Large Erection Size
The penis below left labeled as 95th percentile is often claimed as being “average” However, this is the very top end of “normal” and less than 1 in 20 men have a penis this “large”. Although men being concerned their erections are too “large” is less common than men concerned about have a penis that is to “small”, they are often founded in real-life difficulties these men experience day to day. This page focuses on addressing concerns men who have a “large” penis may have.
Some men may be on the top end of normal at around 7 inches (18cm) long when erect (see the outline second from the left labeled as 99th percentile below). Less than 1 in 100 men will have a penis larger than this. Although being on the largeend of the spectrum usually doesn’t cause any problems with sexual functions or intimacy; these men may have other issues of discomfort and embarrassment. Real concerns that may warrant treatment or even a surgical reduction may be considered in men who have a condition called macropenis where then penis is over 8.25 inches (22.5cm) in length (discussed further down).
DIFFICULTIES LARGER MEN MAY EXPERIENCE
As you can see from the diagram above, being in the 95th or 99th percentile is significantly larger than "average". One issue that can be problematic for these men is the inability of the underwear to “contain” the penis if it becomes erect. This can be a problem during sleep when nocturnal erections occur, thus causing the penis to press against, get trapped, or push through the waistband of their underwear. Even men who have a penis that is “normal” sized can experience this if their underwear “rides too low”. Purchasing underwear with a taller inseam, looser band, or extra room in the front pocket for sleeping can be helpful.
Being larger can also be problematic if a spontaneous erection occurs since it is more likely to be noticed beneath clothing. In addition, it is more likely to get impinged or kinked into an uncomfortable position making these erections more uncomfortable than men who may be more average in size.
Whenit comes to intimacy, these men may also have issues with condoms being too tight or constrictive – the use of larger sized condoms can often resolve this concern. Men who are larger may also have to be more careful during intercourse since the penis can presses against the cervix before full penetration, so full penetration during intercourse may not be comfortable or even possible.
MACROPENIS – When “large” is too large
However, in rare cases, the penis can become extremely enlarged – this is called a macropenis, megalopenis, or macrophallus (see the largest penis outline above).
Macropenis is defined as a penis that is more than 8.25 inches (22cm) long and 2 inches (5cm) wide. This usually occurs either because of an overproduction of testosterone or due to repeated episodes of priapism (usually with sickle cell disease). In some of these cases, macropenis can occur during puberty when the testosterone surges. For those with sickle cell disease, they are more prone to repeated attacks of priapism. Priapism can enlarge and stretch the tunica (the sheet that surrounds the erectile tissues) beyond the normal maximal fill. When this occurs repeatedly, the tunica can become overstretched, allowing the erectile tissues to expand further - causing the penis to balloon past its normal size. [i][ii] Since the tightness of the tunica causes the rigidity during an erection, men with this type of macrophallus can sometimes have large, often misshapen, and/or non-rigid erections. In some cases the penis can be shaped more like an eggplant, American football, or rugby ball.[iii] Penile reduction surgeries can be performed if size really is an issue.
Other causes (especially short term causes) of a large penis can include penile swelling. One condition that can affect some men is lymphedema of the penis. This often occurs after an injury or some sort of inflammation, but can occur spontaneously as well. In this case, the penis swells and fills with fluid beneath the skin rather than just the erectile tissues. This can occur either along the shaft or in just one part of the penis. Think of this as being similar to a sprained ankle swelling – the penis can have a similar type of swelling. To see a medical example of penile swelling, click HERE. In some cases, only the penis is involved, but in other cases, the scrotum may become involved as well. The largest swelling was reported in 2017 and was caused by a parasitic infection that caused blood to back into the penis of a young man from Kenya. Prior to surgery the penis had swelled to nearly 3 feet (1 meter) in length and it weighed 11 pounds (5kg). This degree of swelling had made walking difficult and created a situation where the young man was home bound due to discomfort and embarrassment. Surgical correction restored the penis to a normal size with normal function.[iv]
Any type of swelling in the penis should be discussed with a healthcare provider to make sure there aren’t other issues going on that may need attention. In addition, swelling can actually cause damage to the tissues of the penis if the swelling continues and enlarges the penis significantly. Not only does this cause urinary and sexual issues, but it can cause emotional problems. Embarrassment can occur when the penis becomes disfigured or reaches a size that is difficult to contain within underclothing even when flaccid. In mild cases, the treatment involves wrapping the penis in a dressing to restrict swelling and force lymph fluid out of the penis and back into the lymph system. In some cases (especially in chronic or severe cases) surgery may be required.[v][vi]
[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10962334 (12/3/16)
[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/859210 (12/3/16)
[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2858891/ (3/20/17)
Images on this page from top to bottom include:
SvitlanaNiko/Shutterstock.com & joshya/Shutterstock.com (modified)