Posts Tagged ‘penile fracture’

5 Reasons Your Penis May Be Shrinking

July 7, 2018

Andrew Siegel MD   7/7/18

Today’s entry is not about the moment-to-moment changes in penis size based upon ambient temperature and level of arousal, but to permanent alterations in penile length and girth that can occur for a variety of physical reasons. The preservation of penile dimensions is contingent upon having healthy, well-oxygenated, supple and elastic penile tissues that are used on a regular basis for the purposes nature intended.

 sculpture emasculated Reykjavik

Above photo I recently shot in Reykjavik, Iceland

Penis size is a curiosity and fascination to men and women alike. An ample endowment is often associated with virility, vigor, and sexual prowess.   There is good reason that the words “cocky” and “cocksure” mean possessing confidence.

What’s normal?

With all biological parameters, there is a bell curve with a wide range of variance, with most clustered in the middle and outliers at either end. The penis is no exception, with some men phallically endowed, some phallically challenged, but most somewhere in the middle. Alfred Kinsey studied 3500 penises and found that the average flaccid length was 8.8 centimeters (3.5 inches), the average erect length ranged between 12.9 -15 centimeters (5-6 inches) and the average circumference of the erect penis was 12.3 centimeters (4.75 inches).

Who cares?

Interestingly, 85% or so of women are perfectly satisfied with their partner’s penile size, while only 55% of men are satisfied with their own penis size.

5 Reasons for a Shrunken Penis

  1. Weight gain: Big pannus/small penis

The ravages of poor lifestyle habits wreak havoc on penile anatomy and function.  The big pannus (“apron” of abdominal fat) that accompanies weight gain and especially obesity cause a shorter appearing penis.  In actuality, most of the time penile length is intact, with the penis merely buried in the fat pad.  It is estimated that for every 35 lbs of weight gain, there is a one-inch loss in apparent penile length.

The shorter appearing and more internal penis can be difficult to find, which causes less precision of the urinary stream that sprays and dribbles, often requiring the need to sit to urinate. Additionally, the weight gain and poor lifestyle give rise to difficulty achieving and maintaining erections.  This shorter and less functional penis and the need to sit to urinate is downright emasculating.

Solution: Lose the fat and presto…the penis reappears and urinary and sexual function improve.

  1. Disuse atrophy: Use it or lose it

Like any other organ in the body, the penis needs to be used on a regular basis, as nature intended.  If one goes too long without an erection, collagen, smooth muscle, elastin and other erectile tissues may become compromised, resulting in a loss of penile length and girth and limiting one’s ability to achieve an erection. In a vicious cycle, loss of sexual function can lead to further progression of the problem as poor genital blood flow causes low oxygen levels in the genital tissues, that, in turn, can induce scarring, which further compounds the problem.

Solution: Exercise your penis by being sexual active on a regular basis, just as you maintain your general fitness by going to the gym or participating in sports.

  1. Peyronie’s disease: Scar in a bad place

Peyronie’s disease is scarring of the covering sheaths of the erectile chambers. It is thought to be due to the cumulative effects of chronic penile micro-trauma.  The scar tissue is hard and inelastic and prevents proper expansion of the erectile chambers, resulting in penile shortening, deformity, angulation and pain. In the early acute phase—that can evolve and change over time—most men notice a painful lump or hardness in the penis when they have an erection as well as a bent or angulated erect penis. In its more mature chronic phase, the pain disappears, but the hardness and angulation persist, often accompanied by penile shortening and narrowing where the scar tissue is that gives the appearance of a “waistband.”  Many men as a result of Peyronies will have difficulty obtaining and maintaining an erection.

Peyronies can also occur as a consequence of a penile fracture, an acute traumatic injury of the covering sheath of the erectile chamber.  This most commonly happens from a pelvic thrusting miss-stroke during sexual intercourse when the erect penis strikes the female perineum or pubis and ruptures.  This is an emergency that requires surgical repair to prevent the potential for Peyronie’s disease.

