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, of course, penis size has absolutely nothing to do with masculinity. Nevertheless, it's true that your penis may change length, usually for completely benign reasons.

Appearance of Penis Shrinking With Age

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. Multiple studies have confirmed there's no link between age and the length of a flaccid penis.

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 base of the penis, making it appear shorter.

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. 

Medical Causes of Penis Shrinkage

Outside of normal passage-of-time effects, there are certain health conditions that can result in shrinkage. Perhaps the most common of these conditions is prostate surgery, which can result in losing up to 2 inches of flaccid length.

Certain medications can also lead to a shrinking 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

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 there are so many ways to ensure a fulfilling sex life, and penis length doesn't even rank on that list.

That said, however, there are some basic tips for regaining or retaining penis size:

  • If you are overweight, lose weight. This will reduce the appearance of a shrinking penis.
  • If you are on medications, review them carefully to determine if any are on the list above. If so, ask your doctor about appropriate substitutions.
  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does your penis get smaller as you get older? 

It can. Penile shrinkage can occur due to decreased testosterone and health conditions that are more common in men over age 40. However, the reduction in size typically only affects erections and not flaccid penis size. 

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. 

Was this page helpful?
Article 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.
  1. Veale D, Miles S, Bramley S, Muir G, Hodsoll J. Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15,521 men. BJU Int. 2015;115(6):978-86. doi:10.1111/bju.13010

  2. Veale D, Miles S, Read J, Troglia A, Wylie, K, Muir G. Sexual Functioning in Small Penis Anxiety. Sexual Medicine. 2015;3:147-155. doi:10.1002/sm2.63

  3. Berookhim BM, Nelson CJ, Kunzel B, Mulhall JP, Narus JB. Prospective analysis of penile length changes after radical prostatectomy. BJU Int. 2014;113(5b):E131-6. doi:10.1111/bju.12443

  4. Scranton RE, Goldstein I, Stecher VJ. Erectile dysfunction diagnosis and treatment as a means to improve medication adherence and optimize comorbidity management. J Sex Med. 2013;10(2):551-61. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02998.x

  5. American Academy of Family Physicians: Erectile dysfunction (ED). Updated April 24, 2020.

  6. NHS. Penis size. Updated April 6, 2018.

  7. Martinez DR, Manimala NJ, Rafiei A, Hakky TS, Yang C, Carrion R. The reduction corporoplasty: The answer to the improbable urologic question "Can you make my penis smaller?" J Sex Med. 2015;12(3):835–9. doi:10.1111/jsm.12767

  8. Swann SH, Colino S. Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race. Simon and Schuster; 2021.