Anxiety about penis size has spawned a multimillion-dollar industry in clinically unproven ‘male enhancement products’.
While many men worry that their penis is too small, research shows that most men’s penises are normal, and they needn’t be concerned.
Professor Kevan Wylie, a sexual medicine consultant, says men with concerns about their penis size should consider talking to a health professional before experimenting with treatments, which are mostly ineffective, expensive and potentially harmful.
“Many men who worry about the size of their penis generally have overall body image issues,” he says. “What happens is that they tend to focus their poor body image on their penis.
“Often, counselling can make a real difference to the patient by building self-esteem, correcting distorted views about body image and learning more about what makes people attractive.”
While you can’t do much to safely enlarge your penis, there are several things you can do to make you feel more confident about your body.
- trim your pubic hair – a big mound of pubic hair can make your penis look smaller than it is
- lose weight – a beer belly hanging over your penis can make your penis look smaller
- get fit – getting into shape will not only make you feel more attractive, it could also improve your sex life.
Some surgical techniques to increase penis girth involve injecting fat from another part of the body into the penis. Some studies have reported increases in circumference of 1.4–4cm.
However, studies that followed men up over a longer time suggest disappointing results, with complications including disfigurement, scarring, lumpiness and infection.
Another method, still in its experimental stage, involves pulling back the skin of the penis to wrap a tube-like biodegradable frame filled with tissue cells around the shaft.
Prof. Wylie says the use of biodegradable frames has had better results than fat injection. “The problem with injecting fat is that over time the body will re-absorb it, which can result in a return to the penis’ original size,” he says.
The most common surgical technique involves cutting the ligament that attaches the penis to the pubic bone and performing a skin graft at the base of the penis to allow for the extra length.
Prof. Wylie says the surgery can result in an average gain in length to the flaccid penis of 2cm, but there will be no change to the size of the erect penis.
Furthermore, the erect penis won’t point as high as before the operation because the ligament that was cut no longer offers support.
“A lot of men who have this treatment don’t truly appreciate this loss of angle,” says Prof. Wylie.
“It can make sex quite uncomfortable. You’ve got to do a lot more manoeuvring with your partner. The advantage of a 2cm gain in flaccid length is far outweighed by the loss of angle of erection.”
Have you ever considered this type of cosmetic surgery? Have you had it done? Would you recommend it to others?
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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.