Solution: If you notice a painful lump, a bend, shortening and deformity, see a urologist for management as the Peyronies is treatable once the acute phase is over and the scarring stabilizes.  If you experience a penile fracture after a miss-stroke—marked by an audible pop, acute pain, swelling and bruising—head to the emergency room ASAP.

  1. Pelvic surgery

After surgical removal of the prostate, bladder or colon for management of cancer, it is not uncommon to experience a decrease in penile length and girth.  This occurs due to damage to the nerves and blood vessels to the penis that run in the gutter between the prostate gland and the colon. The nerve and blood vessel damage can cause erectile dysfunction, which leads to disuse atrophy, scarring and penile shrinkage.

In particular, radical prostatectomy—the surgical removal of the entire prostate gland as a treatment for prostate cancer—can cause penile shortening. The shortening is likely based on several factors. The gap in the urethra (because of the removed prostate) is bridged by sewing the bladder neck to the urethral stump, with a consequent loss of length from a telescoping phenomenon.  Traumatized and impaired nerves and blood vessels vital for erections give rise to erectile dysfunction. The lack of regular erections results in less oxygen delivery to penile smooth muscle and elastic fibers with subsequent scarring and shortening, a situation discussed above (disuse atrophy).

Solution: Resuming sexual activity as soon as possible after radical pelvic surgery will help “rehabilitate” the penis and prevent disuse atrophy. There are a number of effective penile rehabilitation strategies to get “back in the saddle” to help prevent disuse atrophy.

  1. Anti-testosterone treatment

“Androgen deprivation therapy” is a common means of suppressing the male hormone testosterone, used as a form of treatment for prostate cancer. Because testosterone is an important hormone for maintaining the health and the integrity of the penis, the low testosterone levels resulting from such therapy can result in penile atrophy and shrinkage.

Solution: This is a tough one.  Because of the resulting low testosterone levels, most men have a diminished sex drive and simply lose interest in sex and “use it or lose it” becomes challenging. Furthermore, many men on this therapy have already had a radical prostatectomy and or pelvic radiation therapy, so often have compromised erections even before using androgen deprivation therapy. Anecdotally, I have had a few patients who have managed to pursue an active sex life and maintain penile stature with the use of Viagra or other medications in its class. 

Wishing you the best of health!

2014-04-23 20:16:29

A new blog is posted weekly. To receive a free subscription with delivery to your email inbox visit the following link and click on “email subscription”:

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community.

Dr. Siegel has authored the following books that are available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo:

 MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health 

PROMISCUOUS EATING: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food


These books are written for educated and discerning men and women who care about health, well-being, fitness and nutrition and enjoy feeling confident and strong.

Dr. Siegel is co-creator of the male pelvic floor exercise instructional DVD (female version is in the works): PelvicRx




Concussions: Big Head/Little Head

March 19, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 3/19/16

Earlier this week, Jeff Miller (N.F.L. senior VP for health and safety policy) officially acknowledged the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease found in many former players.  In this entry, the important topic of chronic traumatic brain injuries is reviewed with a segue into chronic traumatic penis injuries.

Who Knew? The athletic “cup” provides protection to the male genitals for those participating in sports including baseball, hockey, soccer and boxing. The cup was devised years before the first protective helmet for heads was developed. This gives you some insight into men’s priorities!

Traumatic brain injuries

Concussions resulting from contact sports and their sequelae of traumatic brain injuries have emerged as a hot topic. Football, boxing, soccer, hockey, rugby, lacrosse, mixed martial arts, etc., clearly incur risks for head trauma. Years ago, it was the expectation of athletes “to grin and bear it” after violently striking their heads in pursuit of victory. (I remember well when my son played football as a youngster in the competitive state of Pennsylvania, where an ambulance waited on the sidelines ready to transport unconscious 8 to 10 year-old boys to the ER. That ambulance did not sit idle for long.)

