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Thematic analysis of the psycho-sexual symptoms in patients with Peyronie’s disease present on online forums


Peyronie's disease (PD) is a fibrotic disorder of the tunica albuginea that may result in penile deformity, pain, a palpable plaque, and erectile dysfunction. In order to understand the psycho-sexual impacts of PD on patients and their partners, we selected three online forums containing the largest number of threads on PD. Threads focusing on the psycho-sexual impacts posted from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2021 were compiled, and thematic analysis was performed on Dedoose. There were 277 unique posters, including 225 patients and 52 partners. Eighty-four categories and five themes were developed including information and social support, physical symptoms, psycho-sexual symptoms, treatment and effect, and impacts on partners and relationship. Emotional distress including depressed mood (n = 75, 33.3%) and feelings of isolation (n = 41, 18.2%) was prevalent. Partners developed sexual dysfunction including sexual dissatisfaction (n = 11, 21.2%) and dyspareunia (n = 4, 7.7%). Relationships experienced disruption (n = 14, 5.1%) or termination (n = 10, 3.6%). Posters received psychological treatment including psychotherapy (n = 20, 8.9%) and antidepressants (n = 17, 7.6%). Of these, 12 reported improvement and 11 stated no improvement. On these forums, psychological burden affecting individuals with PD and their partners is reported. Few seek help from a psychologist or therapist, and psychological distress may persist even after successful PD treatment. Further research is needed to identify strategies for effective psychological management.

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