please.
My final option: patch corporoplasty. During this procedure, an incision is made through the thickest part of the plaque across the width of the penis. This cuts the plaque in two and allows the curvature to fall away on both sides. The incision is then “patched” with a skin graft. It’s usually successful, with one caveat: There’s a chance of erectile dysfunction if tissue or nerves are damaged.
I wanted patch corporoplasty, but my doctor recommended injections first. If there was no improvement, we’d reevaluate.
And so I began spending every other Wednesday morning with my doctor and his hot nurse. She’d sanitize my penis and place a little paper blanket over it until the doc came in to torture me. Three needles to numb my package; three more of the verapamil. My penis never did go numb enough to totally block the pain, of course.
Obviously, Peyronie’s can disrupt a couple’s romantic relationship. But only if you tell your partner, which I didn’t. Instead, I dodged sex for weeks. But after I started the injections, I told my wife. She didn’t believe me at first and insisted I prove it, which meant getting an erection. And if I was going to go to that length, we might as well give sex a whirl.
It felt good. Figuratively, I mean. I could live with this. And maybe I’d have to: The verapamil injections had no effect at all.
I arrived at the hospital at 11 in the morning for my patch corporoplasty. Before I knew it, a half dozen men and women had gathered around the altar they’d built for my penis—spotlight and all. They hung a little curtain between me and my penis, and I shot the breeze with a hot anesthesiologist while my doctor sliced through the thin flesh around the head of my penis. He then pulled the skin down like a sock. Problem: Because of the verapamil, the plaque had softened and fused with some nerve bundles. This normally 2-hour surgery would now take 5.
After 3 hours, I’d had enough. My lower half was numb and my upper half was bored, scared, and exhausted. I asked the hottie to put me out completely. That’s all I remember.
The next morning, my doctor stopped by. The shaft was pretty darn straight now, he said. He even inflated it with saline to make sure. There was some bad news, however: I couldn’t have an erection for a month, or my penis would explode. Literally, he said. I agreed, although I didn’t know if this was even possible—a hard-on could always strike in the middle of the night.
Two weeks later, sure enough, one did. My little buddy didn’t explode, but it sure hurt like hell and the stitches opened up a bit in one spot. Nonetheless, it was good to see it nice and straight again.
AS I SIT ACROSS FROM MY PAL Tom wrapping up the details of my ordeal, I note that he’s been staring at me slack-jawed for 20 minutes. It makes me smile, because as I said before, it’s amazing how we can con ourselves into believing the most unimaginable things are normal. Like how for weeks, I had to blow-dry my penis with a hair dryer after I showered—the stitches were too tender for a towel. See, normal.
Tom never told anyone, I don’t think. But I bet he’s pissed that everyone reading this now knows about his hemorrhoid.
Your regular doctor can handle the routine checkups and tests for your privates, but you need a urologist for big (or bent) issues. But how do you pick the best specialist? Simply surf your way to a top doctor using our two-step guide.
1. Locate a board-certified urologist in your area
You want your prospective doctor to be certified by the American Board of Urology (ABU). This certification isn’t required to practice, but it designates that a physician has demonstrated exceptional expertise through both rigorous testing and peer evaluation. For a database of ABU-certified doctors, searchable by zip code or by specialty such as cancer, fertility, or erectile dysfunction, go to the American Urological Association’s Web site at urologyhealth.org.
2. Do a background check
Go to docboard.org, which provides access to doctors’ licensing information and any disciplinary actions. Clean record? Schedule your appointment.