Can a Penis Get Smaller Permanently?

When you need to worry about shrinkage

Many men worry about penis size, particularly if their penis appears to become smaller over time. The reality is that flaccid penis size may have little or nothing to do with erect penis size and penis size has absolutely nothing to do with masculinity. Nevertheless, your penis may change length, usually for reasons you don't need to worry about.

Appearance of Penis Shrinking With Age

Multiple studies have confirmed there's no link between age and the actual length of a flaccid penis. However the "if you don't use it, you lose it" theory can be a reality. If you don't get frequent erections where your penis and its skin stretches you may lose some perceived length to the penis. The difference in length can be small.

Your penis may look smaller as you grow older—due to decreased blood flow and testosterone in the region—but it's just the appearance of shrinkage. Testosterone declines on the average 1% per year, 10% per decade after age 30.

Some men also gain weight in the belly area as they grow older and, as a result, their penis can appear smaller without it actually being smaller. This is because excess belly fat can flop down and extend out over the suprapubic fat pad (base of the penis), making it appear shorter.

Medical Causes of Penis Shrinkage

Certain health conditions can cause the penis to shrink. The most common of these conditions is prostate surgery, which can result in erectile dysfunction and losing up to 2 inches of flaccid length. In fact, any pelvic surgery can cause erectile function issues postoperatively.

Certain medications can also lead to shrinking of the penis, including:

  • Adderall, typically prescribed for attention deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Antidepressants and antihypertensives
  • Avodart (dutasteride), used to treat an enlarged prostate
  • Proscar (finasteride), used to treat both an enlarged prostate and hair loss

Research has also shown that long periods of impotence or celibacy can result in some loss of size to the genitals. This is something men are more likely to struggle with as they age, though there are many men who grapple with erectile dysfunction even at younger ages. 

Regaining or Retaining Penis Size

Fortunately, most partners don't care about size anyway and, in some cases, if the penis is especially large, it can cause discomfort for the other person.

So while the loss in length can be distressing, especially if you weren't expecting it, you should feel secure in the knowledge that penis size doesn't affect partner satisfaction or impair your own satisfaction.

That said, there are some tips if you're concerned about your penis size:

  • If you are overweight, lose weight. This will reduce the illusion that your penis is smaller.
  • If you are on medications, review them carefully to determine if any could be affecting the size of your penis. If so, ask your healthcare provider if there are any appropriate medication substitutions for you.
  • General physical exercise can actually help with penis size because it improves blood flow throughout the body. However, specific penis exercises may cause damage.
  • Drinking plenty of water can make a difference in penis size.
  • Avoid tight underwear and pants. When you constrict blood flow, you can actually reduce penis size.

There is some data to indicate that penile traction devices may help in addition to medical options for post-prostatectomy surgery erectile dysfunction and penile length. Talk to your healthcare provider before trying any device, because it might or might not be recommended as safe for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does your penis get smaller as you get older? 

It can. Penile shrinkage or the appearance of shrinkage can occur due to decreased testosterone and health conditions that are more common in men over age 40. 

What is a normal penis size? 

Penises come in all shapes and sizes. The average erect penis ranges from 5 inches to 7 inches.

Is there a way to make my penis smaller? 

Penis reduction surgery, known medically as reduction corporoplasty, is a rare surgery first performed in 2015. The surgery can reduce the girth and length of a penis that is too large for intercourse. 

Can erectile dysfunction cause penis shrinkage? 

Erectile dysfunction (ED) impacts the ability to form a strong erection. This can impact the length of an erection but does not impact penis size when flaccid.

Are penises shrinking due to pollution? 

According to environmental and reproductive epidemiologist Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., research shows that environmental chemicals and unhealthy lifestyle factors in the modern world can alter hormone functioning, which may lead to men having smaller penises today than earlier generations. Environmental pesticides for example are known to be endocrine disruptors that can lower testosterone in men.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Jerry Kennard
 Jerry Kennard, PhD, is a psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society.