Penis Shrinkage: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment Options

If you’ve never heard of penis shrinkage, then pay attenention. You could be putting yourself at risk of losing penis size.

Dr. Laurence Levine
Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA
by Dr. Laurence Levine Last updated 05/20/2022

Have you noticed a decrease in the size of your penis lately? If so, it might not be your imagination.

It could be a condition known as penis shrinkage or penile atrophy.

At this point, you're probably asking just how much shrinkage can I expect to see and is it reversible?

Let's take a look at the possible causes of your penile shrinkage and just what, if anything, can be done about it.

And, if you haven’t experienced penis shrinkage yet, but want to make sure you don’t.

We have some preventative measures to ensure the health and length of your penis.

Quick FAQs

The most common causes of penis shrinkage are aging, medications, smoking, weight gain, and prostate surgery.

In some cases, yes. Depending on the reason for your penis shrinkage it may be totally reversible.

Most cases of penis shrinkage result in less than half an inch in total penile shrinkage.

What is penis shrinkage?

Penis shrinkage, also known as penile atrophy, is a very real condition that some men have to deal with as they age.

Penile atrophy is a permanent loss of penis length, often the result of:

Common causes of penis shrinkage

  • aging
  • surgery
  • obesity
  • and other factors

Penis shrinkage can be scary to think about because there simply aren't any good fixes after it occurs.

Penile atrophy can be stopped before it starts in some cases.

Let's take a look at exactly what causes penis shrinkage, if it can be treated, and what the science says about preventing the condition.

What Causes Penis Shrinkage?

Several factors can contribute to penis shrinkage, but blood flow is one of the biggest.

For many males, reduced blood flow from vascular conditions or obesity can cause an apparent loss in size, but it might not be permanent.

The direct causes of penile shrinkage are still in debate, but the science does point to a handful of specific triggers.

1. Aging

Aging and penis shrinkage

As with most diseases, aging increases your risk of penile atrophy.

The longer you live, the longer damage has a chance to accumulate in your cells and organs, including the penis.

Another major contributing factor in penile atrophy is atherosclerosis or plaque deposits building up inside your arteries over time.

Most men's penises and testicles may shrink as they age because of this.

Repeated damage to the penis through sex, sports, or other causes will create scar tissue.

The more scar tissue that builds up, the less effective the penis is at becoming erect, and over time this leads to a permanent loss of length.

Take the health of your penis seriously, wear a cup during sports, and perhaps be a little less aggressive with your thrusting during sex.

2. Prostate surgery

Prostate surgery and penis shrinkage

This is a category that is unfortunately unfixable. 

If you have prostate surgery, particularly for cancer, there is a high chance your penis will shrink.

Men who have had nerve-sparing prostate surgery (that is, the nerves were left so they could still enjoy sex) had a nearly 20% reduction in overall penis size.

It also appears radiation from cancer therapy, in general, can have a negative effect on penis size.

This is due to the fact that radiation poisons cells, and it can be rather indiscriminate.

Once cells, like the smooth muscle cells of the penis, are damaged through radiation cancer treatment, it can be hard for them to recover.

3. Weight gain

Weight gain and penis shrinkage

Weight shrinks your penis in a few ways. 

Larger Stomach - The larger your stomach is, the smaller your penis looks. This is not actual shrinkage, but it can cause a lot of mental anguish for guys.

Poor Erection Strength - Having a lot of fat around your abdomen and pelvis reduces blood flow transiently to your penis, which makes getting erections more difficult.

Losing 10 percent of body fat can help with erectile dysfunction

For a lot of men, losing weight will help alleviate symptoms of ED immediately by reducing the pressure of fat on the blood vessels that supply your penis.

Increased Levels of Estrogen - The last way weight gain affects penis size is that fat produces estrogen.

When estrogen is dominant, it suppresses androgens, which suppresses the regeneration and growth of smooth muscle cells in the penis.

This type of penis shrinkage, related to obesity, is more permanent.

Losing weight in most cases will resolve obesity-related penis shrinkage and prevent the long-term, permanent type of penile atrophy related to being overweight.

A few things to try:

Tips to combat penis shrinkage

  • exercise more often
  • reduce sugar intake
  • avoid processed foods
  • get better sleep

These changes will improve your overall health and give you better blood flow and increased stamina, allowing you to last longer in bed.

4. Peyronie’s disease

This disease is characterized by the buildup of scar tissue in the penis that causes severe curvature while erect.

Some men with Peyronie's disease can't have sex at all, and it used to be that surgery was the only effective way to combat the condition.

However, ultrasound treatment and the medication Xiaflex can effectively treat some types of Peyronie's disease.

This disease not only makes the penis curve and sex difficult, but it also effectively reduces the size of the penis because of the bend or curve caused by the scar tissue.

The treatments do a good job of helping you resume a normal sex life, but Peyronie's isn't "curable" in a traditional sense.

Once it happens, your penis will be curved to a degree, and you will lose some length on your penis permanently.

5. Medications

Certain medications can cause penis shrinkage

Certain medications reduce blood flow or disrupt the hormones responsible for male sex drive and erections.

Others make it difficult to achieve an erection for other reasons, but with medications, the disruption is only temporary (in most cases).

If your doctor starts you on a drug that appears to be causing ED or penis shrinkage, speak with them and see if there's another option.

6. Smoking

Smoking can cause penile atrophy or shrinkage

Smoking is terrible for you across all systems and measurements of health, making your heart work harder, and not in a good way.

Smoking accelerates atherosclerosis by increasing the rate of plaque build-up in your arteries. 

It can reduce blood flow to the penis and makes it smaller while erect. In fact, studies show that smoking causes weaker erection due to the reduced blood flow.

What is the average penis size?

The average penis size is about 5 inches.

Porn can distort the idea of what’s a “normal” sized penis, but really 5 to 5.5 is normal. In fact, studies show it's what a lot of women prefer.

Penile satisfaction mens perception vs women

Takeaways

If you have risk factors and you are starting to notice weaker erections or legitimate penis shrinkage, call your doctor.

Work with your doctor to get your medications in order and sort out your diet and exercise routines. 

You may find that these changes can stop penis shrinkage before it becomes a permanent issue.

If you notice this happening to your penis, then speak with your doctor - you might find the solution is an easy fix you can implement at home.

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Dr. Laurence Levine

Dr. Laurence Levine

​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​

Sources:

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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