Should you be exercising your penis?

Rumours relating to hacking your sex life with the likes of ‘penis gyms’ and ‘penis training programs’ have been doing the rounds in recent weeks. So far so curious. But are these practices *really* a thing and if so, who is doing them and do they *actually* work?

This article is a repost which originally appeared on ES Magazine

Edited for content.

Our Takeaways:

· There are exercises which you can perform to improve penile/sexual function

· Certain devices can be used to aid the process of developing sexual and penile fitness

· Research and care should be taken when you first undertake a penis training routine

You are by now probably familiar with the concept of biohacking, namely the self-improvement trend started by a handful of individuals who, venturing into the unknown, made it their mission to find whatever means, from microdosing to eccentric exercise trends and extraordinary diets to enhance their physical, cerebral and even spiritual function.

Five or so years later Silicon Valley caught on with the likes of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and former Facebook president Sean Parker joining the brigade and forking out tens of thousands of dollars to improve everything from their productivity to muscle condition. Often they turned to the world’s biohacking ‘gurus’, self-experimenting guinea pigs and lifestyle enhancers such as Ben Greenfield, Tim Ferriss and Gwern, as their guides, eschewing traditional medical professionals, presumably preferring the more macho and unconventional approach. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that approximately 90% of biohackers are men…

Washington State based Greenfield is an elite biohacker who says he has a biological age of nine and makes a successful living documenting his quest for the world’s most effective means of physical and cerebral enhancement. While his practice is vast and varied, covering everything from microdosing LSD to supplementation and a process described as a ‘full-body stem-cell local’ whereby every joint in the body is injected with stem cells, it is arguably his reporting on sexual performance technologies and comments on penis gyms (he wrote a blog post entitled ‘how to make your penis stronger with a Private Gym’), which have garnered most attention. On day one of the 30-day Private Gym program Greenfield wrote, ‘I start round one of my training: contract, relax, contract, relax, five rounds done. 20 rapid flexes, done. 20 second hold, done. My penis quivers (oh geez, did I just write that?) under the weight towards the end.’ It’s undeniably attention-grabbing stuff.

And before those of you with a better-than-average anatomical knowledge flag – correctly – that contrary to popular belief the so-called love muscle contains no muscle and therefore can’t be trained, we know. And so does Greenfield. What he colloquially refers to in this way is in fact – less thrillingly – known as pelvic floor training.

Editor’s Note: The penis does contain smooth muscle tissue, which is different from skeletal muscle tissue. It should also be noted the Bulbocavernosus muscle which supports the base of the penis and extends to part of the shaft is indeed composed of skeletal muscle tissue.

Long considered a woman’s work, pelvic floor exercises tone the muscles that support the uterus. Done daily they can ease childbirth, prevent incontinence and even improve your sex life. Now however, experts are keen to flag that men have the same network of muscles as women. Extending like a hammock from the tailbone to the pubic bone they support the back, abdomen, bladder and bowel helping to maintain faecal and urinary continence. In male bodies these muscles also surround the base of the penis and are activated during erection, orgasm and ejaculation, as well as being responsible for the surge of blood flow to the penis.

Medical evidence suggests that done correctly male pelvic floor exercises taught by the likes of Professor Grace Dorey a professor emeritus of physiotherapy and urology at The University of West England can improve pelvic floor control, urinary function (particularly after radical prostatectomy surgery to treat prostate cancer) and sometimes even sexual function. Doctors explain that like all muscles, pelvic ones weaken with age, but can be strengthened by tightening the muscles used to cut off a flow of urine midstream. Held for a few seconds this contraction is then released and the motion repeated 10 to 15 times.

There is unsurprisingly, a budding market of systems to aid men with such ‘exercises’. Greenfield’s preferred Private Gym for example, includes an instructional DVD and small, ultralight weights on a silicone band that fits around the penis and is intended for men who want to add a little resistance training to their routines. The KegelPad meanwhile is another tool designed to aid good practice. Of the former Professor Dorey, has gone as far as to say ‘ It’s as good as Viagra, without the costs and the side effects…the pelvic floor muscles provide the base for the erection — for the penis to sit on, if you will.”

That said Karl Monahan of London’s The Pelvic Pain Clinic recommends that patients practice due diligence when purchasing such items, taking the time to identify companies that are legitimate and well intentioned. ‘Choose those which offer sound, medically supported programs and clinical trials,’ he says. Moreover, many of the symptoms associated with poor pelvic health actually have separate root causes that should be professionally diagnosed and treated. ‘Working with an experienced specialist is the best way for men suffering with pelvic floor related symptoms,’ he explains. ‘Unguided programs can also lead to patients overdoing their pelvic floor exercises, which can in turn, have dramatic effects on their pelvic health.’

Greenfield too warns against seeing biohacking and hacking technologies as quick fix. ‘A negative implication of the proliferation of these self-improvement methods is that people are inherently lazy and so in many cases [think] these biohacks can be used as a shortcut,’ he tells us. ‘But biohacking is not a shortcut. It’s the use of science or technology to enhance human biology, but always needs to be paired with actual hard work and dedication.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should you be exercising your penis?

Should you be exercising your penis?

