Ever since Homo sapiens learned to walk erect, one question has haunted man beyond any other – ‘How can I increase the size of my penis?’ Surely with the rapid advancement of science, medicine and technology where HIV positive people stay hale and hearty for years and stem cell therapy is helping cure incurable cancer, they must have figured out a safe way to enlarge the penis! In this post, we tell you more about the topic and get our expert Dr Vijaysarathi Ramanathan’s (Sexual Health Physician & Medical Sex Therapist) opinions on the various methods that you may or may not have heard about. But first, it’s time to answer some questions:
How exactly does one measure a penis and what is normal?
It’s important to measure the penis properly before jumping to any conclusions. To get a precise measurement,one should only take a measurement when erect. The proper way to do it is to measure the entire penis – from the base near the belly up to the tip. Most experts agree that a normal erect penis size is between 5.1 to 5.9 inches.
So who needs penis enlargement?
Normally, penis enlargement is suggested only for people who suffer from an abnormal condition called the micro-penis (a penis which measures less than 3 inches when erect). It is estimated that only six in a 1000 males suffer from this condition. Most doctors and experts are unanimous in their opinion that other people do not need penis enlargement.
Do any of the penis enlargement techniques even work?
While researching for this article we did not come across one credible site or source which has information about or endorses safe methods for penis enlargement. Most of them have skewed data, fake testimonials, non-credible information about the product’s contents or procedure and dodgy expert comments. If there really was a safe penis enlargement product/procedure out there, we’re sure we would have heard about it by now. Take Viagra for example – the erectile dysfunction medicine is arguably the most popular and well-known drug on the planet.
That said, let’s see what the various male enhancement products and procedures are:
1. Topical applications:
- Pills, creams, gels and lotions
How they claim to work: They are supposed to contain vitamins, minerals, herbs or hormones that can increase your penis size. None of the manufacturers want to tell the customers exactly what these ingredients are or how they work – we’re just supposed to believe their tall claims. Be very wary of these products – an analysis carried out the by the University of Maryland in the USA found traces of lead, pesticides, E.coli bacteria and animal faeces in the samples!
Dr Vijaysarathi Ramanathan – Many of the products available for penis enlargement are not proven to be safe and/or effective in long run. It is quite easy for experts and researchers to disprove them all.
- Vacuum Pump
How they claim to work: Basically you put your penis in a pressurised cylinder which sucks in all the air. This causes the blood to flow and stay in your penis. Repeating this procedure is supposed to increase the size.
Side-effects: The vacuum pump is sometimes used to treat people suffering from erectile dysfunction or Peyronie’s disease (abnormally angled penises). If used for too long, they can cause long term damage like ruptured blood vessels, tearing or erectile dysfunction.
- Stretchers, weights, rings and other devices
How they claim to work: You attach these devices to the penis and they are supposed to increase your size by stretching the muscle. They exploit people’s misconception that muscles of the penis are like other muscles of the body and can be bulked up by repeated use (exercising).
Side-effects: Wear and tear of muscles, tissues, ruptured blood vessels, erectile dysfunction, decrease in sensation, etc. Also these devices require users to use it for a ridiculous amount of time without much benefit and a high amount of risk.
Dr Vijaysarathi Ramanathan: A study found devices such as this to be not useful.
How they claim to work: The most common form of exercise is called Jelqing or ‘milking’. It comprises of rapidly and repeatedly pull your flaccid penis to increase the size.
Side-effects: There’s no evidence to suggest that this technique has ever worked. Over-enthusiasm might result in muscle or tissue wear and tear.
Dr Vijaysarathi Ramanathan: When done properly and not too vigorously, it does help a man relate better with his penis. Although the benefits are not obvious, it is less likely to cause problems. At the least, this technique makes a man feel that he is doing something to deal with his concern. But, it is important for him to be aware that he may not realize any size gain and be prepared not to get disappointed.
Read: Premature ejaculation: Beat it for real
There are basically two types of penile surgeries – those that increase length (lengthening surgeries) and those that increase girth (widening surgeries). These cosmetic penile surgeries are only recommended for people who suffer from the micro-penis or other penis defects.
- Lengthening surgeries
How they work: For surgeries to increase length, the most common technique is detaching the ligament that connects the penis to the pubic bone. This can increase the length of a flaccid penis by 1-2 cm but makes no difference in the length of an erect one.
Side effects: While there’s no difference in the length of the erect penis, there is a change of angle which makes sex harder and also causes less stable erections. Serious side-effects could result in erectile dysfunction. Also to prevent the ligament from attaching again, weights have to be used for six months! Many men regret getting it done because it really doesn’t add to the erect length.
- Widening Surgeries
How they work: Widening surgeries are more complicated and require implantation of fats, tissues or silicone implants. Another method which is in its experimental stage involves pulling back the skin of the penis to wrap a tube-like biodegradable frame filled with tissue shells around it. Experts believe that this could prove to a better method that injecting fat into the penis.
Side effects: The implantation method didn’t work and often left the penis misshapen.
Expert Opinion: The problem with penis enlargement surgeries is two-fold. In penis widening surgeries, the body tends to re-absorb the fat and the penis returns to its normal size. In the case of lengthening, it seems to have no significant effect on the erect penis (increases length of flaccid penis) and actually causes the erection to be less stable.
Reviewing all these methods for penis enlargement just demonstrates that there are no safe methods to increase penis size. They are also very expensive and can leave you with disastrous consequences. Men should realize that the penis size is not proportional to a pleasurable sex life and that they’d be better off using their brains, hands and mouths for a better sex life.
‘One important thing we need to figure out is why so many men fall into this trap of believing and buying these enlargement products? Why are these men ready to risk their sexual organ and sometimes their lives? The answer is that they are so distressed and worried about the penis size and it is impacting their life in many ways that they try these products blindly with a single hope that any one of them would relieve their problem. My strong recommendation to all these men is a simple message – Be well informed and then make a decision. It is our (doctors’) responsibility to make you (patients) get adequate and appropriate information. We can help you make the right decision but end of the day the decision is yours. Basic counselling and sex therapy have been proven to be successful in dealing with concerns over penis size in 80% of patients, a recent study reports. Fundamental sex education and changing the way you think about your sexual organs and body are the cheapest and most efficient way to deal this issue. There are some men who definitely need surgery and it has to be offered after assessing the risk and benefits.’