Male Enhancement: Is It Worth a Try?
Nonpresciption methods of male enhancement and male enlargement range from the possibly effective to the downright dangerous.
Links Between Sexual and Overall Health continued...
Sometimes men with erection problems or a diminished libido have low levels
of testosterone, Boyle says. Testosterone deficiencies can also affect mood and
energy levels. Boyle tests for testosterone levels and prescribes it as a
topical gel, though she warns it is only safe when prescribed and monitored by
a physician. Nonprescription testosterone, such as the kind used by some
bodybuilders, is dangerous, she warns.
For men with performance issues who are physically healthy, Boyle often
prescribes counseling, such as marriage counseling for men with relationship
issues or psychiatric help for men who are preoccupied with a problem in penile
appearance. For young men with sexual performance problems and no signs of
physical problems, Boyle may prescribe counseling and a low dose of Viagra as
they work out issues of insecurity. "They need reassurance from a physician
that everything is OK," she says.
The Quest for a Bigger Penis
The FastSize Extender device promises results, but it's far from quick and
easy. Just ask Bob, a retail manager from New Jersey. He says he's gained
over 2 inches of erect length. All it took was 25 months and over 2,600 hours
wearing the device, typically five hours a day, seven days a week. "I was
afraid my girlfriend would think I was a freak, but she was supportive because
she felt a difference in her satisfaction and I felt more confident in myself,"
Bob tells WebMD.
Richard, the mechanic from New York, got results faster than Bob, but still
wore the device under his clothes for about eight hours a day. Richard's wife
has also been supportive. "I see a more confident man in front of me from using
this product," she says. She also says the lengthening has enhanced their sex
life, though she had no complaints before.
Chicago urologist Laurence A. Levine, MD, director of the male fertility
program at Rush University Medical Center, tested the FastSize Extender on 10
men afflicted with Peyronie's disease, which can cause bending and shrinkage of
the penis. At the end of the six-month study, which was funded by the maker of
the FastSize Extender, Levine found increased penile length and reduced
curvature in every man and increased girth in seven of the men. Calling the
results "remarkable," Levine now prescribes the device to many of his
Peyronie's patients and reports no significant complications. (Levine has also
worked as a paid consultant to FastSize Extender.)
Could FastSize work on men of normal penile length? Levine says it might.
"If a woman can have a breast enlargement and it makes them psychologically
feel better," he reasons, "then perhaps we should have the same thing for
Penis-lengthening surgery is also an option for men, but it is a highly
controversial procedure. The American Urological Association says a common form
of lengthening surgery (involving cutting the suspensory ligament of the penis)
has not been shown to be safe or effective. The group also refuses to
endorse surgeries that inject fat cells in the penis with the goal of
increasing penile girth.
Many doctors question whether the benefits of lengthening surgery outweigh
the risks. A
2006 study found that only 35% of men were satisfied with the outcome of
surgery, which added only half an inch, on average, to length. Men who are
overly preoccupied with penis length tend to have unrealistic expectations of
surgery and should seek counseling instead, the authors wrote.