Rumours relating to hacking your sex life with the likes of ‘penis gyms’ and ‘penis training programs’ have been doing the rounds in recent weeks. So far so curious. But are these practices really a thing and if so, who is doing them and do they actually work?

Are penis workouts going to be incorporated into your normal gym routine? / Jesper Aggergaard

21 January 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Evening Standard

You are by now probably familiar with the concept of biohacking, namely the self-improvement trend started by a handful of individuals who, venturing into the unknown, made it their mission to find whatever means, from microdosing to eccentric exercise trends and extraordinary diets to enhance their physical, cerebral and even spiritual function.

Five or so years later Silicon Valley caught on with the likes of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and former Facebook president Sean Parker joining the brigade and forking out tens of thousands of dollars to improve everything from their productivity to muscle condition. Often they turned to the world’s biohacking ‘gurus’, self-experimenting guinea pigs and lifestyle enhancers such as Ben Greenfield, Tim Ferriss and Gwern, as their guides, eschewing traditional medical professionals, presumably preferring the more macho and unconventional approach. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that approximately 90% of biohackers are men…

Washington State based Greenfield is an elite biohacker who says he has a biological age of nine and makes a successful living documenting his quest for the world’s most effective means of physical and cerebral enhancement. While his practice is vast and varied, covering everything from microdosing LSD to supplementation and a process described as a ‘full-body stem-cell local’ whereby every joint in the body is injected with stem cells, it is arguably his reporting on sexual performance technologies and comments on penis gyms (he wrote a blog post entitled ‘how to make your penis stronger with a Private Gym’), which have garnered most attention. On day one of the 30-day Private Gym program Greenfield wrote, ‘I start round one of my training: contract, relax, contract, relax, five rounds done. 20 rapid flexes, done. 20 second hold, done. My penis quivers (oh geez, did I just write that?) under the weight towards the end.’ It’s undeniably attention-grabbing stuff.

And before those of you with a better-than-average anatomical knowledge flag – correctly – that contrary to popular belief the so-called love muscle contains no muscle and therefore can’t be trained, we know. And so does Greenfield. What he colloquially refers to in this way is in fact – less thrillingly – known as pelvic floor training.

Long considered a woman’s work, pelvic floor exercises tone the muscles that support the uterus. Done daily they can ease childbirth, prevent incontinence and even improve your sex life. Now however, experts are keen to flag that men have the same network of muscles as women. Extending like a hammock from the tailbone to the pubic bone they support the back, abdomen, bladder and bowel helping to maintain faecal and urinary continence. In male bodies these muscles also surround the base of the penis and are activated during erection, orgasm and ejaculation, as well as being responsible for the surge of blood flow to the penis.

Medical evidence suggests that done correctly male pelvic floor exercises taught by the likes of Professor Grace Dorey a professor emeritus of physiotherapy and urology at The University of West England can improve pelvic floor control, urinary function (particularly after radical prostatectomy surgery to treat prostate cancer) and sometimes even sexual function. Doctors explain that like all muscles, pelvic ones weaken with age, but can be strengthened by tightening the muscles used to cut off a flow of urine midstream. Held for a few seconds this contraction is then released and the motion repeated 10 to 15 times.

There is unsurprisingly, a budding market of systems to aid men with such ‘exercises’. Greenfield’s preferred Private Gym for example, includes an instructional DVD and small, ultralight weights on a silicone band that fits around the penis and is intended for men who want to add a little resistance training to their routines. The KegelPad meanwhile is another tool designed to aid good practice. Of the former Professor Dorey, has gone as far as to say ‘ It’s as good as Viagra, without the costs and the side effects…the pelvic floor muscles provide the base for the erection — for the penis to sit on, if you will.”

That said Karl Monahan of London’s The Pelvic Pain Clinic recommends that patients practice due diligence when purchasing such items, taking the time to identify companies that are legitimate and well intentioned. ‘Choose those which offer sound, medically supported programs and clinical trials,’ he says. Moreover, many of the symptoms associated with poor pelvic health actually have separate root causes that should be professionally diagnosed and treated. ‘Working with an experienced specialist is the best way for men suffering with pelvic floor related symptoms,’ he explains. ‘Unguided programs can also lead to patients overdoing their pelvic floor exercises, which can in turn, have dramatic effects on their pelvic health.’

Greenfield too warns against seeing biohacking and hacking technologies as quick fix. ‘A negative implication of the proliferation of these self-improvement methods is that people are inherently lazy and so in many cases [think] these biohacks can be used as a shortcut,’ he tells us. ‘But biohacking is not a shortcut. It’s the use of science or technology to enhance human biology, but always needs to be paired with actual hard work and dedication.’

I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels

I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels

I tried red light therapy, a radical (and expensive) alternative treatment, on my testicles— and honestly, I’ve never felt better

By Ben Greenfield
Oct 26, 2017

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’s Health

Edited for content.

I’m not really a nudist kind of guy. The last nudist beach I visited primarily featured lots of curly hair, very unattractive gonads, and a disturbing volleyball game spectacle, so ever since, I’ve tended to stay away from nudist beaches and bars. But three months ago, while on a camping trip, I decided to sunbathe nude in the forest. I lay out in my hammock with my drawers tossed to the forest floor, my crotch proudly displayed to the bright, blue sky, basking in the glorious feeling of warmth on my balls. I pondered whether this was some kind of little-known biohack I was tapping into. After all, enough people expose their crotch to the warm rays of the sun that there must be some benefit to it, right? I had to find out.

