Penis Shrinkage – Is It Really A Thing?
There are a lot of reasons why penis shrinkage occurs in men. The question is not if it happens, but why it happens and how to avoid this or possible treatment. Usually, the size of the penis decreases by up to an inch for different factors.
Sometimes penile shrinkage could be permanent; other times, it could be temporary due to a condition that can be treated medically or a bad lifestyle habit. With success in treatment or change in lifestyle, you could restore the normal size of the penis.
To know what causes penis shrinkage and what to do if you have the symptoms, Read on.
Quick facts on Penis Shrinkage
We have gathered these few facts from good research works of some notable medical researchers who have spent time and resources in the male anatomy field.
- The penis and testicles shrink as men age.
- Many men have reported that they experienced penis shrinkage when they began to gain weight.
- Most men who are dissatisfied with the size of their penis always look for ways to increase it.
- Most men are worried about the size of their penis and tend to think they would be more sexually active and satisfy their partners only if they had huge cocks.
- A dip in the pool or water generally shrinks the penis. This is a normal healthy occurrence.
The average penis size
What is the average size of a penis? According to research carried out by BJU International, the average penis size falls within the following ranges (1):
- The average size of a flaccid penis is 9.16 centimeters long (3.6 inches)
- The average size of a stretched flaccid penis is 13.24 centimeters long (around 5.3 inches)
- An erect penis has an average length of 13.12 centimeters (about 5.2 inches)
- The circumference of a flaccid penis is 9.13 centimeters (about 3.7 inches)
- The circumference of an erect penis is 11.66 centimeters (4.6 inches)
What Causes Penis Shrinkage?
This condition is very common in men as they age. Aside from aging, there are other reasons why a penis may experience shrinkage. A penis may shrink for the following reasons:
- Weight gain, otherwise known as obesity
- Prostate surgery
- Peyronie’s disease
- Some medications
It is medically proven that as you get older, the penis and testicles might slightly get smaller (2). One reason for this is that blood flow to your penis gets restricted by the buildup of fatty deposits. With time, the muscle cells get weak and wither away. The muscle cells in the spongy tubes in the erectile tissue of the penis are what make the penis hard and bigger when blood flows in due to arousal. Less flow of blood to the tissues means smaller or fewer firm erections (1).
This is a normal health procedure and cannot be treated, except with booster or penis pumps such as the Penomet, which can help the weaker tissues constrict blood flow and produce harder erections.
Even though penis shrinkage through ageing can’t be treated, it can be enhanced and controlled. A healthy and strong body will always trump medication. With a generous dose of exercise and good eating and sleeping habits, you may not need to worry much about being caught up in the disadvantages that surround ageing.
The buildup of scars to the erectile tissue over the years can cause penis shrinkage after a long time. Such injuries might be minor at the time they happened. They can be caused by little kicks, sex, and sports activities.
The accumulation of these scar tissues affects the spongy erectile tissues of the penis, causing the penis to shrink and decrease in size (1).
There is the perceived shortening and the real shortening, thanks but no thanks to obesity. The perceived shortening comes from the idea that the penis is buried due to the body fat shrouding over it. The penis comes from under the pubic bone with a ligament holding it in place there. If you have plenty of body fat shrouding over it, it gives off the perception of shortening or shrinkage. Needless to say, “If you can’t see it, you can’t perceive it” (3).
Even with this condition, it doesn’t mean the penis is short; it might look smaller in fat men because the penis is attached to the abdominal wall, and it pulls inward when the belly expands. If the man loses weight, the penis looks like it has regained its shape and size (1).
There is also the real shortening where the free flow of blood is obstructed due to obesity.
Men who have their prostate gland removed through radical prostatectomy due to cancer or other health reasons may experience penis shrinkage. The International Journal of Impotence Research researched this health condition and found out that 71 percent of men who did radical prostatectomy all experienced penis shrinkage (1).
It is not yet known why the penis shrinks after prostate surgery. Some researchers attribute the cause to the urethral tube, which links the penis to the urinary bladder. Another possible reason why the penis shrinks after prostatectomy is abnormal muscle contractions in the groin. This contraction pulls the penis farther inside the body.
After prostate surgery, it becomes difficult to get an erection, which starves the erectile tissue of oxygen. This shrinks the muscle cells in the spongy erectile tissue, and less stretchy scar tissues are formed around it (2).
