Acquired: pertaining to a condition that is not inherited; that is, there was a time when the condition was not present.

Amino acid [ah meen oh ah sid]: type of chemical that is important for the functioning of cells in the body; some may be produced by the body, but others must consumed in the diet.

Anti-inflammatory agents: drugs that reduce inflammation and its effects.

Antibody: protein produced in a controlled manner by certain white blood cells (lymphocytes) to neutralize an antigen or foreign protein and fight disease, but whose uncontrolled production can cause illness; immunoglobulin.

Antioxidant [an TIGH ox eh dent]: chemical that neutralizes damaging effects of certain other chemicals; some antioxidants occur naturally in the body; others are nutrients that come from food.

Autoimmune: abnormal response of the immune system that causes antibodies and immune-mediated cells to attack one's own tissues.

Benign [beh NINE]: not cancerous.

Beta-Blockers: drugs that relieve stress on the heart by "blocking" the stimulating effect of adrenaline.

Blinded study: clinical trial in which the patient does not know (is blinded as to) whether they are receiving the product being tested or the control/placebo to ensure that the results of a study are not affected by a possible placebo effect (by the power of suggestion).

Buckling: bending that occurs when pressure is applied; also called hinge effect.

Calcification [KAL sih figh KAY shun]: process in which a tissue becomes hardened.

Calcified [KAL sih fighd]: physical state in which tissue has become hardened.

Calcium channel blocker: drug that prevents calcium from entering cells; in Peyronie’s disease these medicines inhibit some processes involved in plaque formation, including collagen production.

Catheter: tube passed through the body for draining fluids, injecting fluids into body cavities, and performing certain tests.

Catheterization: insertion of a catheter.

Circumferential: all the way around.

Colchicine: medication for acute gout. In acute gout, there is a marked inflammatory response to the presence of uric acid crystals, causing severe pain, redness and swelling of the affected joint(s). Colchicine is useful in suppressing the inflammation (arthritis) in acute gout. It is also sometimes used in the treatment of Peyronie’s disease.

Collagen [KOL uh jen]: protein that is normally part of many tissues in the body (like skin, tendons, cartilage, bone, and connective tissue) and provides structural support.

Collagenase [koh LAJ eh nase]: type of protein that breaks down collagen.

Congenital [kun JEN eh tel]: pertaining to a condition that is present at birth.

Congenital penile curvature: condition of the penis where men have had curving of their penis all of their life. The commonest direction of curvature in men with the congenital variety is in a downward (ventral) direction.

Corpora cavernosa: (singular = corpus cavernosum) erectile tissues (smooth muscle) that fill up with blood during an erection.

Corpus spongiosum: one of three chambers of the penis; it houses the urethra and takes no part in penile erection.

Cystoscopy: placement of a telescope into the bladder though the urethra.

Degree of curvature: amount of bend in the penis; the greater the degree of curvature, the greater the bend.

Detumescence: loss of the erection.

Dorsal: curvature upwards.

Double-blinded study: medical study in which at least two separate groups receive the experimental medication or procedure at different times, with neither group being made aware of when the experimental medication or procedure has been given. Double-blinded studies are often chosen when a treatment shows particular promise and the illness involved is serious. It can be hard to recruit human subjects for a blinded study of a promising treatment when one group will receive only a placebo or an existing medicine.

Dupuytren’s contracture [DOO puh trenz kun TRAK chur]: condition involving an abnormal build-up of collagen in the hand; it causes one or more fingers to permanently bend toward the palm.

Ejaculation: ejection of semen during male orgasm.

Enzyme [IN zighm]: substance produced in the body that helps chemical processes occur.

Erectile tissue: smooth muscle that fills up with blood during an erection.

ESWT: extracorporeal shock wave therapy; noninvasive therapy using low energy shock waves focused into the Peyronie’s disease plaque. It employs the aid of ultrasound imaging and travels through the tissues (theoretically without damage).

Extracorporeal [EX tra kor POR ee uh]: from outside the body.

