Shrinking Worries: Is Your Penis at Risk for Shortening?

It’s a subject that men might not openly discuss, but penis size does concern them. And while there are treatments available for those with a shortened penis, some men experience penis shortening as a side effect of other medical treatments. This article not only provides necessary information on penis length but also highlights treatments and conditions that may result in a shortened penis.

Considering the average penis length is 5 to 6 inches when erect and 3.5 inches when flaccid, it’s important to note that what one man considers short might be average for another. However, for some men, a shortened penis is the unfortunate result of treatments for prostate cancer or Peyronie’s disease (a curved or bent penis).

Prostate cancer treatment involving radical prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) or hormone therapy combined with radiation therapy can lead to a shortened penis as a side effect. A study conducted by Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center included 948 men who had been treated for prostate cancer and subsequently experienced a recurrence of the disease. Of these, 25 men (2.63 percent) complained of a shortened penis post-treatment and reported that it negatively impacted their quality of life and relationships, even causing some to regret their chosen cancer treatment. It’s worth noting that this issue was more common among men who underwent radical prostatectomy than those who received hormone therapy and radiation.

Research indicates that a man’s penis can shrink by an average of 0.5 inches when flaccid and 1 inch when stretched after treatment for prostate cancer or Peyronie’s disease. Another factor to consider is that surgical procedures to correct Peyronie’s disease can also result in a loss of penis length. Thus, surgery that involves shortening the side of the penis opposite the scar tissue is typically reserved for men who have a long penis or those who have little or no erectile dysfunction.

Men contemplating prostatectomy or hormone therapy and radiation therapy for prostate cancer, or surgery for Peyronie’s disease, should discuss the possibility of penis shortening with their doctors. This is a crucial aspect of treatment that many doctors overlook in their conversations with patients. Being informed about potential side effects and discussing them openly can help men make the best decisions for their overall health and well-being.

Additionally, studies have shown that lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy body weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and focusing on overall health and well-being, can have a positive impact on penis size. Obesity can result in the appearance of a shorter penis due to the accumulation of fat in the pubic area, so maintaining a healthy weight can help make a difference in perceived penis length.

In conclusion, while penis size is a concern for many men, it’s essential to be aware of possible side effects from various medical treatments. Being proactive and discussing treatment options and potential side effects with healthcare providers can help men make informed decisions on the best course of action for their specific circumstances. And, as always, focusing on overall health and wellness can have a positive impact on penis size and sexual function in general.