Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/17/2022
So, you've noticed your penis is a little curved, and you're here because you're wondering if this is normal or if a penis curve is something you should be worried about.
We'll get straight to the answer: yes, some degree of penis curvature is absolutely normal. Much like your face and body aren’t perfectly symmetrical, it’s far from abnormal for your penis to have a slight curve to the left or right.
In fact, it’s fairly common — many men have a mild degree of curvature in their penis that stops it from having a perfectly symmetrical shape.
When your penis is only mildly curved and it doesn’t cause any pain or affect your ability to have sex, there’s usually no need for you to be concerned. It’s best to view it as a unique quirk of your anatomy and focus on other, more important things.
However, if your penis has a severe curve, is noticeably bent in one direction, causes noticeable pain or discomfort, or negatively affects your sexual function and performance, it's not okay, and it’s important for you to seek medical treatment.
Below, we’ve explained what penile curvature is, as well as the specific factors that can cause it to develop.
We’ve also explained what you can do to deal with Peyronie’s disease — the condition that often causes curved erections.
Before we get into the specifics of Peyronie’s disease and how it can prevent you from having a perfectly straight penis, let’s quickly go over a few basic facts:
It’s normal to have a slight curve in your penis. Your erect penis might curve to the left or right, and it might also fall to one side when it’s flaccid. As long as your penis doesn’t feel painful or affect your sexual function, a slight curve usually isn’t a big deal.
The most common cause of penile curvature is Peyronie’s disease — a condition that can develop when plaques form inside your penis, stiffening the tissue and causing it to bend in a specific direction when it’s erect.
Sometimes, a curve may develop in your penis as the result of an injury. It’s possible to injure your penis during sexual activity, or in an unrelated accident that causes damage to the tissue.
Some men are affected by congenital curvature, a type of penis curvature that’s present from birth. However, congenital curvature is exceptionally uncommon, affecting less than one percent of all men.
Not all penis curvature needs to be treated. However, if a curved penis gets in the way of your sexual, physical or mental wellbeing, it might be possible to correct the issue with a medical procedure.
If you’ve noticed that your penis is slightly curved, you might have wondered what the name for this condition is. Most of the time, penile curvature occurs as a result of Peyronie’s disease — a fairly common condition that can develop in men of all ages.
Peyronie's disease is a disorder in which scar tissue forms in the tunica albuginea — the fibrous membrane surrounding the corpora cavernosa in the shaft of the penis.
Your penis is made up of three cylinder-shaped areas. Two of these are masses of soft erectile tissue called the corpora cavernosa. These areas of tissue up with blood when you’re aroused, causing you to develop an erection.
The third is the urethra, which connects your bladder to your penis and discharges semen when you ejaculate.
The tunica albuginea covers all of this tissue, acting as a sort of fibrous envelope that’s wrapped around each of the cylindrical areas that carry out the important functions of your penis.
Your tunica albuginea is made up primarily of collagen and elastin — a type of protein that exists as fibers in connective tissue.
As its name may suggest, elastin is flexible and plays a key role in helping your tissue maintain its elasticity. It’s roughly 1,000 times more flexible than collagen, which is primarily responsible for providing structure for the tissue in your penis and other parts of your body.
Peyronie’s disease involves the development of scar tissue in your tunica albuginea. This scar tissue is primarily made up of collagen, making it inflexible and very firm to the touch.
When you get an erection, blood flows to the corpora cavernosa — the cylinder-shaped regions of erectile tissue inside your penis. To maintain this erection, your tunica albuginea traps blood inside this tissue and prevents it from flowing back into your circulatory system.
If you have plaques in your tunica albuginea, these can pull on the surrounding tissues of your penis and cause your erection to curve in one direction.
There’s no such thing as a flawlessly straight, symmetrical penis. In fact, there’s no such thing as a perfectly symmetrical body part of any type. From your face to our torso, every single part of your body has some asymmetrical features and imperfections.
Your penis is similar. It’s completely normal for your penis to bend slightly in one direction, or to naturally hang closer to one leg than the other. It’s also normal for your penis to point slightly to the left or right, or up or down, when it’s erect.
Peyronie’s disease usually involves a more noticeable, significant curve to your penis. You may notice that your penis curves noticeably to one direction, or that it has a sharp bend that gives it an unusual appearance.
Most of the time, Peyronie’s disease is considered a problem when it makes getting an erection difficult, prevents you from having penetrative sex, or causes significant pain.
A variety of issues can cause Peyronie’s disease to develop. It may occur as a result of an injury to your penis, including injuries that can occur during sex. It may also develop as the result of an autoimmune disease that damages the tissue inside your penis.
You may be more at risk of developing Peyronie’s disease if you:
Have family members who also have Peyronie’s disease.
Suffer from an existing autoimmune disease or connective tissue disorder.