Familial: condition that is tends to occur more often in family members than expected by chance alone. A familial disease may be genetic (such as cystic fibrosis) or environmental (such as tuberculosis).

Fibrosis [figh BRO sis]: medical term for the formation of scar tissue.

Flaccid [fla sid]: not erect.

Free radicals: scar-inducing chemicals that are released in traumatized, inflamed and healing tissue.

Girth: distance around an object.

Gout: condition that involves build-up of crystals, usually in the joints.

Hematoma: abnormal localized collection of blood in which the blood is usually clotted or partially clotted and is usually situated within an organ or a soft tissue space, such as a muscle.

Hinge effect: bend that occurs when pressure is applied; also called buckling.

Inflammation: process by which the body responds to infection or injury; it may involve redness, warmth, swelling, and pain.

Interferon [in ter FEER on]: proteins that occur naturally in the body and help regulate processes in the immune system.

Intralesional [IN tra lee shun ul]: into or within a lesion.

Iontophoresis [igh OH noh fuh ree sis]: applying an electrical current to increase absorption of medicines through the skin.

Lateral: to the left or right.

Lesion [LEE shun]: specific area of scarring or abnormality; in Peyronie’s disease, plaques are sometimes called lesions.

Lithrotripsy: procedure that uses ultrasonic shock waves to break up stones in the urinary tract so their fragments can be passed.

Non-expansile: not stretchy.

Palliative: treatment that helps manage symptoms but does not cure a disease.

Penile fracture: condition resulting from abrupt blunt trauma to the penis. A tear in the tunica albuginea.

Penis: Male sexual organ composed of 3 chambers, one, the corpus spongiosum, which houses the urethra and takes no part in penile erection. The other 2 chambers, the corpora cavernosa (singular = corpus cavernosum) are composed of 2 types of tissue. The inner tissue is the erectile tissue (smooth muscle) that fills up with blood during an erection. The outer tissue, the tunica albuginea is a dense tissue composed mainly of collagen, without many blood vessels. It is this tissue that undergoes the scarring process that occurs in Peyronie's disease.

Pentoxifylline: (brand name Trental) medication that decreases the "stickiness" (viscosity) of blood and thereby improves its flow.

Placebo: "sugar pill" or any dummy medication or treatment.

Plaque [PLAK]: area of tissue distinct from the surrounding area resulting from a disease process; sometimes called a patch or lesions. Peyronie’s plaques are different from the plaque that may build up in blood vessels.

Plication [PLIGH kay shun]: taking tucks in a structure to shorten it.

Potaba: antifibrotic medication used to treat certain skin conditions. Potaba may also be used to treat other conditions.

Prostate [PRAH state]: muscular, walnut-sized gland located at the bottom of the bladder within the lower abdomen; it produces some of the components of semen.

Research, clinical: (clinical trial) study of a treatment, procedure, or medication done in a medical setting.

Research, controlled: study that compared results from a treated group and a control group. The control group may receive no treatment, a placebo, or a different treatment.

Scarring: process that is sometimes called termed "fibrosis."

Topical [TOP ik ul]: pertaining to a medication that is applied to an area of skin.

Traction [TRAK shun]: process that involves applying a pulling force.

Tunica albuginea: outer lining of the erection chamber in the penis. Dense tissue composed mainly of collagen, without many blood vessels.

Ultrasound [UL truh sound]: imaging technique that uses sound waves to visualize tissues inside the body; it can be used to help physicians make a diagnosis.

Urethra [yu REE thra]: canal that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.

Urologist [yu ROL oh jist]: physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the kidneys, bladder, prostate, testes, and penis.

Vasodilation: blood vessel engorgement.

Ventral: curves downward.

Verapamil: medication belonging to a class of medications called calcium channel blockers. These medications block the transport of calcium into the smooth muscle cells lining the coronary arteries and other arteries of the body.

Vitamin E: (alpha-tocopherol) an antioxidant vitamin which binds oxygen free radicals that can cause tissue damage.

White blood cell: type of cell in the immune system that helps the body fight infections.