Penis shrinkage after surgery normally does not get more than ½ to ¾ inches when the penis is flaccid and stretched out. It is different for different men. Some men experience little or no shortening after prostatectomy, others experience more shortening. There is no explanation for this irregularity.
Peyronie’s disease occurs when the penis becomes curved due to a scar in the tissue. A curved penis is not a big deal as most penises are rarely straight out. What becomes a challenge, in this case, is the sharpness of the curvature (which might make sexual intercourse impossible) and the pains that may follow.
Statistics from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) show that Peyronie’s disease affects about 23 percent of men between ages 40 to 70. The study shows that many men have this disease but are too ashamed to speak up. PD doesn’t occur in only aged men; young men in their 30s could also have the disease (1).
PD can cause penis shrinkage in length, circumference, and girth, and while some get corrected with time, others stay that way or even get worse. Surgery is considered if the curvature prevents sexual intercourse or is painful. With surgery, the scarred tissue causing the shrinkage, curve, and pain is removed. Note, surgery can also reduce the size of the penis.
Cigarette smoke contains chemicals which when inhaled, injure the blood vessels in the penis. This injury further prevents the flow of blood to the penis. No matter the stimulation the body gets, when the blood vessels are damaged, there would be no erection.
200 men were examined while their penis was erect. The study carried out by the Boston University of Medicine in 1998 showed that smokers among the men had shorter erect penises in comparison to those who never smoked. The research proved that smoking restricts blood flow in the penis and prevents the organ from stretching out and thereby decreasing its length (1).
BJU International also asserts that smoking is associated with erectile dysfunction (ED).
Some medications can also cause penis shrinkage.
Except rightfully prescribed by a reputable doctor or pharmacist, we should be careful of the drugs we take because the wrong medication can lead to several health problems.
Adderall, a drug for hyperactivity, antipsychotics, and antidepressants used to treat enlarged prostate, has all been shown to cause penis shrinkage.
Journal of Sexual Medicine reported in a 2012 study that decreased penis size and sensations were found in males taking finasteride to treat enlarged prostate (1).
A similar study carried out by the journal Urology found that men experienced several sexual dysfunctions because they were taking dutasteride to treat enlarged prostate (1).
Make sure you see a doctor to educate you of all the risks involved before taking any medication.
When to be worried
When to be worried is when you need to see a doctor. If you are scheduled for radical prostatectomy, take time to talk it over with your doctor so you can be filled in on all the possible forthcoming developments.
If you are experiencing pain and swelling, it may be symptoms of Peyronie’s disease. See a urologist as soon as possible.
Depending on the cause of penis shrinkage, the treatment procedures vary. If you are not sure of the cause, see a doctor.
You can maintain a healthy sexual life even while you age by:
- Keeping fit physically
- Eating well, not just in quantity but in quality. Eat nutritious diets
- Avoid consumption of too much alcohol
Making lifestyle changes
Smoking and weight gain are some of the major causes of penis shrinkage, and a change of lifestyle can address this. If the cause is from medication, then an adjustment can help to solve the problem. It is difficult to quit a particular lifestyle that has been built over the years, but if the lifestyle has health repercussions, it isn’t worth it.
Penile rehabilitation and medication
If the cause of shrinkage is prostate removal, the condition may correct itself after some months or a year.
Other forms of treatment like penile rehabilitation, which is a form of physical therapy, can also help regain erectile function.
Medications like Viagra and Cialis can increase the length of the penis by boosting the flow of blood to the penis.
For Peyronie’s disease
Peyronie’s disease can be treated by ultrasound technology, medication, or surgery. After treatment, the original length of the penis is permanently altered. It is irreversible, but treating the curvature can help boost sexual performance and remove the pain associated with the disease.
The major cause for penis shrinkage is age and lifestyle habits such as weight gain, smoking, and medications. The condition most times does not require medical treatment. The only cause that requires surgery is Peyronie’s disease, and this is one disease that is not common among men.
Adopting a better health-focused lifestyle and habits or changing medications can cause a significant reverse to the condition and even help improve other sexual problems (1).
For prostate removal surgery, there shouldn’t be much reason to worry; the shrinkage always reverses with time.
See your doctor if you are experiencing penis shrinkage. A urologist is trained to cater to men’s sexual life, procure reassuring answers to any sex-related issue, and offer testing and treatment where necessary.
Lastly, for most men, penis shrinkage will not affect their sexual life or stop them from having ejaculation. What’s more, your partner may not even notice the 1/2 inch decrease in the size of your penis.