Today, sports-induced concussions have been brought to the forefront with all of the hubbub about athletes collapsing after hitting their heads and news about former NFL players suing over brain injuries. The movie “Concussion” ushered this subject to the big screen. Fortunately, positive changes are being made, with “concussion medicine” becoming a specialty discipline and concussion protocols put into force for many organized sports at the high school and college levels.

The human brain weighs about 3 pounds, is gelatinous in consistency and contains about 100 billion neurons. Nature has given us a remarkably thick skull to protect the delicate structure within. The brain literally “floats” in fluid within the skull. When the skull accelerates or decelerates rapidly—as occurs in a direct strike—the skull movement is abruptly arrested, but the brain continues in motion, twisting and bouncing within the skull, which can result in brain micro-trauma.

538px-Concussion_mechanics.svg (Modified version of Image: Skull and brain normal human.svg by Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License 2006)

A concussion is currently defined as a motion injury of the brain. When I was in medical school, a concussion was defined as a transient loss in consciousness, but the truth of the matter is that less than 10% of concussions involve loss of consciousness. 90% of concussions manifest with symptoms including headaches, light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, incoordination, disorientation, and abnormally slow reflexes and thinking.

It is unusual for a single concussion to result in long-term issues, as concussions are recoverable injuries if identified and treated properly. However, multiple concussions repeated over a course of many years– commonplace occurrences among athletes participating in contact sports– leave participants susceptible to chronic traumatic brain injuries including chronic traumatic encephalopathyAlzheimer’sParkinson’s disease and other forms of dementias.

How does this relate to the penis?

Sexual intercourse–which by definition is the forceful collision of two bodies– is no less of a contact sport than any of the aforementioned athletic endeavors. In parallel with traumatic brain injuries (big head), the penis (little head) is another anatomical zone that can get banged up over time. By the time a man is in his 50’s, he has likely had sex thousands of times, and as pleasurable as sex is, in reality it can be quite a traumatic event. Between self-inflicted and partnered pounding, hammering, pummeling and other abuse through self-manipulation and penetrative intercourse, respectively, it’s a wonder that the appendage doesn’t fall off!

Acute trauma is rare, but on occasion superficial veins can rupture, resulting in penile bruising and swelling that gets patients into my office in a real hurry. Rarer and more dramatic is the fractured penis that occurs when he “zigs” and she “zags,” resulting in a forceable miss-stroke and a serious injury that requires emergency surgery (previously covered in another blog:


(The image to the side is a photo I snapped of a statue of a man with a broken penis in Alcazar Palace in Seville, Spain.)

As opposed to acute trauma, chronic trauma to the penis is a not uncommon occurrence that is most often asymptomatic for many years. Just the act of obtaining a rigid erection puts tremendous compression stress forces on the penis. The outer sheath enveloping the erectile chambers of the penis—the tunica albuginea (white tunic)—is second only to the lining of the brain—the dura mater—in terms of its being the toughest tissue in the body. It is subjected to tremendous forces when the penis is erect because of the hypertensive blood pressures within the erectile chambers, well in excess of 200 millimeters mercury at full rigidity.

The potential for micro-trauma to the white tunic increases exponentially when one inserts that erect penis into a vagina and two parties move, bump and grind, creating intense shearing stress forces on the penis.  Certain positions angulate the penis and create more potential liability for injury than others. Even gentle sex can be rough with a single act of intercourse resulting in hundreds of thrusts with significant rotational, axial and torqueing strains and stresses placed upon the erect penis with the potential for subtle buckling injuries. Repeat performance perhaps a few times a week for many decades and by the time a man is in his 50s, on a cumulative basis, traumatic penile injuries—often asymptomatic in their developmental stages—can cause scarring to the white tunic and “chronic traumatic penopathy.”