As a man on a constant quest to optimize my brain and body (including my own balls), I decided to actually look into the health effects of UV light on the genitals. To my surprise, some studies have actually demonstrated that exposing the torso or the testes to light can potentially increase testosterone. In fact, studies on the effects of light on the testes go way back to 1939, when researchers exposed various parts of men’s bodies to UV light. They found that men’s testosterone levels went up by 120% when the participants’ chests were exposed to UV light, and they went up by 200% with UV exposure to the genital area. (This was the same study former professional baseball player Gabe Kapler cited back in 2015, when he advocated for tanning your testicles in a blog post that later went viral.)

To be fair, the results of the 1939 study are nearly 80 years old, so it’s possible that the effects of sunlight on your nuts have been overstated. But assuming it is good for you, there’s one major problem with it: most dudes don’t have the time, desire, or year-round exposure to sunlight to step out into the backyard buck-naked. (Not to mention that most guys have something called “neighbors,” many of whom have access to phones and can call the police.) Ultimately, moseying through the neighborhood on a sunny day with your pants jacked down isn’t a practical way of getting your daily dose of testosterone.

So I delved back into the research, and messaged the one guy I consider to be an expert in all things testosterone and sperm-count related: my Finnish friend and physician Dr. Olli Sovijarvi, who studied at the University of Helsinki. I originally met Dr. Sovijarvi when speaking at a biohacking conference he hosts in Finland. Turns out that since those initial sunshine studies, many more studies have investigated the effects of direct sunlight exposure to the torso, which increases a human male’s testosterone levels by anywhere from 25% to 160%, depending on the individual.

Sunlight exposure directly to the testes reportedly has an even more profound effect, boosting production in Leydig cells (the cells that produce testosterone) by an average of 200%. Olli went on to inform me that some animal studies have linked light, particularly a special form of light called “red light”, to increased testicular function. (It’s important to note, however, that this is not exactly proven science: one red light study conducted on rams, for instance, was inconclusive.)

If you haven’t heard of red light, or if your only experience with red light is a streetlight or strip bar, you’re not alone. But basically the theory is this: while sunlight has many beneficial effects, such as vitamin D production and improved mood, it is not without its downsides. Too much exposure to sunlight, particularly to sensitive areas like the skin around your precious ball sac, can create sunburn, excess radiation, inflammation and damage. And let’s face it: you don’t want a shrunken, shriveled, dehydrated dick, no matter how impressive the tan.

Red light, however, is different than sunlight. Red light is comprised of light wavelengths in the range of 600-950 nanometers (nm). According to red light therapy proponents, red light works to stimulate ATP production, increase energy available to the cell and in particular, increase the activity of the Leydig cells in your testes, which are the cells responsible for testosterone production.

It’s important to note that there are currently no light therapy devices on the market cleared by FDA for the enhanced production of testosterone LED-based therapy. That said, the treatment is generally considered low-risk, so the products like the one I tried do not require FDA clearance. (A few treatments like LED red-light beds, however, have been approved by the FDA for very narrow indications, like wrinkle reduction, etc.) It also should be noted that most (but not all) of the existing clinical research related to testosterone production and sperm mobility stems from animal studies, not studies involving humans.

There is also another caveat to this — and this is the part where Olli just about scared my pants off (or more appropriately, back on). Many types of lamps and bulbs sold for red light therapy (such as incandescents, heat lamps, infrared lamps that generate red light at greater than 1000nm) give off a significant amount of heat and can actually fry your testicles. So apparently, you have to be careful when you use red light therapy, unless self-castration with a red heating lamp from Home Depot is on your wishlist.

The good Dr. Olli then went on to inform me that each night he lays down on his couch, pulls down his pants, and hugs a big long panel of red infrared light from an LED source at 600-950nm. It sounded just like hugging a giant, warm teddy bear (a very hard and uncomfortable teddy bear, plugged into a wall outlet and generating enough red light to turn the entire room into a video arcade).

I was convinced. The morning after my conversation with Olli, I ordered something called a “JOOVV” (pronounced “Joove”) light. This was the red light he personally recommended and used himself, and I didn’t want to play around with frying my balls to a crisp with a cheapo knockoff, so I spent the big bucks (a grand total of $995) for what the website described as a “full body LED red light therapy device”.

When my JOOVV arrived the next week, I hoisted it downstairs to my office, leaned it against my stand-up desk, pulled down my pants and flipped it on.

I jumped back as best I could with my underwear wrapped around my ankles. Holy hell. Not only was the red light panel itself as wide as my torso and nearly five feet high, but the light coming out of this thing was freaking blinding. I fumbled for the little sunglasses that were included with the light panel and slapped them on. There, much better.

No longer feeling like I was staring into the depths of a semi-truck’s red brake lights, I simply stood there, naked. I replied to a few emails, then checked my watch. Five minutes. That should be good. After all, according to good ol’ Dr. Olli, five to 20 minutes is the sweet spot for red light exposure to your gonads, and I didn’t want to overtrain or excessively fry my little fellas on their first foray into the wonderful world of red light.

