A Doctor Answers Some Questions About Penises.
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Is it big enough? Should it be that shape? And does it really shrink as you get older?
You’re well acquainted with your own todger, but is it normal and how does it compare to everyone else’s?
Here, LloydsPharmacy Online expert Dr Tom Brett answers all your burning questions.
From average penis size to warning signs of serious medical conditions, here are a few things you should know about your schlong.
1. How big is the average penis erect and flaccid?
The mean length of the erect penis is about 5.2 inches (13.2cm) in length and 4.6 inches (11.7cm) in circumference, and at normal temperatures a non-erect penis usually measures 3.6 inches (9.1cm) from tip to base and 3.7 (9.3cm) inches in circumference.
2. Can a penis be too big or too small to the point it becomes a medical condition?
Including both ends of the spectrum, only 4.6% of men are considered to be abnormal in penis size (small & large).
That’s 2.3% have an abnormally small penis under 4″ erect (10cm), and 2.3% have a penis larger than 7.5″ (19cm) erect. That means around 95% of men in the world have an erect penis length range between 4″ and 7.5″. The mean of this being 5.2″ (13.2cm).
The medical term ‘micropenis’ is used for those with the smallest penises, which are under 3.0 inches (7.7cm) erect and actually only effects 0.6% of all men. This is usually due to genetic or hormonal problems, which lead to more serious problems while in the womb.
If you’re really worried about the size of your penis you can visit your GP or local sexual health clinic.
3. If your penis curves to one side, should you be worried?
If the penis is slightly curved or bent when erect, the chance is that there is nothing to worry about.
It is very common, so if it has always been like that, then the chances are, it is completely normal.
4. Can curvature be a sign of something more serious?
If the bend is a recent change or it is quite pronounced it could be something called Peyronie’s disease.
This is caused when a hard lump or thickened area forms, and causes a bend which can be painful when erect.
It is thought to be the result of damage to the smallest blood vessels in the penis and it can develop slowly or appear suddenly.
Peyronie’s disease can make intercourse more difficult and occasionally painful.
As it can be due to an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or high cholesterol, it is important that you see you GP to exclude these conditions.
You may need referral to a specialist doctor called a urologist for treatment.
5. Does your penis shrink as you get older?
The penis does shrink a small amount with age. The difference is so minor, that it is often not noticeable – men can generally lose about half an inch between their 30s and 60s.
It is also common for men to put on abdominal fat during this time, which has the effect of making the penis look smaller than it actually is.
6. How many men are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED)?
The National Institutes of Health (UK) state that around 5% of 40-year-old men and 15% to 25% of 65-year-old men experience Erectile Dysfunction on a regular basis.
7. How can you prevent ED from happening to you?
Smoking, being overweight and medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol cause calcification of blood vessels, including those in the penis, which in turn reduces blood flow to the penis.
This results in erectile dysfunction and can also lead to heart disease and other serious medical conditions.
Therefore quitting smoking, improving your diet and increasing exercise as well as seeing your GP for screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are very important.
While medicines will often be the first port of call for treating ED, there are a number of other medical, surgical and psychological options for patients.
Medical treatments include MUSE urethral pellets and penile injection therapy.
Vacuum pumps are another temporary solution, while surgical options include penile prostheses and penile arterial revascularisation which can provide more permanent solutions in certain circumstances.
For younger men with ED, the cause is often psychological, and as such, counselling and relationship therapy may be the best options.
In both cases, lifestyle changes to improve your body’s overall health can be beneficial, and can help treat your erectile dysfunction.
If you’re experiencing ED but don’t feel comfortable talking about it with your GP, you can have an online consultation with your Doctor and they’ll be able to recommend a suitable treatment.
8. What should you do if the skin at the head of the penis feels tight?
When the head of the penis feels too tight so the foreskin can’t be pulled back, it is called Phimosis.
It is sometimes accompanied by symptoms including redness, soreness or swelling and can get infected.
Medical conditions such as eczema, proriasis, diabetes and recurrent infections can contribute.
Long term, if left untreated, it can result in a very painful condition called paraphymosis where the blood supply is restricted to the head of the penis and in rare cases can result in cancer so it is important you see your GP if you have this condition.
Sometimes topical steroids are prescribed to treat a tight foreskin, as they soften the skin and surgery is sometimes required.
9. What should you do if you notice any lumps or bumps on your testicles?
Lumps and bumps can be an indicator of many different causes. Head straight to your nearest GP or GUM Clinic if you notice anything irregular.