Scarring to the white tunic can be problematic, resulting in deformities of the penis during erections, including the presence of a hard lump, shortening, curvature, narrowing, a visual indentation of the penis described as an hour-glass deformity and pain with erections as well as less rigid erections.  Penile pain, curvature, and poor expansion of the erectile chambers contribute to difficulty in having a functional and anatomically correct rigid erection suitable for intercourse.  This is known as Peyronie’s Disease, which fortunately only occurs in about 5% of men and is a treatable condition.  This topic has previously been covered:

Bottom Line: The following relationship analogy sums it up: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is to athletes who participate in contact sports is to concussions as is chronic traumatic penopathy is to sexually active males is to buckling trauma during intercourse.  Experts in the field of  “concussion medicine” want to spread the following advice: “Protect your brain – you only get one of them.” To this I add: “Protect your penis—you only get one of them. No matter what your game, be careful and proceed with caution!

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: or Amazon.  

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at, an online store that is home to quality urology products for men and women.  Use code UROLOGY10 at check out for 10% discount. 







Breaking Bad: What You Need To Know About Penile Fracture

January 24, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD   1/24/15

The French term for a broken penis is faux pas du coit. Everything sounds more elegant in French, oiu? Call it what you want, this is one mishap you want to avoid!


(I took the above photo at Alcazar Palace in Seville, Spain)

What Is It?

Penile fracture is a rare urological emergency that requires prompt surgical repair. It is a dramatic occurrence that most often happens during sexual intercourse in which the tough sheath surrounding the erection chambers of the penis ruptures under the force of a strong blow to the erect penis. It is similar to the tire of a car being driven forcibly into a curb, resulting in a gash in the tread and an immediate flat tire. Even though there is no bone in the human penis, the term fracture is appropriate because the outer sheath cracks, resulting in a broken erection chamber of the penis.

How Does It Happen?

A flaccid penis is rarely traumatized. However, when a penis is erect, there is major tension on the sheath surrounding the erectile chambers. A penile fracture occurs when this outer tunic—already under internal stretch and tension by virtue of the expansion of the erection chambers—is further subjected to external blunt trauma. This usually occurs with vigorous sexual intercourse, most often when the penis slips out of the vagina and strikes the perineum (area between the vagina and anus) or the pubic bone, resulting in a buckling injury.

In other words, she “zigs” and he “zags,” and a forcible miss-stroke occurs, which ruptures the outer sheath housing the erection chambers. Fracture can also with rough masturbation, rolling over or falling onto the erect penis, and walking into a wall in a poorly lit room.

In Iran the practice of Taqaandan (Kurdish “to click”) is a cause of penile fractures. This is the practice of creating an audible click by bending the erect penis, comparable to cracking one’s knuckles, but not as harmless.

How Do You Know If You Have Fractured Your Penis?

It is a dramatic event…A popping sound occurs as the outer sheath ruptures, followed by excruciating pain, rapid loss of the erection, and purplish discoloration and extreme swelling of the penis, as the blood within the erection chambers escapes through the rupture site into the soft tissues of the penis.

MRI is useful to show the site, extent and anatomy of the fracture. Prompt repair in the operating room is important to maintain erectile function and minimize scarring of the erection chambers that could result in angulated erections. An injury to the urethra that accompanies the tear in the erectile sheath occurs in a small percentage of men. Even with immediate surgical repair, up to 20% of men will experience a penile curvature with erections and more than 30% will experience ED.

Bottom Line: Penile fracture most commonly occurs from a miss-stroke during sexual intercourse. Prompt attention with surgical repair is very important to help prevent sexual issues.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29


A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback:

Private Gym: -available on Amazon as well as Private Gym website

The Private Gym is a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that provides the resources to properly strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are vital to sexual and urinary health. The program builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized exercises for women to increase pelvic strength and tone. This FDA registered program is effective, safe and easy-to-use: The “Basic Training” program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises and the “Complete Program” provides maximum opportunity for gains through its patented resistance equipment.

Fracture Of The Penis

December 15, 2012

Andrew Siegel, M.D.   Blog #86

The images below were taken on my recent trip to Seville, Spain at Alcazar Palace.  The statue of the young man with the broken penis gave me the idea to do a posting on the subject of penile fracture.