Have vigorous, rough or aggressive sex that causes injuries to your penis.
Have diabetes, erectile dysfunction (ED) or a history of prostate cancer.
Your risk of developing Peyronie’s disease also increases with age, with this condition generally more common in older men.
Autoimmune and connective tissue disorders associated with Peyronie’s disease include plantar fasciitis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, Dupuytren’s disease, and Sjögren’s syndrome.
In most men, penile curvature from Peyronie’s disease develops in two phases. During the initial phase, or acute phase, your penis can become inflamed and plaques may form inside the tunica albuginea.
As this plaque develops, you may notice that your penis maintains a visible curved shape. After 12 to 18 months, Peyronie’s disease becomes chronic, meaning your penis will retain its shape and certain issues, such as erectile dysfunction, may become more commonplace.
If you have a curved penis and think it could be Peyronie’s disease, the best course of action is to talk to your healthcare provider.
They may refer you to a urologist — a type of doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating problems that affect your urinary tract and reproductive system.
To diagnose Peyronie’s disease, a urologist may ask you about your recent symptoms, as well as your general medical history. They may also complete a physical exam, including checking your penis for plaques or issues that could contribute to penile pain.
Make sure to answer your healthcare provider’s questions as thoroughly and accurately as you can. Remember that they’re there to help you, and there’s no need for you to feel embarrassed when you talk about penile curvature, painful erections or other symptoms.
Sometimes, penile curvature is something you’ll have from birth. This is known as congenital penile curvature. It’s a relatively rare condition, with an estimated one percent or less of men affected.
Congenital penile curvature is different from Peyronie’s Disease in that there’s no scar tissue within the penis and it typically doesn’t change over time.
Most men with congenital penile curvature first notice that their penis is curved in puberty, or during early adulthood.
When mild, penile curvature usually doesn’t require active treatment. However, more severe congenital penile curvature may affect your sexual performance or self-image, meaning you may benefit from some form of treatment.
Not all cases of penile curvature need to be treated. This is because some degree of penile curvature is totally normal, and generally isn’t viewed as an issue that needs to be “fixed” by some kind of medication or medical procedure.
If you have Peyronie’s disease or congenital penile curvature that doesn’t cause any pain or affect your sexual performance in a negative way, your healthcare provider may recommend simply doing nothing.
Although it’s rare, Peyronie’s disease sometimes goes away on its own, or at least becomes a less acute, painful condition, without any need for treatment.
If your penile curvature does require treatment, a variety of options are available. These include nonsurgical treatments such as medications and devices, as well as surgical procedures to get rid of plaque and fix penile curvature.
Several nonsurgical treatments are available for Peyronie’s disease and other causes of penile curvature. These include injections to break down plaques and physical procedures to bend or reshape the penis into a neutral, less curved shape:
Collagenase. Collagenase, available under the brand name Xiaflex®, is an enzyme that breaks down plaques when injected into tissue. It’s the only FDA-approved treatment for Peyronie’s disease and is used in men with penile curvature of 30 degrees or more.
Interferon-alpha 2b. An antiviral and antineoplastic medication, interferon-alpha 2b is a protein that’s produced from white blood cells. When injected into the tissue of the penis, it may reduce the size of plaques, reduce pain and straighten the penis.
Verapamil. Verapamil is an injectable medication that’s typically used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It may also help to lower pain and curvature in men with Peyronie’s disease.
Vacuum and traction devices. These devices are used to physically stretch the tissue of the penis into a certain shape. You may need to wear the device for a set amount of time over the course of the day to stretch or bend the penis and reduce curvature.
In some cases, penile curvature can only be improved through surgery to remove plaques from your penis and/or improve your ability to get a normal erection. Surgery to treat penis curvature usually isn’t performed until your plaques stop developing.
Your healthcare provider may suggest that you undergo surgery to fix penile curvature if you:
Experience pain during sex or when you have an erection.
Have symptoms that haven’t improved over time.
Physically can’t have sex due to your penile curvature.
Several surgical procedures are used to treat penile curvature and/or discomfort that’s caused by Peyronie’s disease.
These include grafting tissue from other parts of your body into your penis to replace areas with plaques, and plication, a type of tissue removal that may straighten your penis.
If you have Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction, your healthcare provider may suggest the use of a penile implant to straighten the penis when erect.
Curved penises are far from uncommon. It’s normal for your penis to curve mildly to the left or right. Slight penile curvature is totally natural, and it generally isn’t something that you need to worry about or “fix” via treatment.
However, if you have a significantly curved penis, or if your penis’s curvature makes sex painful or difficult, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.
From medications to surgical procedures, a variety of treatments are available to reduce penile curvature and improve your quality of life. Your healthcare provider will work with you to choose the best option for your needs, lifestyle and general health.
You can also learn more about your options in our detailed guide to the most common treatment options for erectile dysfunction.