The rest of the morning, my crotch felt warm. Alive. So I did it again. Glancing out my office window to make sure the lawnmower guy wasn’t tooling around in the grass, I pulled down my drawers and bathed myself in the heavenly, warm, tingly glow, this time for eight minutes.

That night, my wife and I made love. Admittedly, I felt – well – a unique heavenly, warm, tingly glow in my crotch. Nice.

Two days later, I waited until the evening, then wandered downstairs. I rubbed my hands together, took a deep breath, and flipped my JOOVV on. I called my mom to see how her day was going mom (she had no clue what was going on below the phone). Ten minutes. I read a blog post. Fifteen minutes. My crotch grew more and more warm, but in a pleasant, day-at-the-beach sort of way. I finished an email. Twenty minutes. Mission complete.

That night was date night, and I was a rock star.

I sat at dinner, horny, my penis pulsing, staring across the table at my wife and feeling as though I’d popped a couple Viagra. Later, I blew the biggest load I could recall in recent memory.

And from that point on, for nearly the past seven months, I’ve stuck with twenty minutes of red light exposure on my crotch each day. Actually, I’m afraid to do more. I suspect there must be a law of diminishing returns, and I don’t desire to wind up with my dick looking like a leather handbag. But in the meantime, it is now a daily habit to pull down my pants at my desk, flip on my JOOVV and get my red light on.

Vaseline in Place of Viagra: Is It Safe and Effective?

Can You Use Vaseline in Place of Viagra?

Medically reviewed by Matt Coward, MD, FACS — Written by James Roland on March 17, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content.

If you experience erectile dysfunction (ED), you may be willing to try just about anything to restore healthy sexual function.

However, there are plenty of potentially dangerous options that people have tried, including the injection of Vaseline or other petroleum jelly products into the penis.

For many years and in many cultures, the practice of injecting or inserting something into the penis to make it larger or to improve sexual stamina has been done, often without the guidance of medical experts.

If you’re tempted to use Vaseline in place of Viagra or any other approved treatment for ED, don’t waste your time or take the risk. There are plenty of safer and more effective options available.

You may also have heard of topical gels or essential oils for ED, but there has yet to be any evidence to suggest that applying Vaseline as a topical treatment to your penis will have any effect on sexual function.

The science

Numerous studies have shown that injecting Vaseline into your penis is a danger, rather than a cure. The practice can lead to:

  • infections
  • serious skin and tissue injury
  • other medical complications

In a small 2008 study of 16 people who were treated for Vaseline injections, researchers found that “urgent surgery” was necessary to prevent further injury.

A 2012 case report concluded that Vaseline injections are usually done without medical supervision and can lead to severe complications if the petroleum jelly or other foreign objects aren’t removed promptly.

Clinical treatments

Instead of trying risky self-help solutions for ED, consider proven medications and other treatments that have a track record of success.

Oral medications

While Viagra, known clinically as sildenafil, may be the best known ED pills, there are other FDA-approved medications. They all vary somewhat in their:

  • potency
  • how quickly they take effect
  • duration of effectiveness
  • side effects

Other ED medications on the market include:

  • Tadalafil (Cialis). It’s available in a generic form and can be taken daily at low doses or as needed in higher doses.
  • Vardenafil (Levitra). It’s available in brand-name and generic versions. it tends to remain effective a little longer than sildenafil.
  • Avanafil (Stendra). It’s not yet available in generic form, Stendra is unique among ED medications in that it can become effective in about 15 minutes, while others take between 30 and 60 minutes to take effect.

Your lifestyle may help determine the best ED medication for you.

Vacuum pumps

This treatment involves the use of a tube that fits over your penis and attaches to a pump that withdraws air from the tube to create a vacuum.

The vacuum created around your penis helps draw blood to fill the blood vessels within and produce an erection. An elastic ring is also placed around the base of your penis to help maintain the erection.

A 2013 research review noted that the use of vacuum devices to treat ED is usually safe and effective, particularly when combined with ED drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which include:

  • tadalafil
  • sildenafil
  • other standard medications

Penile injections

Certain medications can be injected into your penis to increase blood flow and create a firmer erection for intercourse. Those include:

  • papaverine
  • phentolamine
  • prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) or alprostadil (Caverject, Edex)

There are also combinations of the above medications available.

Penile implants

Some people choose to treat ED with surgically-implanted, flexible, or inflatable rods that you can activate on demand.

Penile implants are generally reserved for individuals who have not had success with other traditional ED treatments.

Alternative treatments

Many safer and more effective alternatives to Viagra are available, including several prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) supplements, as well as complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, according to a 2016 research review.

Some people have had success using herbal supplements to treat ED. Some OTC products that have been supported by research include:

  • Korean red ginseng. It’s a plant that grows in Asia and may help both ED and alertness with relatively few side effects.
  • L-arginine. It’s an amino acid that serves as a building block for certain proteins. A small 2019 research review of 10 studies found that L-arginine used in doses of 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams significantly improved ED symptoms compared with placebo.
  • Yohimbe. It’s an herbal supplement commonly used in West African cultures, proved to be at least partially effective in treating ED in about one-third of people who participated in an old 1989 study.

