Is My Penis Too Small?
Micropenis, Inconspicuous Penis Less Common Than Small Penis Syndrome
Small Penis Syndrome continued...
Another reason is pornography. Palmer tells the story of a teen patient who was in agony over his small penis size. But examination showed he was perfectly normal. It turned out that the boy had been viewing Internet pornography, from which he got a distorted picture of normal male anatomy.
And because penis size is such a major part of a man's body image, men suffering from body dysmorphic disorder often focus on the size of their penises.
Body dysmorphic disorder and other psychiatric issues that may underlie small penis syndrome may require professional psychological help. But Palmer and Gilbert say that most men need only reassurance that they really are normal.
"I give the patient a physical and get his personal history and social history," Gilbert says. "If he has no medical problem, I speak positively. I tell him that he has a normal phallus that is no different in function from any other healthy man. I give him confidence."
Palmer notes that the law of averages dictates that some men will have smaller penises than others. This does not make them abnormal.
"If a man has perfectly normal penis function, he must reconcile with the fact that his penis is what it is," he says. "You cannot make a short person tall. People have to accommodate to their own anatomy."
Can Surgery Make a Small Penis Larger?
It's hard for a man to open his email without encountering an offer of a drug, device, or surgical procedure that will give him a bigger penis.
Sure, that stuff is just spam. But are there legitimate ways to lengthen a penis?
"There isn't much to make the penis larger," Palmer says. "Surgically, there is not much to significantly increase penis size or girth that is not fraught with significant complications."
Procedures known as "augmentative phalloplasty" promise to make a penis wider in girth. And because these procedures add weight to the penis -- by grafting fat from another part of the body -- they make the penis a half-inch or so longer when flaccid.
"Getting a uniformly even expansion of girth is unpredictable and often does not lead to a good outcome," Palmer says. "You have to hope you do not get a lumpy penis. This is not an easy thing to do."