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Penis enlargement pills: Myth or truth?

“Doc, can you give me pills that can enlarge my penis? I think mine is rather small compared to others that I have seen in the changing room,” M spoke to me sheepishly during the premarital check. “I have seen advertisements on the internet on penis enlargement pills. Do they really work?” he asked.

M, 30, was getting married in a few months’ time. He was worried that he may not satisfy his bride. Clinical examination showed that his male genital system was normal and he had no problem in erection and ejaculation.

Men differ in their perception of the penis size.  Many studies have confirmed that penises, when rigid, have a fairly uniform size regardless of their ethnic origin. The average size of an erect penis is about 14-16 cm in length and 12-13 cm in circumference.

But like M, there are many who are anxious about the size of their manhood.  This has spawned a multi-million dollars industry in clinically unproven "male enhancement products". The sales figures are further boosted by internet depictions of large penises. One can be easily fooled by the images on the internet which portray unusually large penises as the norm. Many men often overestimate the average size of a penis and wrongly believe that theirs are below average.

Those who worry excessively about the size of their penises are generally having body image issues. They tend to focus their poor body image on their penis.

The pills or lotions that are sold in the internet are mostly ineffective, expensive and potentially harmful. These products usually contain vitamins, minerals, herbs or hormones Despite their impressive claims, there is absolutely no clinical evidence that these products work. According to a study in the US, some of these products

are found to have traces of lead, pesticides, E. coli bacteria and animal faeces.

 I referred M to a psychologist who counselled him on building up his self-esteem and correcting his distorted views about body image. With this approach, M had changed his perception of the size of his penis after a few sessions.

He is now a proud father of a son who is just a month’s old. He does not talk about the penis enlargement pills anymore. 

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