It’s common for a man’s penis to appear to shrink when he encounters cold water or cold temperatures, but he also can expect this apparent loss of penis length to be temporary and that his penis will return to normal once the cold factor is gone. But for some men, a loss of penis length has nothing to do with the cold.
As guys are well aware, penis size varies considerably among men, and much of the reason for differences in penis length is related to a man’s ethnic background. Penis length is a source of pride, and many men believe they have a small penis when in reality they fall into what is considered by experts to be a normal size.
According to the Department of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College, research indicates that 95 percent of white men are within the following ranges:
- Average length of a flaccid penis: 3.4 to 3.7 inches (8.6 to 9.3 cm)
- Average length of an erect penis: 5.1 to 5.7 inches (12.9 to 14.5 cm)
- Average girth of an erect penis: 3.5 to 3.9 inches (8.8 to 10.0 cm)
Men who are not satisfied with the length and/or girth of their penis may try different methods to make their penis bigger. One reason a man may not be happy with the size of his penis may be due to his having lost penile length, but why could this happen?
Reasons for Loss of Penis Length
Although there are several reasons why a man can experience a reduction in penis length, the main reason is radical prostatectomy. About 70 percent of men who undergo removal of their prostate can expect to experience some loss of penis length. The amount of length a man may lose after prostatectomy can vary, as studies show.
For example, in one study, 126 men who underwent prostatectomy had their penis length recorded both before and then three times after surgery. The men continued to lose some penis length for at least 12 months after the prostatectomy, with the average loss being 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) when the penis was flaccid and about 1 inches (2.3 cm) when the penis was stretched.
Another study reported similar results. Three months after having a prostatectomy, 22 of the 31 men (71%) in the study experienced a decrease in the length of their penis: seven men experienced a 0.5 cm reduction, 11 had a 1.0 to 2.0 cm loss, and four showed a loss of more than 2.0 cm. Five men had no change in penis length after surgery, while four men actually showed an increase in penis length by 0.5 to 1.0 cm.
Other reasons a man may lose some penis length include the following:
- Weight gain. A loss of penis length associated with weight gain may be purely a visual effect: because there is more fat in the pubic area, including abdominal fat that exerts weight and pressure on the scrotum, the penis may appear to be shorter even though it physically is not. However, being overweight or obese also increases the risk of poor blood flow to the penis and cause men to have difficulty achieving sufficient rigidity.
- Peyronies disease: Men who have Peyronies disease, which is an abnormal curvature of the penis, may experience a shortening of the penis for two reasons. One, the disease is characterized by scars or plaque in the penis, which can cause a loss of penis length. Two, surgery to help correct a curved penis also may result in a slight loss of length. Peyronies disease also may cause a loss of penis girth.
- Aging: Men may lose a slight amount of penis length as they age. This loss is associated with atrophy related to a decline in testosterone levels and reduced sexual activity and/or a reduction in the frequency of erections.
- Congenital Chordee: Also known as congenital penile curvature, this is a relatively uncommon condition in which there is a curve in the erect penis. Although this may sound like Peyronies disease, congenital chordee is not the same for two reasons: one, it is congenital (present at birth, although it may not become apparent until the teenage years or later); and two, it is caused by excessive elasticity in one area of the penis which causes the penis to bend. In Peyronies disease, scars or plaque are present in the penis, which causes the curvature. Surgery to correct congenital chordee also may cause some additional penis shortening.
- Genetics: In rare cases, men may be born with an abnormal response to testosterone or a chromosomal disorder that causes a shorter penis.
If you have undergone a prostatectomy and are concerned about a loss of penis length, talk to your healthcare provider about using a penis pump. A new penis enlargement technique called hyaluronic acid has provided promising results in trials.