The penis is a wonderful organ, as any male knows, but most men aren’t intimately familiar with the various anatomical parts of that organ and their functions. But a more precise understanding of the penis parts can help to better understand one’s penis health. For example, many men who have a significantly bent penis – a condition known as Peyronie’s disease – may not know that part of their problem centers on a penis part known as the tunica albuginea.
Tunica albuginea information
To learn about the tunica albuginea, it’s necessary to know a little about basic penis anatomy. Inside the penis are three cylinders – two of which are basically twins and are called the corpora cavernosa (which means cavernous bodies); and a third, much smaller cylinder known as the corpus spongiosum, which lies underneath the corpora cavernosa. All three of these cylinders are composed of a very spongy tissue. In addition, each of the corpus cavernosum are lined with a thin layer of tissue called the tunica albuginea. (It may help to picture a hot dog; the outer skin casing is like the tunica albuginea, while the inner “meat” of the hot dog is like the corpus cavernosum.)
When the penis becomes erect, the spongy tissue of the corpora cavernosa absorbs an increased flow of blood, which causes them to expand and harden. The tunica albuginea contain a fair amount of elastin, which enables them to expand as well so they can “keep up” with the corpora cavernosa.
Bent penis problem
As mentioned, Peyronie’s disease is a situation in which a man possesses a significantly bent penis – not one with a small degree of curvature, but one in which the bending is enough to cause pain and/or penis function issues. In most cases, this bending occurs due to a problem with the tunica albuginea.
Peyronie’s disease comes about most often because scar tissue has developed in the penis. This frequently happens when there is trauma to the penis. It may be a one-time traumatic event, such as getting hit in the penis by a baseball, or it may be due to repeated small traumatic events, such as repeated rough handling of the penis during sex or masturbation.
Very often this scarring takes place in the tunica albuginea. The scar tissue is part of the healing process post-trauma, but scar tissue does not have the same elasticity that is needed for an organ that changes size as the penis does. When there is too much scar tissue, it overcomes the natural elasticity of the tunica albuginea. When the penis starts to erect, the side of the penis with scar tissue cannot expand as much as the rest of the penis, so it causes the organ to bend.
In addition to causing a bent penis, this scarring may prevent the corpora cavernosa from filling up with as much blood as they would otherwise; this can result in erectile function challenges as well.
If a man has a severely bent penis, he should consult with his doctor, especially if it causes pain or interferes with his sexual satisfaction. Sometimes a bent penis resolves on its own. When it doesn’t, there are several medication options that may be tried. In some cases, surgery may be suggested to alleviate Peyronie’s disease.
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