Penis Enlargement: What Are the Options and Does It Work?

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The term “penis enlargement” yields around 20,000 internet searches each month in the UK, for men researching how to increase the size of their penis. This has fueled a thriving penis enlargement industry, with numerous companies claiming that pills, lotions, fillers, pumps, oils and penis exercises can make your penis bigger. But do any of these penis enlargement techniques actually work?

This article looks at the evidence around the effectiveness of these penis enlargement methods, their pros and cons as well as any side effects.

Many men worry about the length or girth of their penis. This isn’t surprising. It plays such an important role in a man’s sex life. Sadly, there is a toxic male culture, linking penis size with his masculinity. Surveys have found that a large number of men desire a bigger penis. An internet-based study of more than 50,000 individuals found that 45% of men would like a larger penis. Professor Kevan Wylie, renowned sexual medicine consultant, concludes that it’s actually men with average-sized penises, who most concerned with the size of their penis.

Feeling inadequate in the penis department can damage a man's self-confidence. However, men should take reassurance that most women have very little interest in penis size. Numerous studies have shown that penis size is a much lower priority for women, with other areas such as a man's personality, emotions and kindness, taking priority.  

 

What is the average penis size?

According to the NHS, the average penis size when not erect is 9cm (3.75in). Factors such as temperature can temporarily make your penis smaller. Provided you can get an erection big enough for sex, a penis that is small when not erect should not affect you in the bedroom.

To get an accurate measurement of your penis, you should measure it when it is erect. The standard way to get your penis size is to measure it on the top side, from the base to the tip. Research shows the average erect penis size is around 13cm to 18cm (5in to 7in). However, a large penis is not necessary for good sex. Knowing what your partner wants, is.

 

Penis enlargement surgery

There are different types and techniques of penis enlargement surgery. However, they are considered experimental as there aren't enough studies to accurately assess their full risks and benefits.

The two main types of penis enlargement surgery are:

Penis lengthening surgery

There is a ligament which attaches the penis to the pubic bone. It helps to support the weight of an erect penis. Penis lengthening surgery involves cutting this ligament. It is replaced with extra skin taken from the stomach. This surgery drops the penis, so it hangs longer, increasing penis length by up to 2cm when flaccid. However, there is no size gain when it’s erect. Furthermore, the erect penis won't be raised as high as before the operation. This is because the ligament that was cut to make way for extra skin, is no longer there to support the weight of the erect penis. This can make sex uncomfortable and less pleasurable.

Penis widening surgery

This involves injecting fat from a different area of the body into the penis. It can increase penis girth by up to 4cm. However, injected fat may be reabsorbed by the body and long-term results may be disappointing, with the possibility of complications.  Using biodegradable frames and grafting tissue is still experimental but has better results than fat injection.

Is penis enlargement surgery available in the UK?

Yes, penis enlargement surgery is available in the UK. The procedure is done privately which you have to pay for. This is because you can only get penis enlargement surgery on the NHS if you have what is termed a “micro-penis” (where the erect penis measures 2.8 inches or less).

Many men who wish to undergo penis enlargement procedures have an average-sized penis but believe their penis size is inadequate. There is a lot to consider when choosing to have penis enlargement surgery, so make sure you choose a qualified and experienced surgeon who works at a regulated clinic. It is recommended that you seek counselling beforehand, and it is a good idea to speak to your GP, who can provide you with an unbiased opinion from a healthcare perspective.

How much does penis enlargement surgery cost?

Penis enlargement surgery is a costly procedure. Surgery costs vary depending on the clinic, the type of surgery and your desired results. Girth and length penis enlargement surgeries can cost over £6,000. On top of that, you can expect to pay an initial consultation fee of up to £250 to discuss your needs with a consultant. Whilst cost is important, it is crucial that you find a reputable surgeon and clinic you can trust and steer away from any cowboy outfits. 

How about Turkey?

The cost of penis enlargement surgery is cheaper in some countries such as Turkey. However, medical tourism should be approached with care. The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons outline what you need to consider when deciding if travelling abroad to places like Turkey is the right thing for you. Whilst most medical facilities in places such as Turkey are of a high standard, you should check with relevant medical boards and associations, to see if the clinic you plan to visit is regulated.

What are the side effects and risks?