Lifestyle changes

In addition, improving your health may improve ED symptoms and provide other benefits, including:

  • more energy
  • better sleep
  • greater cardiovascular fitness

The following lifestyle changes may pay dividends in terms of sexual health:

  • regular aerobic exercise, at least 150 minutes per week
  • maintaining a manageable weight
  • no smoking
  • consuming little or no alcohol
  • maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
  • managing stress through meditation, yoga, or other strategies

When to talk with a doctor

The first step in finding the solution that’s right for you is to talk with your primary care physician or a urologist.

And while ED can be an embarrassing and frustrating topic to discuss with anyone, understand that ED is a common condition, affecting an estimated 1 in 3 adults with penises.

In other words, you won’t be the first person to ask your doctor for advice or treatment in this department.

Occasional concern

If ED occurs occasionally, then you may not need any treatment at all. In this case, it may usually be chalked up to:

  • stress
  • fatigue
  • relationship concerns
  • a side effect of misusing alcohol

Keep in mind that ED can be a symptom of many physical and emotional health conditions, including:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • depression
  • anxiety

Sometimes treating an underlying condition can lead to improved sexual function.

Persistent concern

If ED is a persistent concern, then a conversation with your doctor is recommended. Your concerns may be an inability to:

  • achieve an erection at all
  • achieve an erection that is firm enough for satisfactory intercourse for you and your partner
  • maintain an erection for the duration necessary for satisfactory intercourse
  • become erect at certain times or with certain partners

Regardless of the nature of your ED, there is a range of treatments that may be helpful. Psychotherapy and relationship counseling may be very helpful too, so you may want to talk with your doctor about referrals for therapy.

But because medications are generally tolerated, the first approach may be a prescription for Viagra or any of the other approved ED medications.

The bottom line

ED can affect several aspects of your life, including self-esteem and relationships, so it’s not something to ignore — especially when viable treatments are available.

And rather than rely on unproven and potentially very harmful treatments on your own — such as injecting Vaseline or any foreign substance into your penis — address this common medical condition with your healthcare professional.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

The Best Ways to Increase Penis Sensitivity, According to Doctors

The Best Ways to Increase Penis Sensitivity, According to Doctors

The fix might be simple!

By Zachary Zane Mar 30, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’sHealth

Edited for content

Over the years, you may have noticed that your penis has become less sensitive. We’re not talking completely numb, which is a different story—just a little less receptive to stimulation. This can be a bit of a bummer; while some sexual pleasure is psychological, a lot of it comes from physical stimulation, meaning you might not enjoy sex as much when you have decreased sensitivity. You might even struggle to orgasm, which can be extra frustrating, and leave you desperate for ways to increase your penis sensitivity ASAP.

The issue is relatively common in people with a penis, according to experts. “We see a lot of men in our sexual health clinic who complain of decreased penile sensation,” says Michael Ingber, MD, a urologist and urogynecologist at Garden State Urology. While that may not sound like good news, it does mean urologists are adept at treating folks who experience reduced sensitivity. They know the common causes and can provide solutions.

But before getting to the best ways to reverse the condition, it’s important how penis sensitivity works in the first place. “The penis is innervated [supplied with nerves] by a nerve called the pudendal nerve,” Ingber says. The pudendal nerve doesn’t just provide sensation to the skin of the penis, but also the perineal region, scrotum, and anus.

“Still, the skin on the phallus is the same skin that’s on the rest of your body,” says Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, a urologist and sexual wellness expert at Orlando Health. “Depending on the thickness of the skin and presence of nerve fibers, sensation can be felt in different ways.” The skin on your penis is less thick than, say, the skin on the soles of your feet, which is why your penis is more sensitive.

Alright, now that you have a better understanding of the skin on your penis and the nerves that cause stimulation, let’s go ahead and address why you may be seeing a decrease in sensitivity and what you can do about it.

Cause: Too much friction

“Your body will naturally decrease sensation to the penis if there is constant mechanical friction in a short period,” Brahmbhatt says. There’s actually a word for the diminishing physiological response to a frequently repeated stimulus: habituation. So habituation can happen “with too much masturbation” or if you “go at it all night.”

Solution: You gotta switch it up! If you’re masturbating aggressively with a ton of pressure (often referred to as white-knuckling), they you need to loosen that grip. At first, it won’t feel as pleasurable, but over time, your body will reacclimate, and you’ll regain sensitivity.

Having sex or masturbating with a little less frequency is another way to increase sensitivity, Brahmbhatt adds. If you’re going at it for hours on end or jerking it three or four times a day, give your little fella a break.

Lastly Brahmbhatt recommends changing sexual positions. Again, habituation is a response to doing the same thing the same way over and over again. So if you’re always jerking off with a death grip in the same position, your body will habituate to it. If you only do it in doggy style, your body will habituate. Switch things up so your penis can experience multiple sensations and never habituate to a single one.

Cause: Frequent bike riding

“Riding a bike, especially one with a narrow seat, can constrict blood flow over time, as much as 60%,” Ingber says. “This is because the artery that supplies blood to the penis gets compressed [when you’re sitting].”

Solution: Obviously, biking less would help, but we don’t want to suggest that to avid bike riders. Ingber recommends investing in a split bike seat, which will allow for better blood flow.

