Many men who are concerned with their penis’s small stature suffer from “dysmorphophobia,” a condition where people see some imaginary flaw in physical appearance as real – in this case a false perception of penis inadequacy, the researchers say.
And apparently this male body-image problem is on the rise.
Penis extensions don’t work and can be risky, a new study says.
The study, published in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews, included a meta-analysis of 1,192 men screened in 17 different studies that had a total of 21 surgical and nonsurgical procedures to enhance penis size.
According to the study, procedures to enhance penis size were not effective and often resulted in complications.
In nonsurgical treatments, when using extenders, some increased in length – but by less than 2 cm, or 0.79 inches.
Procedures using injectables “increased girth but were associated with a high complication rate.”
Procedures that used a vacuum device “did not increase size,” the study said.
In surgical treatments including suspensory ligament incision, tissue grafting, dermal fat and penile disassembly, some men “reported a significant size increase.
But, none of the techniques were verified successful by other parties and “complications were not infrequent,” the study said.
“Treatment of small penis in normal men is supported by scant, low-quality evidence,” the study said.
The study advised “injectibles and surgery should remain a last option” to increase penis size.
Several nonsurgical methods for lengthening the penis, such as penile traction gadgets, vacuum devices, penoscrotal rings and even “physical exercises,” have been popularized in the media.
To get a real picture of the science on such devices, the researchers did an extensive search for studies on the topic of “short penis” and associated treatments, ending up with just 10 studies that met their criteria.
Based on one study, vacuum devices got a failing mark, showing no significant penile elongation after six months of therapy, though the researchers of that study noted it provided psychological satisfaction for some men.
Penile-lengthening exercises also had no science backing up their effectiveness.
The few well-conducted studies on penile extenders, which use mechanical traction to progressively elongate the penis, showed these devices can produce an “effective and durable lengthening of the penis,” the researchers write.
For instance, a small study published in 2002 in the International Journal of Impotence Research showed a penis stretcher called Andropenis could add 0.7 inches (1.8 centimeters) on average to the sex organ after four months of use for at least six hours a day.
That extender device showed promise in another study with six months of use for at least four hours a day.
And the Golden Erect extender was shown to increase penis length in participants of a study published in 2010 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
As for how prevalent penile dysmorphophobia is, in one study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research in 2002, 67 men with a median age of 27 came to the university hospital in Italy within a two-year period complaining of having a short penis.
None of the patients fell into the category of a short penis; in other words, all were of normal size.
Sixty percent of the men said their feeling of inadequacy down there started in childhood when they noticed their friends were more endowed.
Fifty-seven of these patients thought a normal penis length was somewhere between 3.9 and 6.7 inches. (10 and 17 cm).
The others didn’t know what “normal length” was.
These results suggest penis lengthening is not the answer, the researchers pointed out in that study.
One of the largest penis-size studies involved more than 3,000 men and found similar results – that most men seeking size enhancement were within the normal size range and overestimated the average penis size.
That study was published in the International Journal of Impotence Research in 2002.
So what’s normal you ask?
Anything greater than 1.6 inches (4 cm) flaccid and greater than 3 inches (7.5 cm) in a stretched or erect state.
As for the average penis size, numbers vary depending on the study, but Mondaini says: 3.5 inches (9 cm) flaccid, 4.5 inches (12.5 cm) stretched and 5.9 inches (15 cm) erect.