Like everything in nature, your penis goes through a series of changes over your lifetime.
Each phase of your life is controlled by your testosterone levels, beginning as early as the ages of 9- 15, when your pituitary gland releases hormones that tell your body to start making testosterone.
After puberty, testosterone levels peak in your late teens to early 20s and begin to minimally decrease as you age.
But does this testosterone cause your penis size to fluctuate?
Does penis size fluctuate?
The erect size of your penis will definitely change as you get older, just as there will be changes to the flaccid length of your penis.
The range of reasons for this change is varied and is combined with the effects of generalised ageing and hormonal change, which go hand-in-hand.
Generalised ageing that can affect the size of your erection
As with all things when you age, they all head south!
As you get older, your fertility decreases and the small, reproductive organs inside your scrotum shrink- your testosterone levels fall, sperm production slows, and the testicles get smaller.
This worsens if you undergo hormone replacement therapy, causing increased shrinkage.
In the same vein, your penis itself will become marginally smaller as you age. While you are highly unlikely to develop a micro penis, there will be a small amount of change that can go on to affect the size of your erection overall.
As well as generalised age-related changes, hormonal changes impact the size of your erection.
Hormonal changes that can affect the size of your erection
While the amount of testosterone in your body may drop slightly in your late 20s through to your 40s, the change is minimal and doesn’t account for all the changes in your body.
Once you pass age 40, your body slowly begins to make more of a protein called Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG). SHBG sticks to the hormones carried in the blood, including testosterone, and lowers the amount your body has available to use.
As such, higher levels of SHBG decrease the amount of free testosterone and can affect erections, especially if testosterone levels are already getting low.
Other factors that influence the size of your erection
Alongside general ageing and hormonal changes, there are an array of other factors that can cause your penis size to fluctuate. These other factors include:
- Penile sensitivity and arousal levels
- Body weight and diet
- Curvature, caused by Peyronie’s Disease
- Medications and health conditions
As well as helping you perform in the bedroom, your penis is a great gauge of your overall health, especially your cardiovascular system.
As such, if you notice things are not as they once were, you may find the reason for this explored below.
Penile sensitivity and arousal levels
The nerves in your penis get less sensitive as you age, which, unfortunately, can lead to trouble with arousal and enjoying an orgasm. This lessening of sensitivity means that you may find it takes more arousal to maintain your erection.
Hormone levels also play a part in the loss of sensitivity. As testosterone levels drop, erectile rigidity may diminish, but thankfully not necessarily to the point where you cannot have intercourse.
Perhaps the most common culprit is the body’s inability to hold blood in the penis. When this happens, you may be able to get an erection but not keep it. Blood flows in, but the ageing muscle that surrounds your erectile tissue can’t hold it there, resulting in an erection that ebbs away.
Body weight and diet
Diet and your body weight will always go together.
The first culprit to look at if the penis appears smaller is often weight gain around the tummy and in the pubic area.
The actual size of your penis hasn’t changed at all, but if you have more body fat in the pubic area, sometimes referred to as the fat pad, more of your penile shaft will be covered. Some researchers suggest that for every 30- 50 pounds (13- 22kg) lost, an extra inch will become visible.
For men who are not overweight, a poor diet can also contribute to penis size fluctuation.
As the erection process is controlled by some of the smallest blood vessels and nerves, filling these with diet-based fat and cholesterol will slow or prevent blood movement, potentially stopping erections and putting your heart at risk.
A healthy, varied diet will then reduce excess weight gain, help you lose weight if you need to, and keep your circulatory system clear and strong.
For a small number of men, the penis may curve with age, affecting its length, girth, and function.
This condition, called Peyronie’s Disease, is caused by physical trauma on the penis, helping scar tissue develop. The scarred portion of the penis can’t expand, causing a curved erection, which reduces length.
Peyronie’s Disease can go on to completely stop sexual intercourse, and as such, many men seek surgical interventions for a cure.
Medications and health conditions
Many physical and mental health conditions can cause penis size to fluctuate. These include but are not limited to:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Depression and anxiety
Some medications also go on to affect erections, including:
- High blood pressure medication
- Parkinson’s Disease medication
- Muscle relaxants
- Anti-seizure medication
- Illegal drugs
Your doctor can advise of any side effects associated with your health conditions or prescribed medication, and you should raise any new issues that may arise if you take medication long-term, including softening or failing erections.
Contact Moorgate today for help with penis size fluctuation
Changes in your sexual organs and sexuality are a normal part of ageing and may manifest in any number of ways, from Peyronie’s Disease and erectile dysfunction to seeking penis enlargement, including length and girth surgery.
As such, it is very important to talk to a doctor if age-related changes start affecting your life and relationships, as they may well be perfectly correctable.
Alternatively, if you are pushed for time, you can also book an online consultation over Zoom where our professional, experienced urologists can listen to your fears and advise you of treatments you could consider.