There are no guarantees with penis enlargement surgery. This particular niche of cosmetic surgery suffers from controversy. Lack of clinical guidelines and possible under-reporting of complications can make it difficult to draw conclusions. Because of this, penis enlargement surgery is considered experimental. More studies are required to give an accurate picture of the risks and benefits. A 2019 study that looks at the evidence of penile girth enlargement strategies supports this. It says that clinical guidelines are lacking and complications of penile girth enhancement are likely underreported.

A further study on the ‘Complications of Genital Enlargement Surgery’ says “Penile and scrotal enhancement surgery can be associated with major disabling complications, leading to deformity and functional compromise in men with prior normal anatomy and function. Patients should be aware of these risks.”

Side effects and risks can include perforation and infection of the implant, fat loss, swelling, blood clots, stitches coming apart, temporary loss of sensation in the penis, erectile dysfunction, painful erections, scarring and undesirable changes to the shape of the penis. As with any surgery, there are risks associated with the use of anesthetics.

Ultimately, you need to consider the risks, and the benefits. From a healthcare perspective, the risks should outweigh the benefits. Given that penis enlargement surgery is much to do with insecurity, it can be counterproductive to go through the procedure and be left with complications that can affect the functioning of your penis.

What are the before and after results of penis enlargement surgery?

When choosing a surgeon and clinic to perform your penis enlargement surgery, it’s important that you are happy with the changes to your penis.

To help you to decide on your specific requirements and desired results of surgery, it can be helpful to look at penis enlargement before and after photos, of patients who have had the procedure. These results will help guide and shape realistic expectations.

You can find examples of before and after results of penis enlargement surgery on the internet. The clinic that you enquire with are likely to showcase examples of their work.

 

Penis enlargement medication

Many men are confused when it comes to penis enlargement pills. These pills usually contain vitamins, minerals, herbs or hormones, which claim to increase penis size. But despite their claims, there is no clinical evidence that these medications work. There are no pills to physically increase penis size, and some of these pills may be harmful to your health.

However, if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED), there are ED medications that can help you to achieve and maintain an erection. You must remember that ED tablets such as Viagra, do not physically increase the size of your penis. Admittedly, they may make it seem like your penis is bigger, but that is because the drug works to increase blood flow to the penis, helping to achieve a full erection.

Do pills help with penis growth?

Pills cannot help to increase the size of your penis. There are no tablets, capsules, oils, or any products for that matter, which can increase penis size. Why? Because your anatomy is responsible for the size of your penis. Without surgical intervention, it is not possible to alter anatomy by taking tablets. Size is determined by a growth hormone called hGH. It is not a penis growth hormone that can be taken by anyone. It’s a naturally occurring growth hormone which peaks in males during puberty. Hormone therapy is only given to children in rare cases, where developmental conditions affect their growth. Adults who use hGH are at risk of developing diabetes, breast enlargement, and certain cancers. Because of the high-risk nature of administering hGH to adults, there are limited studies examining the effect of hGH on penis growth.

You should be wary of adverts promoting penis enlargement pills, as these products are not regulated and may contain harmful substances.

 

So, what are the best penis enlargement pills?

Penis enlargement pills don’t work, so there is no “best pill”. However, if you are unable to achieve and maintain an erection, ED treatment can help you to get a full erection. Although they are not explicitly penis enlargement pills, they can help you to get a full erection if you have ED. Erectile dysfunction treatment (informally referred to as sex pills), belong to a class of medication known as PDE5 inhibitors. They work by encouraging blood flow to the penis when you are sexually stimulated. ED treatments will never be marketed as “penis enlargement pills”. Most ED medications are available with a prescription from your doctor or pharmacy. Online pharmacies such as Chemist Click can provide a prescription after the completion of an online consultation. Before you buy such treatments online, you should check the registration of the pharmacy. There are several websites selling non-regulated alternatives online, such as Kamagra.    

What pills will help me to get and keep an erection?

There are a few pills that can help you to get and keep an erection when you are sexually stimulated. ED medication options include:

Sildenafil

Sildenafil, known by its brand name Viagra (also referred to as the blue pill), is the best-known ED pill. You take it around 60 minutes before sex and it lasts on average for four hours. Sildenafil tablets are available over the counter in all pharmacies following a consultation with a pharmacist. Alternatively, you can buy it online after completing an online questionnaire. Viagra Connect is now available to buy over-the-counter. Contrary to popular belief, Viagra does not physically make your penis bigger. It helps you to achieve a full erection upon sexual arousal.