Cause: Sitting for too long

Just like riding a bike, “Working from home can put pressure on your perineum and prostate. This is where the nerves and blood vessels that go into the penis travel,” Brahmbhatt says. This can affect sensation and even erection quality.

Solution: Find ways to spend less time sitting, like scheduling daily walks or getting a standing desk. It can also be helpful to set hourly reminders on your phone that tell you to get up and move around.

Cause: Low testosterone

Sensation is a complex process, and your hormones could play a role. “Low T can cause a decreased libido which can translate into a decrease in how you ‘feel’ sexual activity,” Brahmbhatt says.

Solution: Get your testosterone levels checked. If low, your doctor may suggest administering testosterone replacement therapy, Brahmbhatt says. (FYI, there are several delivery methods for TRT. Often, we think TRT and then think injections, but there are also skin patches, gels, and tablets that dissolve in your mouth.) Most people will notice relief from symptoms within 4–6 weeks of starting TRT.

Cause: Alcohol

If whiskey dick doesn’t strike, you still might not have a rewarding sexual experience if you drank too much because your penis will become less sensitive. “Alcohol is a depressant and can cause you to have decreased sensation—as well as a whole line of other things—especially when you’ve had one too many,” Brahmbhatt says.

Solution: There’s no magic number for how many drinks you can have and still be able to get hard, or how many will decrease your level of sensitivity even if you can get erect. If you’re worried about your performance on a day you’re also drinking, keep it to two drinks, max. If you overdo it, don’t panic: whiskey dick or lack of penis sensitivity caused from excessive drinking abates once you sober up. (However, chronic heavy drinking can lead to long-term ED, so be careful there!)

Cause: Medications

“There are several medications that can decrease your ability to perceive pain—a big one is opioids,” Brahmbhatt says. Many meds that decrease pain decrease sensitivity overall, which might be why you don’t have as much feeling down there as you used to.

Solution: Let your doctor know you’re having decreased penis sensitivity. Ask if it has anything to do with your current medications, and then see if your doctor can adjust your meds.

What if there’s no direct cause?

When the direct cause is unclear, lack of penis sensitivity can be challenging to solve. That said, there are some other things you can do to help remedy the problem. “I’ve had patients who have practiced tantra, meditation, and have been able to improve their sensitivity based on this alone, but we also have some innovative therapies that have been working great in several men,” Ingber says.

One therapeutic option is “Platelet-Rich Plasma” or PRP. “This therapy involves taking your own blood and isolating the ‘stem cells.’ These cells are then reinjected into your penis in a few different locations,” Ingber says.

There’s a far less invasive option that works for some folks, and that’s cream specifically designed to increase penis-sensitivity. However, we don’t promise any miracles with these products. A quick read through the reviews of Amazon’s most popular creams shows that it works for some and really does nothing for others. But there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

Nitroglycerin Gel for ED: Pros, Cons, & Practical Information

About Nitroglycerin Gel for Erectile Dysfunction

Medically reviewed by Matt Coward, MD, FACS — Written by Sara Lindberg on December 16, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content

Erectile dysfunction (ED) may affect as many as 30 million men in the United States. People with ED experience an inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex.

You may be familiar with some of the more common treatments for ED, including lifestyle modifications, oral medications that include phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PED5 inhibitors), and penis pumps.

But a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine also looked at the use of nitroglycerin gel or cream as a topical treatment for ED. Although results look promising, it’s important to note that nitroglycerin gel or cream isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ED.

Here’s what you need to know about nitroglycerin as a topical treatment for erectile dysfunction.

What is nitroglycerin?

Nitroglycerin is part of a class called vasodilators, which widen the blood vessels and improve blood flow to allow oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart.

It comes in a variety of forms, including sublingual (under-the-tongue), topical cream or gel, and as a transdermal patch. Nitroglycerin is most often used to prevent angina or attacks of chest pains.

Nitroglycerin for ED

“The idea of treating ED with topical nitroglycerin is not new and was first described in the 1980s,” says Dr. Joseph Brito, a urologist at Yale New Haven Health, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. Brito is also a member of Healthline’s clinical review network.

In general, Brito says nitroglycerin works by dilating the blood vessels, which is why it’s traditionally used for patients with angina or chest pain due to poor cardiac vessel blood flow.

The concept is the same for ED, although Brito says it may have a dual mechanism of action:

  • It widens blood vessels helps blood flow.
  • It relaxes penile smooth muscle, which in turn compresses penile veins and impedes blood flow out of the penis, which causes rigidity.

How does nitroglycerin gel work?

According to Brito, nitroglycerin gel or cream differs from other ED treatments such as oral medications:

“[Topical nitroglycerin] acts as a nitrogen donor to increase local levels of nitric oxide, which works through molecular signaling (cGMP pathway) to cause this response,” he says.

On the other hand, Brito says PDE5 inhibitors (like tadalafil and sildenafil) work at a later step in the chain by inhibiting the breakdown of cGMP.

Nitroglycerin for ED doesn’t have enough research

That said, Brito points out that nitroglycerin gel or cream is currently not approved by the FDA to treat ED.

Moreover, Brito points out that the American Urological Association guideline on erectile dysfunction published in 2018 didn’t include topical nitroglycerin as a suggested treatment for men with ED.

