Anatomical conditions

When we use the term ‘ anatomical’ we refer to the structure and function of a part of the body. In this case ‘ anatomical conditions’ refers to medical complaints which affect the structure and function of the penis. These can cause erectile dysfunction or impotence.

Examples of these include:

  • Hypospadias
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Chordee


This is a congenital condition in which there is abnormal development of the male urethra. Normally the urethra runs from the bladder and through the penis to an opening at the tip of the penis. But in this case the urethra opens underneath the penis “ the ‘ urethral groove’ which is a channel that runs from the tip down to the base of the penis where it meets the scrotum.

The vast majority of cases are genetic in origin. A few, very rare cases have occurred as a result of injury or surgery.

A minority of cases of boys with hypospadias have additional genito-urinary system problems such as an undescended testicle or an inguinal hernia.

Hypospadias causes problems with urination and sustaining an erection although it can be corrected with surgery.

Peyronie’s disease

This usually affects middle aged men although both younger and older men are equally affected. A hard lump develops inside the erectile tissues of the penis which can lead to scarring.

This lump isn’t cancerous but it can still cause problems in that it forces the penis to bend upwards or downwards. In severe cases, a lump grows on both the top and bottom of the penis which shortens its length. This also reduces its flexibility.

This condition is usually caused by an accident or injury to the penis. Another possible cause is a category of medicines used to treat high blood pressure called calcium channel blockers. This I as yet unproven but this medication lists Peyronie’s disease as one of several side effects.

Peyronie’s disease causes a great deal of physical and emotional pain for the sufferer which includes a failure to achieve an erection. The pain can be severe to the extent that the sufferer avoids sexual activity altogether.


This is another congenital condition in which the head of the penis curves downwards (or sometimes upwards) which is especially noticeable during an erection.

The penis is resistant to straightening “ either during an erection or in a flaccid state which prevents successful penetration during sexual intercourse.

This is caused by a too short fibrous urethra which pulls the penis downwards thereby preventing a normal erection.

Chordee is often a side effect of hypospadias although it can occur in normal males.

Treatment for chordee is corrective surgery, which is usually during infancy.

Surgery is the preferred option for all three of these conditions.

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