Tadalafil

Tadalafil tablets are another type of ED treatment, also available by its brand name Cialis. It is an alternative to Viagra that was developed a few years later. It is known as the ‘weekend pill’ as you take 30 minutes before sex and it lasts up to 36 hours (10mg and 20mg strength). You can also get tadalafil daily, a lower dose version of the pill (2.5mg and 5mg), that is taken every day which has a continuous effect. It allows for more sexual spontaneity without the need to schedule doses.

Vardenafil

Vardenafil is also available by its brand name, Levitra. You take it 25 minutes before sex and it can last up to 6 hours. Vardenafil tablets are recommended for men with diabetes.

Avanafil

Avanafil is also available by its brand Spedra, so called as it works in as little as 15 minutes and usually lasts around four hours.

 

Penis fillers

A penis filler (also known as a penis enlargement injection), is a liquid that is injected into the soft tissue under the skin of your penis shaft. Penis fillers are designed to increase the girth of your penis. They can also increase the length of a flaccid penis. Penis fillers can be synthetic or natural. Natural hyaluronic acid tends to be preferred.

Natural penis fillers (Hyaluronic Acid)

These fillers are a non-surgical, lower cost and quicker option with less downtime compared to penis enlargement surgery. The risk of an allergic reaction is lower, as hyaluronic acid is a natural component of skin. If you are not happy with the results, an antidote can be injected to break down the filler, reversing the effects. However, the results are not permanent. Your body will absorb the majority of the filler, typically within 12 to 18 months. These injections are more common, due to the low risk. Therefore, it is likely that clinics will have many before and after photos as reference for patients to review, in order assist in the decision-making process. The cost of hyaluronic enhancement fillers is around £2,000.

Synthetic penis fillers

These fillers last longer and have a harder feel, in comparison to hyaluronic acid filler injections. However, the risk of an allergic reaction is higher, and unlike natural penis fillers, they cannot be dissolved if you are not happy with the results. The cost of this type of filler is around £3,000.

Penis fillers before and after verdict

Although this augmentation procedure can increase your penis width, it has no benefit to your penis length when erect. It may even lead to complications that can impair sexual function later on. Treatments like fillers are still considered to be experimental, and you should research the pros and cons beforehand. Forums where other men who have undergone filler injections can be useful to hear about other men’s experience.

Self-injecting penis fillers to increase the girth of your penis is DIY practice which is deemed to be extremely dangerous. Regulated wholesalers of licensed medication will never sell their products directly to the public. Such products obtained on the black market online may be harmful, and self-injecting (especially if you are not trained to do so) can lead to infection, abscesses, tissue hardening, tissue death and even penis loss.

 

Penis pumps

A penis pump consists of a plastic tube, a pump (battery operated or manual), and a constriction ring. The tube is placed over your penis and the air in the tube is pumped out to create a vacuum around your penis. This vacuum then draws blood into your penis. Once erect, you can place a constriction ring over the base of your penis to help keep the blood inside.

Contrary to popular belief, there is very little evidence to suggest that a penis enlargement pump will make your penis bigger. In fact, those who try to use a penis pump for this purpose may cause injury. Over-using a penis pump can damage the tissue of your penis and result in weaker erections.

A penis pump can help you get and keep erections. These pumps are affordable and don’t usually have side effects when used correctly. However, they may cause some bruising and scarring if used incorrectly. A vacuum pump works best if your inability to get an erection is caused by physical factors. Pumps are not as effective for psychological ED.

 

Penis enlargement exercises - Jelqing

Jelqing is a penis massage exercise where you repeatedly pull your flaccid penis using your thumb and index finger. The aim of jelqing is to increase the size of your erect penis. It is based on the theory that the pulling exercises increase the blood capacity of the erectile tissue in your penis and this can increase both its length and girth.

Although jelqing can help a man become more comfortable with their body and better appreciate the difference in size of a flaccid and erect penis, there is no scientific evidence to suggest jelqing can make your penis bigger.

