Monday, 4 May 2015

What Is a Micropenis and Do You Have One?

Micropenis is a medical term that is used to describe an exceptionally small penis. In a perfect world, a man with a very small penis would not be considered to have a medical condition, unless the penis was causing pain, not functioning properly or had other problems.

However, since health at birth is associated with a variety of norms, infant males born with a very small penis are labeled as in need of medical attention. Men born with micropenises that receive no treatment, or receive treatment that is unsuccessful, usually go through puberty and consequently adulthood and still have a micropenis.

How Small Is a Micropenis?
The "official" definition of a micropenis is a penis that when erect is "more than 2.5 standard deviations" below the average length for the age of the individual. This statistical mumbo-jumbo essentially means that any adult with an erect penis of 7-9 cm (2.7-3.5 inches) or less has a micropenis, depending on the average penis size in the population he belongs. 

Generally, the micropenis term is used to describe a really short but otherwise normally formed penis. If the penis features other morphological anomalies - like hypospadias or epispadias - doctors prefer to use the term microphallus.

9 cm long micropenis
Man with borderline micropenis - almost 9 cm erect

Do I have one?
The majority of men think that they have a small penis or even a micropenis. However, most of said men do not fit the clinical diagnosis as they simply have an averagely sized penis.  If you are concerned that you may have a small penis the easiest thing you can do is visit a doctor to have it measured or measure it by yourself.

Please note that there is only one correct method to measure your penis. All you have to do is get a strong erection and place a ruler next to your penis as shown in the image down below. Make sure to press the fat pad towards the pubic bone (especially if you are obese) to include the "buried" part as well. 

the proper method to measure your penis
Think you have a micropenis?
Measure your penis!

If you found your penis to be longer than 9 cm then you don't have a micropenis. If it is 9-11 cm it is small but within the normal range whereas anything larger than 12.5 cm is medically considered as perfectly fine..

Is there a treatment for men with a micropenis?
If you measured your penis and found it to be larger than 11-12 cm then there is no medical necessity to enlarge it. However,  in a society where many men measure their worth by the size of everything, from the car to the income to the penis, it's not surprising that you would like to enlarge it. If that is the case, you have two options. The first is to use a penis extender, in which case you can expect to gain 2-3 cm after about 6  months of constant use. The other one is to have surgery, in which case you can expect to gain 1-2 cm "instantly". For optimal results, you can combine both methods. Please use the menu options in the top of the site to learn more about the available penis enlargement options.

Now if you have a true micropenis (less than 9 cm erect) things get tricky. Unfortunately, the condition is best treated in the prebupertal stages with hormonal (testosterone) injections. There are some however surgical options that can greatly enlarge a man's micropenis to normal or acceptable levels. These surgical options are essentially techniques very similar in fashion to the ones used in female-to-male transgenders and involve the reconstruction of an entirely new penis. I suggest you to visit the first link in the "Further Reading" at the end of the article to have a better idea of what I am talking. Please note that the cost for having this kind of surgery is exceptionally high, sometimes more than 100.000 $ and so are the dangers!

Clinical data also suggest that Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) treatment may induce significant penile growth in males with idiopathic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (IHH) presenting with micropenis. For more info on this please visit the second link down below.

If you are an adult with a micropenis maybe the best thing you have to do is to simply accept your body as is. Regardless of your choice, I suggest you to visit multiple specialists for the best possible outcome.

Man with a 7 cm long penis
7.5 cm long erect micropenis

Why do some men have micropenises?
It is believed that micropenises are the result of hormonal problems during fetal development. In most cases, the causes are chromosomal and hormonal in nature and result from some problem in either the production or body’s response to androgens, mainly testosterone.

Research on fetal development indicates that there are two stages of penile development during pregnancy. The first happens early in the first three months, when androgens trigger the development of the penis and scrotum from the undifferentiated state. The second, takes place later on, in fetal development, when androgens influence further penile development. It is believed that most mechanisms involved in the formation of a micropenis occur during the second stage, and this is why the penis looks like a normal penis, just much smaller.

Medical cases reveal that a lack of prenatal androgen may be the primary cause of a micropenis.  In addition, an imbalance of hormones may also be an underlying factor in its size.  To find out if the organ is too small, a man should take the time to calculate the fully erect length of his penis from the base to the tip.

It is estimated that about 1 in 200 males (0.5 %) is born with a micropenis

Problems associated with micropenis
Some problems men with a micropenis commonly report are:
  • Difficulty/inability to urinate when standing
  • Difficulty/inability to have sexual intercourse in most or all positions
  • Psychological problems, including low self-esteem, difficulty talking to women and even suicidal thoughts.

4 cm long micro penis

Conditions associated with the micropenis condition
Due to the hornomal nature of the problem, a micropenis is often accompanied by other conditions, most of which are due to reduced prenatal androgen production or effect, like:
  • Testicular dysgenesis
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Leydig cell hypoplasia
  • Specific defects of testosterone
  • 17,20-lyase deficiency
  • 5α-reductase deficiency
  • Androgen insensitivity syndromes
  • Inadequate pituitary stimulation 
  • Gonadotropin deficiency and other forms of congenital hypogonadism

a flaccid micro penis at 1 inch length
Flaccid micropenis - 1 inch long
same individual, erect micropenis, about 3 inches long
Same individual - about 3 inches long

Buried Penis
Sometimes the condition is confused with what is known as "buried penis", when the penis has a normal size but is "buried" under fat. In most children, buried penis is a condition that resolves by itself. There can be many causes, including: problems with the skin and fat layers surrounding the penis of a developing fetus, or simply too much fat on top of the pubic bone, which is common in young babies.

There are many different surgical techniques that can help if the problem doesn't resolve.  Please consult a pediatrician if you think that your child might have this condition.

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