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Men's Health

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Is My Penis Too Small?

Micropenis, Inconspicuous Penis Less Common Than Small Penis Syndrome

How to Measure a Penis

Men may be surprised to learn that penis length isn't measured on the erect penis. Too many variables are involved.

Instead, the most reliable penis measurement is called SPL -- stretched penis length. The longer a man's SPL, the longer his erect penis length, according to studies done on brave young men who volunteered to have erection-stimulating penis injections.

To learn your SPL, measure the penis while it's flaccid. Press the ruler tight against the pubic bone at the base of the penis. Don't just measure from where the penis separates from the scrotum, or you'll lose precious centimeters. Now gently, but very firmly, stretch the penis as far as it will go. Measure from the pubic bone to the tip of the stretched penis.

Did you get five and a quarter inches? If so, you are exactly normal. Most adult men are within about a half inch of 5.24 inches, according to statistics Palmer has compiled. Nearly all studies of penis length come up with a similar measure.

If you're a little smaller than that, you've got lots of company. Just as many men are below average penis size as above it.

How big is big? According to Palmer's statistics, only 0.6% of men have an SPL of 6.8 inches or more. But too big isn't what men tend to worry about.

Micropenis: When a Penis Really Is Too Small

There is, of course, such a thing as a very small penis. The medical term "micropenis" applies to the 0.6% of men with the smallest penises. According to Palmer's statistics, an SPL of three and two-thirds inches or less indicates a micropenis.

Even then, U.S. doctors hesitate to recommend surgery for a man whose SPL is longer than three inches. That's because surgery is controversial and risky.

Micropenis isn't usually something a man discovers when he's an adult. It's usually caused by genetic or hormonal abnormalities that cause other, more serious health problems early in life.

That's because the penis starts to develop when a fetus is just 8 weeks old. By week 12, the penis has developed and begins to grow. During the second and third trimesters, male sex hormones cause the penis to grow to normal length. Factors that interfere with hormone production and hormone action stunt penis growth.

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