Worrying about the size of your penis is common. In a survey of about 4,000 men published in 2017, only 58% said they were satisfied with the length of their erect penis.
Unfortunately, feeling self-conscious about how your penis looks can have a lasting impact on your sex life, emotional health, and sense of well-being.
No wonder some men seek out male enhancement pills and lotions. Also called penis enlargement pills, these products claim to extend the length of the penis, increase girth, boost testosterone, and improve blood flow for longer-lasting erections.
But if you are thinking of experimenting with these kinds of “sex pills” or supplements, you may want to reconsider it.
Any drug that claims to increase penis size is ineffective at best and, at worst, can harm your health. In this article, I’ll explain what penis enlargement pills are, the risks associated with taking them, alternative options for penis enlargement, and other treatments for erectile dysfunction so you can have a satisfying sex life.
What Are Penis Enlargement Pills (Also Known as “Male Enhancement Pills”)
Male enhancement pills or penis enlargement pills are unregulated dietary supplements that claim to improve men’s sexual health, specifically by increasing the size and girth of their penis.
You can often find these sham treatments in gas stations, disreputable shops, and online. They usually have memorable names and packaging but keep their ingredient list vague or partially obscured.
That’s for a good reason—male enhancement products, like many other penile augmentation treatments, are not scientifically proven to be effective or safe.
Do Penis Enlargement Pills Really Work?
The short answer? No. Most healthcare experts consider penis enlargement pills to be ineffective and, at worst, quite risky.
Most pills are a mixture of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and hormones. This can include impure ingredients and substances harmful to men’s health.
Although sildenafil and tadalafil are safe to use under medical supervision, they can cause dangerous side effects if you take them without a prescription.
Side Effects & Risks
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any penile enlargement pills or products for patients concerned with the appearance of their penis. In fact, the FDA considers many of these treatments deceptive, tainted, and dangerous to use.
Because male enhancement pills are herbal supplements, the FDA doesn’t regulate the market. Therefore, both the ingredients and the possible side effects can be wide-ranging and difficult to determine.
You may be particularly susceptible to serious side effects if you have issues with your heart health. Many male enhancement pills have trace amounts of the same active ingredients found in erectile dysfunction medications that can cause vision, hearing, and heart problems for people with cardiovascular conditions or who take nitrate medications.
Alternative Options for Penis Enlargement
Men concerned with their penis size don’t seek out only male enhancement medications; they may also use lotions, oils, and other topical treatments; vacuum pumps (also called penis pumps); or seek penis enlargement surgery to treat their dissatisfaction.
Unfortunately, most of these “sexual medicines” are ineffective or harmful, and no FDA-approved medical remedies exist to enlarge your penis.
However, you can take action to address any self-consciousness you may have about your penis size without taking a pill or undergoing any surgical procedure. Consider the below:
- Trim your pubic hair: Some men find that when they trim or shave their pubic hair, their perception about their penis size changes, and they realize they have a bigger penis than they thought.
- Talk to your partner: When researchers asked heterosexual couples about penis size preferences, women were resoundingly satisfied with what their partner is packing. Communicating with your partner might reassure you that you have nothing to fear.
- Lose weight: A large belly can sometimes obscure a penis, making it appear smaller than it is. Besides, men who are fitter often enjoy higher sex drives and more satisfactory sex lives in general.
- Seek counseling: If you find that you are excessively concerned with the size of your penis, you may have penile dysmorphic disorder (also called small penis syndrome). Seeking therapy to address your anxiety’s root cause may help you reconsider your body and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Other Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options
If you seek penis enlargement pills to help sustain a more erect penis because you’re having trouble getting or staying hard, you may have erectile dysfunction (ED).
Erectile dysfunction is a widespread condition, affecting nearly 30 million American men and many more worldwide. It becomes more prevalent among men as they get older and often affects men who have heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or sexual performance anxiety.
The good news is that if you have ED, scientifically proven, FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs can help you achieve and maintain a firmer, longer-lasting erection.
They treat erectile dysfunction by blocking the enzyme that obstructs a flaccid penis from becoming completely engorged with blood. These medications are prescription-only because you increase your risk of dangerous side effects if you do not take them under medical supervision.
When to See a Doctor
If you are excessively anxious about your penis size to the point that you feel that it affects your self-confidence, sex drive, or other aspects of your sexual health, talk to your doctor.
They can recommend a plan to help you address and manage your feelings about your body and sexual performance.
If you experience significant trouble achieving or maintaining an erection, to the point that you are chronically sexually dissatisfied, it may be time to ask your doctor whether you have erectile dysfunction.
Once they evaluate your condition, they can recommend treatment options, including prescription drugs that will help you perform more satisfactorily.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Characterization of Genital Dissatisfaction in a National Sample of U.S. Men. (2007).
Does Size Matter? Men's and Women's Views on Penis Size Across the Lifespan. (2006).
Erectile Dysfunction/Sexual Enhancement. (2019).
Penis Size and the ‘Small Penis Syndrome’. (2007).
(Perceived) Size Really Does Matter: Male Dissatisfaction With Penis Size. (2014).
Safety and Quality Concerns Regarding Over-the-Counter Sexual Enhancement Products Sold in the USA Market Pose a Major Health Risk. (2016).
Tainted Sexual Enhancement Products. (2021).