- Vacuum penis pumps
- Penis weights
- Penis stretching exercises, called jelqing
The truth is that these treatments tend to have modest, if any, results, experts say. And most don’t do anything at all to increase penis size.
But some techniques, including weight loss, may improve your penis’s appearance or your confidence in bed, says Petar Bajic, MD, a urologist and head of the Men’s Health Center in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
How can you figure out what might help and what’s a sham? Talk to your doctor before you try any penis enlargement device or treatment.
“Many men still feel uncomfortable talking to their doctor about this issue, but they should seek advice from someone experienced in this area,” Bajic says. “People will do all sorts of things to try to make their penis larger.”
Most likely, your penis isn’t really too small, experts say.
Men who want larger penises may have a poor body image, low self-esteem, or even a condition called body dysmorphia, says Michael O’Leary, MD, a professor of urologic surgery at Harvard Medical School and a urologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Most advertised penis-enlargement methods are ineffective, and some can cause permanent damage to your penis. Here are some of the most widely promoted products and techniques:
- Pills and lotions. These usually contain vitamins, minerals, herbs or hormones that manufacturers claim enlarge the penis. None of these products has been proved to work, and some may be harmful.
- Vacuum pumps. Because pumps draw blood into the penis, making it swell, they’re sometimes used to treat erectile dysfunction.
A vacuum pump can make a penis look larger temporarily. But using one too often or too long can damage elastic tissue in the penis, leading to less firm erections.
- Exercises. Sometimes called jelqing, these exercises use a hand-over-hand motion to push blood from the base to the head of the penis.Although this technique appears safer than other methods, there’s no scientific proof it works, and it can lead to scar formation, pain and disfigurement.
- Stretching. Stretching involves attaching a stretcher or extender device — also referred to as a penile traction device — to the penis to exert gentle tension.A few small studies have reported length increases of half an inch to almost 2 inches (about 1 to 3 centimeters) with these devices.
Larger, more-rigorous research is needed to establish safety and effectiveness.
Surgery is risky and may not work
Studies of available surgical techniques to lengthen the penis have found mixed results in safety, effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
At best, surgery such as division of the suspensory ligament may add half an inch (1 centimeter) to the appearance of the flaccid penis but does not change actual length of the penis. At worst, surgery can result in complications such as infection, scarring, and loss of sensation or function.
Surgical methods of penis enlargement — Not for cosmetic use
The need for penis-enlargement surgery is rare. Surgery is typically reserved for men whose penises don’t function normally because of a birth defect or injury.
Although some surgeons offer cosmetic penis enlargement using various techniques, it’s controversial and considered by many to be unnecessary and in some cases permanently harmful. These surgeries should be considered experimental. There aren’t enough studies of penis-enlargement surgery to give an accurate picture of risks and benefits.
The most widely used surgical procedure to lengthen the penis involves severing the suspensory ligament that attaches the penis to the pubic bone and moving skin from the abdomen to the penile shaft. When this ligament is cut, the penis appears longer because more of it hangs down.
But cutting the suspensory ligament can cause an erect penis to be unstable. Severing the suspensory ligament is sometimes combined with other procedures, such as removing excess fat over the pubic bone.
A procedure to make the penis thicker involves taking fat from a fleshy part of the body and injecting it into the penis shaft. Results may be disappointing, however, because some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed by the body. This can lead to penile curvature or asymmetry and an irregular looking penis.
Another technique for increasing width is grafting tissue onto the shaft of the penis. None of these procedures has been proved safe or effective and can even affect potency and your ability to obtain an erection.
A few things that might actually help
Although there’s no guaranteed safe and effective way to enlarge your penis, there are a few things you can do if you’re concerned about your penis size.
- Communicate with your partner. It may be hard to break old habits or to discuss sexual preferences with your partner. But you’ll be glad you did — and you may be surprised at the spark it ignites in your sex life.
- Get in shape and lose the belly fat. If you’re overweight and have a “beer gut,” your penis might appear shorter than it is.
Regular exercise can make a big difference. Better physical conditioning may not only make you look better, but also can improve strength and endurance during sex.
- Talk to your doctor or a counselor. Feeling unhappy about the size of your penis is common. A certified counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or your family doctor can help.
Many men feel better with reassurance that they are “normal” or with advice about how to better satisfy their partner without resorting to cosmetic penis enlargement.
The bottom line
Many men believe that increasing the size of their penis will make them a better lover or make them more attractive. But chances are your penis is within the normal size range.
Even if your penis is smaller than average, it may not matter to your partner. In addition, there’s no proven way to make a penis larger.
The solution to your concerns about penis size may be as easy as talking with your partner or getting in shape. If those steps don’t help, try talking with a professional counselor about your concerns.
Penile size differs between men of different ethnic backgrounds and large studies of penis girth and length have been conducted by condom manufacturers. What many men perceive as a short penis actually falls into normal range size. Based on many published charts, scientific articles, and self reported web based surveys, 95 % of Caucasian men will fall into one of the following categories of size:
- Average length of flaccid penis is between 3.4 inches and 3.7 inches (8.6 cm and 9.3 cm)
- Average length of erect penis is between 5.1 inches and 5.7 inches (12.9 cm and 14.5 cm)
- Average circumference of an erect penis is between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches (8.8 cm and 10.0 cm)
Penis size is an important issue for many men and men of all ages are concerned about length and thickness of their penises. As with any health concern, men who are worried about their penis size should consult with a urologist trained in sexual medicine.
Penis enlargement pills are advertised to help people with penises who are self-conscious about their size. Most of these dietary supplements and pills don’t require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and don’t have to prove they’re safe or effective.
Since supplements aren’t regulated as drugs are, it’s easy for incorrect ingredient types or amounts to be listed on the packaging, which may make it difficult to know how they’ll affect your health.
Sometimes called male enhancement supplements, these pills may also claim to increase energy levels and sexual performance.
Ginkgo biloba extract is one common ingredient in these types of supplements. Some believe the extract helps increase blood flow and sexual function. However, researchTrusted Source shows there’s no relationship between this ingredient and sexual function.
Other common herbal ingredients in penis enlargement pills include yohimbine, maca, and horny goat weed. Research from 2014Trusted Source shows these are also ineffective and could lead to negative health effects, such as mood changes, anxiety, hallucinations, and addictive behaviors.
One ingredient in some penis enlargement pills is sildenafilTrusted Source, the main active ingredient in erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, like Viagra. Sildenafil could be dangerous at high dosages, especially for people with heart conditions or those taking medication for blood pressure.
All that said, because these supplements do not require FDA approval, they may also contain ingredients that aren’t identified on the label.