 

Penis extension techniques

Penis extension techniques involve the use of devices to stretch your penis while it is flaccid. They aim to increase the length of your penis over a long period of time. Typically, these devices are to be worn for 6 hours a day, every day, for up to 6 months to see results. However, there is no clear evidence to suggest that these devices work or are safe to use. The NHS does not recommend starting this type of treatment without first consulting with a doctor.

There are two main types of penile extenders:

Weights

Penis weights are small weights that are available in a few different styles. You can get weighted cock rings to wear on the end of your shaft just before the head, or weighted balls or plates that hang from the end of your shaft via a strap.

These weights are meant to gradually stretch the tendons and muscles in your shaft so that you end up with a longer penis. However, this is not recommended as it could cause tissue damage. There is no clinical evidence that using weights will extend your penis.

Traction devices

Traction devices are frames that clamp onto your flaccid penis and can be adjusted to lengthen it.

Several studies that have investigated the effects of traction devices show varying results. There is some evidence that traction devices can lengthen a penis if used over a long period of time, however, it is limited. Studies suggest that traction devices work better on men who are smaller in size. Over a 6-month period, patients have noted a gain of 1 to 2 cm.

 

Penis enlargement creams

Similar to penis enlargement pills, creams claiming to enlarge your penis do not work and may be unsafe to use. The best-case scenario is that you waste your money on a penis enlargement cream and the worst case is that the cream could cause long term damage.

There are creams for erectile dysfunction to help you get and maintain an erection, such as Vitaros. Vitaros contains the active ingredient alprostadil, which helps to widen the blood vessels in your penis and increase blood flow when you are sexually stimulated. ED creams work in a similar way to ED tablets such as Viagra, but they are typically not as effective. 

 

Natural penis enlargement

Apart from stretching techniques, using weights and traction devices, there is no way to make your penis thicker or longer naturally. These techniques have limited evidence of whether they work.

There are some natural penis enlargement remedies or herbal supplements that are believed to help increase the size of your erection. They include horny goat weed, L-arginine, Maca, DHEA, red ginseng, Propionyl-L carnitine, Melatonin, Vitamin E and Zinc. Again, scientific evidence is lacking for these natural enlargement pills.

 

Other techniques

There are other ways to make your penis look bigger without changing its physical size. This can make you feel more confident about your penis and your overall body.

Techniques to enhance your penis include:

Trimming pubic hair

Removing pubic hair around the shaft of your penis can make it look more visible and give the impression that it is bigger.

Lose weight

If you have a belly that hangs over and overshadows your penis, it can create the impression that your penis is smaller than it actually is. By losing weight, your penis will become more discernible, so that it appears bigger.

 

Is penis enlargement available on the NHS?

Penis enlargement surgery is only available on the NHS if you have a micro-penis. A micro-penis is one that is less than 3 inches in length when erect. If you do not have a diagnosed micro-penis, then you are not eligible for penis enlargement surgery on the NHS and you will need to pay for it privately. This is because penis enlargement is classed as lifestyle or cosmetic surgery.

 

The Verdict

Penis size is a common source of anxiety. Many men wrongly focus on penis size, when most men are unaware how big the average penis is, and how they measure up in comparison. The average vagina is around 4 inches deep when aroused, so most men are big enough to engage in penetrative sex.  

Penis enlargement surgery is the only way to permanently increase the size of your penis. Other penis enlargement techniques are not scientifically proven to work and may have associated risks.

Our take home points include:

  • Penis fillers are only temporary, have no benefit to your penis length when erect, and are unregulated.
  • There is little evidence that penis vacuum pumps will give you a larger penis. In fact, they may even cause injury. They are intended to be used by men with ED to help achieve and maintain an erection and should be obtained from your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Natural penis enlargement medications including pills and creams, or other methods that claim to increase the natural size of your penis do not work, and may be associated with risks.
  • Penis exercises including jelqing come with risks, and there is no evidence that they work. In fact, urologists have expressed concerns about penile injury and ED from manual exercises.
  • Therapy can address false beliefs around penis size and build confidence.
  • Penis enlargement surgery is the only long-term solution to increase the size of your penis. However, there are risks associated with this, and it has no impact on your sexual performance, unless you have a micro-penis.

Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.