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Urology/penile curve


QUESTION: put it this way. What reason do you have to believe that a penis must be perfectly straight? There is obviously no such thing as a perfectly straight penis. The same way there is no such thing as a normal size or shape. It is made of tissue and muscles so you would not expect a perfectly straight erection. No part of the human body is of a perfect shape or size. We can say it is approximately straight. So why should it be any different with the penis? In many cases, such as the previous fellow who wrote you saying he had a 20 degree curvature, this is being characterised as abnormal.  
There has to be a severe curvature which lets say prevents intercourse, together with pain and also evidence of disease like scarring, in order for it to be labelled as a disease. Do you not agree?

Even scarring is not necessarily a cause for alarm. It is simply the body's way of dealing with an injury.


I'm not going to get into an argument about the definition of "normal".  The standard definition is: " conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected; the usual, average, or typical state or condition."  In other words, normal suggests average or expected function and conforms to the average or typical standard.  With that in mind, a 20 degree curvature cannot be considered "normal" as the vast majority of men do not have such a curvature.  This does not necessarily mean that any treatment is necessary or required.  For most patients, it takes more than a 45 degree angle before the penis becomes unsuitable for intercourse, but that doesn't mean that a lesser curvature degree is "normal" either.

Abnormal does not mean there is necessarily any need for treatment or any loss of function.  We certainly should not have to wait until a condition is life-threatening or there is irreversible side effects before we can state that the situation is "abnormal".  When the curvature is such that normal intercourse is no longer possible, there is generla agreement that the patient should be treated.

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QUESTION: the trouble is, what evidence is there for the number of curvatures in mens penises? we would have to gather enough information for it to be representative of the whole population do you agree? I dont think its been done so we dont really know how many people have straight vs bent. This is a different situation from looking at a persons nose and being able to define what normal is there because peoples faces are always visible. So we automatically have a large enough sample to base our definition on.

Even if there was evidence that the vast majority of men have straight penises, why should we define abnormal to include cases where the penis has a curvature which as you say may not require treatment or cause loss of function?

There clearly has to be a better criteria for what is normal or not. Scar tissue is one such criteria but even then, you have cases of curvature with no scarring or curvature with no detectable scarring.


There is substantial evidence about penile curvature.  The rate is increasing and is now about 10% of the adult male population.  The majority of these are not serious enough to warrant any treatment.

You are arguing about the definition of the word "normal" which has a different context when used in medicine so I'm not going to discuss medical normality with you further.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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