“Though this therapy was not specifically mentioned, the authors did state ‘the use of these treatments may preclude the use of other treatments known to be effective,’ and felt more research was needed,” he explains.

And there’s another factor to consider: Nitroglycerin cream on the outside of the penis might be transferred to your partner.

Why are people interested nitroglycerin gel for ED?

“Nitroglycerin may have some benefits over standard oral ED medications,” Brito says.

The onset of topical nitroglycerin is between 10 and 20 minutes, which Brito says is better than the quickest acting oral agents, with sildenafil taking at least 30 minutes.

In fact, the 2018 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 44 percent of patients saw erection beginning within 5 minutes of application. Seventy percent of the men noticed an erection within 10 minutes.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 232 men with ED who participated in two 4-week trials. One trial used a 0.2 percent glyceryl trinitrate topical gel before sex, and the other used a placebo gel.

“This may help with spontaneity, which can be an issue for couples using oral agents,” Brito explains.

Another benefit, Brito says, is that unlike other ED treatments like oral agents, nitroglycerin doesn’t need to pass through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

“Since absorption of oral agents like sildenafil is strongly affected by food intake, the medications are much more effective when taken on an empty stomach,” he says. This requires more planning and doesn’t always allow for spontaneity.

Where to buy nitroglycerin for ED

Nitroglycerin gel or cream is currently not approved by the FDA to treat ED.

If you have questions about this topical treatment, you need to talk with a doctor who knows your medical history. A prescription is needed for nitroglycerin.

How to take nitroglycerin gel for ED

Nitroglycerin use is managed by your doctor. Don’t use or apply this topical treatment without guidance.

According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the concentration studied was 0.2 percent, which Brito says likely explains why the effect was best for men with mild ED.

He also points out that other studies used concentrations of 0.2 to 0.8 percent for patients with more severe ED, who likely needing higher concentrations.

In general, Brito says people prescribed nitroglycerin by their doctor should apply a small amount (pea-sized) to the head of the penis.

Side effects and contraindications

Nitroglycerin is certainly not for everyone. According to a 2018 review, taking nitroglycerin-based medications with certain PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra is contraindicated. Using them together can result in a sudden and serious decrease in blood pressure and potentially death.

According to Brito, some drawbacks of topical nitroglycerin include possible transmission to the partner, which can lead to the partner sharing in side effects, especially low blood pressure. This can lead to headache and nasal congestion.

Other treatments for ED

There are several treatments available for ED, including:

  • oral medications that include PDE5 inhibitors such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). Other oral medications include vardenafil HCL (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra)
  • erectile dysfunction pump (penis or vacuum pump)
  • penile injections
  • inflatable penile prosthesis
  • psychotherapy (talk therapy) for emotional or psychological issues related to ED
  • suppositories (Alprostadil)
  • counseling
  • diet modifications
  • exercise
  • stress reduction

The takeaway

Although some research points to the effectiveness of nitroglycerin gel or cream for improving the symptoms of ED, it’s currently not approved by the FDA as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

If you have ED or think you may have ED, it’s important that you talk with a doctor about any treatment options. They can talk with you about the range of options, including lifestyle modifications, counseling, oral agents, penis pumps, surgery, and implants.

This Secret Muscle in Your Penis Makes You Seem Smaller Than You Are

This Secret Muscle in Your Penis Makes You Seem Smaller Than You Are

And more eye-opening insights from a leading urologist’s new book.

By Piet Hoebeke
Nov 18, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’s Health

Edited for content

The following is an excerpt from Members Club: A User’s Guide to the Penis, a new book by urologist Piet Hoebeke, M.D., Ph.D.


Funnily enough, the average penis in humans is far longer than strictly necessary. Gorillas and chimpanzees do it with a lot less and they still manage to fertilize their females. When erect, a grown gorilla has a penis length of four centimeters, and a chimpanzee erection measures eight centimeters. With an average length of over 13 centimeters, humans outshine their close relatives.

What do we have to thank for the over-proportional size? Usually, natural selection does away with characteristics that don’t serve a function–for example, the body hair that humans for the most part have lost. Things that aren’t needed are done away with, because making excess tissue wastes energy.

So why does man have such a long penis?

The answer is because, alongside natural selection, there is another mechanism at play: sexual selection. Natural selection ensures that a species adapts optimally to its environment, sexual selection supplies the characteristics to give a species the greatest chance of mating. Therefore, sexual selection exaggerates some characteristics without natural selection undoing them. Think of the long, colorful tails of birds of paradise or peacocks. For one reason or another, female birds like a long tail, so a male with a long tail has more chance of reproducing, even if such an impractical attachment increases the risk of him being caught by a predator.

In the animal kingdom, we see an endless range of tactics for attracting potential partners. The huge chest muscles of male gorillas are another example. The male gorilla has an imposing presence, even though he only has a small penis. Homo sapiens generally flaunt a smaller muscular structure, but they have the largest penis of all primates, in terms of both proportion to body height and absolute length. This points to sexual selection.