DSC01444 DSC01447

The penis is an organ with an impressive ability to multi-task, having urinary, sexual and reproductive functions.   As a urinary organ, it allows directed urination that allows men to stand to urinate and have a directed urinary flow, a very handy benefit, especially useful with respect to certain public restrooms. As a sexual and reproductive organ, the erect penis permits vaginal penetration and sexual intercourse and functions as a conduit for the placement of semen into the vagina, and hence DNA transfer and perpetuation of the species.  No other organ in the body demonstrates such a great versatility in terms of the physical changes between its “inactive” versus “active” states.

Penile rigidity is on the basis of blood flow. The human penis has no bone, unlike the penis of many other mammals.  The function of the “bony” or os penis in those mammals that have it is to facilitate sexual intercourse by maintaining penile rigidity.  The female equivalent is the os clitoris, a bone in the clitoris that maintains rigidity, also not found in humans.  The human penis obtains its bone-like rigidity (hence the slang term boner) by virtue of blood filling and inflating the spongy tissue within the two erectile cylinders of the penis (corpora cavernosa), similar to air inflating the tire of a car.  Clitoral rigidity occurs in identical fashion, although on a much smaller scale.

Erections are necessary to make the penis rigid enough to achieve vaginal penetration.  The price paid for penile rigidity is the small chance of an injury occurring when erect—as opposed to being flaccid, which is state that is protective against blunt injuries. A penile fracture is a rare but dramatic occurrence in which the outer sheath surrounding the erectile cylinders of the penis ruptures under the force of a strong blow to the erect penis.  It is not unlike the tire of a car being driven forcibly into a curb, resulting in a gash in the tread. Even though there is no bone in the human penis, the term fracture is an appropriate term for the injury, because the outer sheath literally ruptures, resulting in a break of the integrity of the erectile cylinders. A fracture of the penis is a medical emergency, and prompt surgical repair is necessary to obtain satisfactory cosmetic and functional results.


Blunt traumatic injuries rarely occur to the non-erect penis by virtue of its mobility and flaccidity.  Blunt trauma to the penis is usually of concern only when the penis is in an erect state. When the penis is rigid, there is peak tension and stretch on the outer sheath. A penile fracture occurs when this outer tunic—already under internal stretch and tension by virtue of the expansion of the erectile cylinders—is further subjected to external blunt trauma. This usually occurs under the situation of vigorous sexual intercourse, most often when the penis slips out of the vagina and strikes the perineum (area between the vagina and anus, known in slang terms as the taint), sustaining a buckling injury.

In other words, she “zigs” and he “zags,” and a forcible miss-stroke occurs of sufficient magnitude as to rupture the outer sheath housing the erectile cylinders.  Fracture can also occur under the circumstance of rolling over or falling onto the erect penis as well as any other situation that could inflict damage to the erect penis, such as walking into a wall in a poorly illuminated room or very forcible masturbation.

A penile fracture typically causes a rather classic and dramatic clinical scenario. An audible popping sound occurs as the outer sheath ruptures, followed by acute pain, rapid loss of erection, and purplish discoloration and extreme swelling of the penis, as the blood within the erectile cylinders escapes through the rupture site, similar to a blow-out of a car tire.


MRI can be used to demonstrate the precise site, extent and anatomy of the fracture.  Penile fractures need to be promptly addressed in the operating room, as surgical repair of the injury is important in order to maintain erectile function and minimize scarring of the erectile cylinders that could result in penile bending and angulation. Essentially, the skin of the penis is temporarily de-gloved (peeled back like a banana skin) and the fracture is identified and repaired with sutures, after which the skin is reattached.

If allowed to heal on its own without surgical intervention, scarring will occur at the site of the fracture and many patients will develop a penile curvature with erections.  As a result of the scar tissue, when an erection occurs, there is asymmetrical expansion of the erectile cylinders, resulting in a penile bend or deviation that can be to the extent as to preclude or require extreme acrobatics to have sexual intercourse.

The long and the short of it is that penile fracture is a rare but serious occurrence; this emergency situation demands an expedient trip to the operating room to maintain satisfactory erectile function.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food:

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