Micropenis is a medical condition in which an individual has an atypically small penis. Although a universal definition for micropenis has not been agreed upon, one proposed definition is a penis of an adult man that is 9.3 cm or 3.66 inches or less when stretched (while flaccid). The average penis length for an adult man is 13.24 cm or 5.21 inches when stretched.
How common is micropenis?
Micropenis is a rare condition that affects about 0.6% of people worldwide. It is estimated that around 1.5 in 10,000 male babies are born with micropenis in the United States, which is 0.015% of male newborns.
What causes micropenis?
The most common cause of micropenis is a hormonal issue such as testosterone deficiency during pregnancy. Fetal testosterone deficiency can cause several medical conditions that affect the male genitals, including male hypogonadism. Genetic factors can also contribute to micropenis, but sometimes there is no known cause for this condition.
What are the complications of micropenis?
There are several possible complications associated with micropenis. Many individuals with micropenis experience difficulties with urination and/or sexual intercourse. Sometimes, men with micropenis have a lower sperm count than other men, which can negatively impact their fertility. The psychological effects of micropenis might be the most difficult complication for some individuals to cope with, and many men with micropenis suffer from depression, low self-esteem, or feelings of shame and embarrassment.
How is micropenis diagnosed?
A medical professional can diagnose micropenis with a physical exam. To correctly measure the length of the penis, the health care provider will carefully stretch it. The measurements are then compared to the penis size range of the patient’s age group. If you believe you may have micropenis, it is still a good idea to consult with a medical provider who can properly diagnose the condition. Other conditions such as buried penis can present similar symptoms as micropenis but may require alternative treatment. Buried penis is a condition in which the penis is normal in size but hidden beneath abdominal skin or fat.
How is micropenis treated?
Treatment of micropenis keeps certain goals in mind; chiefly, minimizing social concerns and preserving sexual function. Testosterone therapy in children and pubertal males can increase penile size. For adults, surgical options do exist, and some very specialized practitioners offer these to select patients. However, these treatments often have limited success and are associated with many complications.
What is the bottom line with regard to micropenis?
Coping with micropenis can be difficult, but trained psychologists and mental health professionals can help. While this condition may not necessarily impact your sexual functioning, if it does, you might consider talking to your partner and/or a sex therapist about tools and techniques that can enhance your sex life.
For more information on this topic, please read this publication from The Journal of Sexual Medicine:
Benisek, A. Medically reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO. (2022, June 17). Micropenis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/men/what-is-micropenis
Henderson, E. Medically reviewed by Danielle Ellis, B.Sc. (2022, December 18). What is a Micropenis? https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Micropenis.aspx
Villines, Z. (2018, November 27). What to know about micropenis. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323811