Treating Penis Shrinkage Due to Age or Surgery

January 12, 2019

Erectile Dysfunction

Advertisement

Size does matter; at least it does to most guys when it comes to the length and/or girth of their penis. The truth is, penis size varies among men and is influenced primarily by ethnic background. Since you can’t change that factor, we will focus on what you can change as well as what works and what doesn’t when it comes to stopping penis shrinkage as you age.

Why does penis shrinkage happen?

Penis shrinkage occurs for several reasons as men age. As men get older, more and more plaque tends to accumulate in the arteries in the penis, which interferes with blood flow. Scar tissue (the protein collagen) also can build up in the fibrous sheathe that surrounds the chambers in the penis involved in erections. Blockages within these chambers can result in smaller erections. Aging is also characterized by muscle atrophy and a decline in testosterone, both of which can be associated with a slight decline in penis size.

How does weight affect penis shrinkage?

In men who are overweight, an accumulation of fat in the lower abdomen can make the penis appear to be smaller because the penile shaft is hidden in abdominal fat. Being overweight or obese also is associated with poor blood flow to the penis, which can contribute to an inability to obtain or maintain rigidity. Another change occurs with aging: around age 40, testicles begin to shrink.

Can prostate surgery affect penis shrinkage?

Radical prostatectomy results in penis shrinkage in about 70 percent of men who have the procedure. The amount of length men can lose after radical prostatectomy varies, although it averages about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) for a flaccid penis and about 1 inch (2.3 cm) when the penis is stretched.

Advertisement

Three months after 31 men had a prostatectomy 71 percent of them experienced a reduction in the length of their penis: the reduction was 0.5 cm in seven men, 1.0 to 2.0 cm in 11 men, and more than 2.0 cm in four men. No change was reported in five men, and four men showed an increase in length of 0.5 to 1.0 cm.

What else can cause penis shrinkage?

Two penile conditions are among the reasons why penis shrinkage happens. One is Peyronies disease, in which an abnormal curvature of the penis can both shorten the penis slightly as well as cause a loss of girth. The other condition is congenital chordee, a rare health issue in which excessive elasticity in a part of the penis causes the organ to bend and be slightly shorter.

Which medications may cause penis shrinkage?

Several medications are associated with penis shrinkage in some men. They include the following:

  • Adderall, typically prescribed for attention deficit/hypersensitivity disorder
  • Antidepressants and antipsychotics, based mainly in anecdotal evidence
  • Dutasteride (Avodart), used to treat an enlarged prostate
  • Finasteride (Proscar), used to treat both an enlarged prostate and hair loss

What lifestyle habits can help prevent penis shrinkage?

You should pay attention to your nighttime erections. Do you wake up hard? Do you experience erections during the night? These are indications that your penis is receiving decent blood flow and is functioning properly. With that good news, there are a few lifestyle habits you can adopt that can help prevent penis shrinkage, whether you are a healthy male or have undergone prostate cancer surgery. If you are in the latter category, also check out the post-surgical tips below.

  • Practice masturbation, which helps promote blood circulation in the penis and thus reduce the risk of penis shrinkage.
  • Engage in more sexual activity, which can help keep your penis from shrinking. The “use it or lose it” adage applies here.
  • Keep your testicles slightly (about 3 degrees F) lower than body temperature to help prevent shrinkage. Use boxers rather than briefs which can help keep temperatures lower.
  • Avoid tight underwear and pants, as they can restrict blood flow and over time may contribute to a smaller penis.
  • Lose those extra pounds if you are overweight or obese. Weight loss can improve blood circulation below the waist and reduce stress on your groin area.
  • Consider using medications that promote blood circulation, such as erectile dysfunction drugs (e.g., Viagra, Cialis), which may help reduce penis shrinkage.
  • Get off the couch and exercise regularly, especially aerobic activities, which promotes blood circulation throughout the body
  • Stay well hydrated by consuming at least 8 to 10 glasses of pure water daily. Dehydration causes your tissues to contract and blood flow to become more sluggish.

What can you do post prostate cancer surgery to prevent penis shrinkage?

After prostate cancer surgery, there are a few extra tips for preventing penis shrinkage.

  • Use a penis pump, a cylindrical device that is placed over the penis while a pump sucks out the air. Use of a penis pump three to five times a week for 20 minutes may help maintain penis length after surgery.
  • Penile rehabilitation, which involves a combination of therapies and efforts to restore and maintain erectile function after prostate surgery. These can include use of erectile dysfunction drugs, penile injections, penis pumps, and suppositories.
  • Skip the pills or creams that claim they can increase penis length. Don’t fall for any commercials or other claims about a product that can make you bigger.

Can stretching improve penis length?

You may experience a slight (about 0.5 inch) increase in penis size if you wear a weight attached to your penis for eight hours daily for six months. However, wearing such a weight also may result in broken blood vessels, torn tissue, and other problems. Therefore, you should consider the pros and cons of stretching your penis daily for six months.

What surgical options can increase penis size?

Penile lengthening surgery is a radical move and requires a significant commitment from the men who undergo it. The procedure involves cutting the ligament that connects the penis to the pelvic bone (thus allowing about an inch more of the penile shaft to become visible outside the body). Post-surgery, men must wear a stretching device or weights on the penis daily for six months. This stretching practice helps prevent the ligament from reattaching.

Many men are not satisfied with the results of this procedure. For example, only 35 percent of 42 men in one study who had their ligament cut were happy with the end result.

A newer option is to partially disconnect the scrotum from the penile shaft. This may reveal more of the shaft, which in turn makes the penis look longer. This outpatient procedure may prove helpful for men whose scrotum attaches high on the penile shaft.

Men who choose to undergo penis lengthening surgery run the risk of various side effects, including nerve damage, infection, erectile dysfunction, and reduced penile sensitivity.

Can penis girth be improved?

Several controversial procedures are available that can increase penile girth. Some involve injecting silicone or fat into the penis or the use of tissue grafts. Other girth-increasing options include injecting hyaluronic acid into the penis, which can be painful and temporary. That is, the penis may increase in girth for about 1.5 inches for up to 18 months. Injection of polymethylmethacrylate-based soft tissue fillers are another alternative to boost penis girth.

Sources

Casavantes L et al. Penile girth enhancement with polymethylmethacrylate-based soft tissue fillers. Journal of Sexual Medicine 2016 Sep; 13(9): 1414-22

Irwig MS. Persistent sexual side effects of finasteride: could they be permanent? Journal of Sexual Medicine 2012 Nov; 9(11): 2927-32

Li C-Y et al. Penile suspensory ligament division for penile augmentation: indications and results. European Neurology 2006; 49:729-33

Munding MD et al. Pilot study of changes in stretched penile length 3 months after radical retropubic prostatectomy. Urology 2001 Oct; 58(4): 567-69

Savoie M et al. A prospective study measuring penile length in men treated with radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. Journal of Urology 2003 Apr; 169(4): 1462-64

Wu XJ et al. Dutasteride on benign prostatic hyperplasia: a meta-analysis on randomized clinical trials in 6460 patients. Urology 2014 Mar; 83(3): 539-43

Advertisement