Penis Enlargement Is Mostly Pseudoscientific BS

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For as long as men have noticed their penises, they've been trying to make them larger. Admittedly, there's no actual evidence to back that assertion, but it's probably a fairly safe assumption. There is, however, plenty of evidence that modern techniques for penis enlargement are mostly pseudoscience, and you should steer clear of them.

To achieve a phallus like that of Priapus, a Greek god of fertility, unscrupulous purveyors sell all sorts of supplements, devices, and injectables. The vast majority do not work and may actually cause harm.

Dietary supplements are most commonly purchased, and are widely accessible via nutrition stores and online retailers like Amazon. AlphaMAN XL pills promise that their ingredients, including "Macuna Pruriens (L-Dopa), Polypodium Vulgare, Yohimbe Bark, Saw Palmetto, Muira Puama, L-Arginine & Panax Ginseng," will provide "2+ Inches in 60 days." Extensions IV goes farther, advertising up to a "4 inch gain," a bold claim indeed, as that would nearly double the length of the normal erect penis. The makers of each supplement present no evidence to back their claims, and if they did, it would almost certainly be fraudulent. Boosting the size of your penis through dietary means is physiologically implausible; it's simply not how the body works.

While dietary supplements won't do much for your penis, they do have the potential to cause bodily harm. Between 2007 and 2016, at least 776 supplements were found to be adulterated with unstudied or unsafe ingredients. Almost half of these supplements were meant to enhance sexual performance.

Devices also exist to supposedly elongate one's penis. The most well-known is the "penis pump." This actually works... sort of. The concept is fairly simple: You place your flaccid penis in the suction tube, then pump out all the air, creating a vacuum in the chamber, causing blood to fill the erectile tissue inside the low-pressure environment. Finally – like tying off a balloon – you place a constriction ring at the base of the penis.

So yes, the "penis pump" will pump up your penis, granting an erection, but the effects rapidly subside with the removal of the constricting ring.

Different tools called penis traction devices may produce longer-lasting results and actually do have a meager modicum of supporting evidence. These devices attach to the penis and stretch it over extended periods of time. Case reports and poor quality cohort studies suggest that traction devices could actually stretch the penis by 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters. The girth, however, will remain unchanged or decrease slightly, and tissue damage could result from using poorly-made traction devices without the advice of a doctor.

Tissue damage is the hallmark of another segment of penis-enhancing products: injectables. Over the years, men have pumped all sorts of substances into their penises, including silicone gel, baby oil, cod liver oil, mineral oil, and paraffin wax. One of these procedures was first documented in the scientific literature back in 1900. More have been described since, but they are dwarfed by startling case reports of adverse effects. Turns out, injecting substances into your penis is not at all safe, and often results in deformities, allergic reactions, inflammation, scarring, and even necrosis.

"The term ‘grease gun injury’ refers to an injury sustained by the use of... a tool to inject substances such as automobile fluids into the penis at high pressure, again for the purposes of penile augmentation," University College London doctors explained in a review published last year.

Why do men do things like this to their genitalia?

"Most men who request penis enlargement have a normal-sized and fully functional penis but visualize their penises as small," Urologists Enis Rauf Coskuner and Halil Ibrahim Canter explained. "Most patients who seek appearance-enhancing medical treatments report some degree of body image dissatisfaction, which is believed to motivate the pursuit of these treatments."

Thus, peddlers of unsafe and ineffective penis enlargement products are capitalizing on low self-esteem and psychological issues, extracting exorbitant profits by proclaiming that they offer simple and amazing fixes.

There's a far more effective science-based fix for improving penis function: exercise, a balanced diet, and weight-loss.

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