small penis syndrome
- a big problem?
Does size matter? It does to
men, according to this month's BJU International, which
contains a review of over sixty years worth of research into penile
size and small penis syndrome. The researchers, Dr Kevan Wylie from
Royal Hallamshire Hospital, UK, and Mr Ian Eardley from St James'
Hospital, UK, found that men can experience real anxiety - even if
they are of average size. And while men often have greater confidence
if they have a large penis, women don't necessarily feel that bigger
is better, citing looks and personality as more important than penis
Drawing together the results
of 12 studies that measured the penises of more than 11,000 men, the
researchers established that average erect penises ranged from
14-16cms (5.5 to 6.2 inches) in length and 12-13cm (4.7 to 5.1 inches)
in girth. They noted that there was little evidence of racial
differences influencing size, although one Korean study recorded
smaller than average-sized penises. The researchers, however,
questioned the accuracy of this study and suggested further
investigation was required.
Dr Wylie says the review will
provide doctors and other health professionals with an accurate
summary of the many studies that have been carried out in the past
into penile size and size-related syndrome. "It is very common
for men to worry about the size of their penis and it is important
that these concerns aren't dismissed as this can heighten concerns and
anxieties," he explained. "It is helpful to normalize the
situation and provide as much accurate information as possible, as
many men either lack any information or have been misinformed."
of the review included:
- A survey taking in 50,000
heterosexual men and women found that while 85 percent of the
women were satisfied with their partner's penile size, only 55
percent of the men were satisfied.
- Factors that make a male
attractive to a woman were numerous, but penile size was not the
most important factor for women. Several studies indicated that
around 90 percent of women prefer a wide penis to a long one.
counter-intuitively, small penis syndrome is much more common in
men with average-sized penises than those men suffering from
- Men afflicted by small
penis syndrome typically cite childhood comparisons and erotic
imagery as the main contributing factors to their anxiety.
- Interestingly, on average,
homosexual men had larger penises than heterosexual men. The
researchers suggest that exposure to male reproductive hormones in
the womb may be one explanation for this disparity.
Techniques used by men to
enhance the size of their penis were also covered in the review. The
Topinama men of Brazil practice what is perhaps the most bizarre
method, encouraging poisonous snakes to bite their penises to enlarge
The researchers said that
evidence for the effectiveness of more popular (but mundane)
enlargement methods - such as jelqing exercises and traction devices -
was limited, but they noted that patients may experience psychological
benefits from their use.
They authors are, however,
very cautious when it comes to treating a psychological condition like
small penis syndrome with gadgets or surgery. "There is poorly
documented evidence to support the use of penile extenders, and while
information is starting to emerge on the success of some surgical
techniques, this is not backed up by data on patients' satisfaction
with such procedures," stressed Dr Wylie.
In summary, the researchers
said that small penis syndrome should be approached via a thorough
urological, psychosexual, psychological and psychiatric assessment.
"Conservative approaches to therapy, based on education and
self-awareness, as well as short-term structured psychotherapies, are
often successful," they concluded.