Exactly how this came about in evolution, we don’t know. There were no scientists around at the time observing primitive humans. We suspect the civilization process played a role in it. For a long time, man was a predator; a hunter-gatherer searching for food in the wild. Physical fitness was necessary to survive. At a certain time–or, even, over a period of time–humans became farmers. We took nature into our own hands and brute strength slowly lost importance. With farming, it wasn’t about who could run fastest or jump furthest; it was who could produce the most from his land. The physical characteristics needed to impress females became less prominent. Perhaps that is why, as compensation, the penis grew bigger.

Coitus was a brief affair in primitive humans. There was no foreplay: humans lived in a threatening environment and men were well aware that others could be close by on the look-out for a woman who was ready for sex. The faster they could deposit their sperm, the better. And how did women know that a man was ready for sex? Attraction is a game of smell, pheromones, blushing cheeks and deep breathing, but the most important sign of arousal is the erection. Because sex had to take place so quickly, a large penis facilitated a quick selection.

Over time, humans started wearing clothes and that created a nice paradox: the very fact that humans were covering up their body made the penis more prominent. For that we have a muscle to thank that has since lost its function.

Most mammals have a layer of muscle under the skin. Horses, for example, can use it to twitch their skin to get rid of flies. Primitive humans could do that too. Now we only have the remains of such a muscle in the human body, for example in the groin, where we have the fascia of Scarpa. We also still have one of these superficial muscles in the neck, a small muscle in the hand, and a muscle in the skin of the scrotum and penis: the dartos muscle.

Most people with a penis have no idea that there is a muscle around their sex organ, because you can only see it if you look at the penis skin under a microscope. Men don’t walk around displaying biceps in their penis, and the dartos muscle doesn’t let you twitch your penis, either. So what does it do?

Not a single male mammal walks around waving its penis, apart from when a male feels a great desire to mate. In most mammals, the dartos muscle neatly tucks the flaccid penis inside the body. When Homo sapiens walked around naked, their penis was also hidden from view. When you’re climbing over sharp rocks or running through thorny bushes, you want to keep your genitalia as close as possible to the body. Only with sexual arousal did the dartos muscle relax and the penis come out.

The muscle also runs as far as the skin of the scrotum, where it helps with the temperature regulation of the testicles. Each testicle is connected to a vas deferens which is also surrounded by a muscle. When the testicles get too warm, the vasa deferentia let the testicles hang down; if it suddenly gets cold, they tuck the testicles in. At the same time, the dartos muscle contracts the skin of the scrotum. That’s why your penis looks small if you swim in cold water.

As people started to wear clothes, the purpose of this muscle diminished. Clothing took on its protective role, and men with a strong dartos muscle no longer had an evolutionary advantage from this. Natural selection did its work, but a redundant body part doesn’t disappear in 20 or even 100 generations. In 10,000 years there have been around 330 generations, but the dartos muscle is still there.

It’ll keep the penis company for a while longer, but it just does less than before. The penis and scrotum are no longer drastically drawn inside the body of modern man; at most they shrivel up a little.

Some men might be sorry that the dartos muscle is an involuntary muscle, over which they have no control. I can imagine that some would jump at the chance to make their penis look longer in a communal changing room. But, alas, the dartos muscle only relaxes at higher temperatures or in the case of moderate arousal. In the case of strong sexual arousal, the dartos muscle contracts again, to prepare for ejaculation.

An erect penis doesn’t decrease in size because of this, but the testicles are pressed closer to the body. Two penises can be exactly the same length when erect, but the man with an active dartos muscle will appear to have the smallest penis when flaccid. He might think to himself about the other man: Blimey, he’s well hung! But what he could perhaps think is: Poor thing, he’s got a bit of a lazy dartos muscle there!

Therein lies the second paradox that burdens the male member. As I mentioned earlier, compared to other animals, men have an oversized penis. Because it also hangs outside the body, it catches the eye even more. So what do men do? They compare. And then all too quickly they come to the conclusion: Oh no, mine is too small.

Funnily enough, many men–and women–don’t even know how long the average penis is.

 

Reducing The Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction With Nutrition

Reducing The Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction With Nutrition

Posted on Jun 01, 2020, 4 p.m.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on WORLDHEALTH.NET

Edited for content

At some point in their lives most men will struggle with penile health issues, when it comes to this these issues involve more than erections, ejaculations, and reproduction as poor penile health can be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Additionally issues that affect the penis can also impact other areas of your life including emotionally and socially. Bottom line is that routine maintenance in this area can also help to ensure optimum performance which includes managing stress, getting enough sleep, being physically active, and following a healthy well balanced diet. According to research from Harvard University men should masturbate (routine maintenance) 21 times a month to reduce the odds of prostate cancer by 33%.

Simply masturbating 21+ times a month is not enough to guarantee to avoid prostate cancer, but added to a healthy diet full of organic produce, getting enough sleep, managing stress, being active and exercising, this will go a long way. Ian Kerner, PhD,  recommends a plant based diet and incorporating plenty of fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as “consuming red foods such as tomatoes that are rich in lycopene, as well as soy products that contain isoflavones, along with getting regular physicals that include a prostate exam, and plenty of exercise.

Diet and nutrition play a bigger part in health than most people understand, and this includes penile health. Certain types of food have been shown to affect penis health, for example studies have shown that diets rich in flavonoids, which occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction in men under the age of 70.

There are many things that can affect an erection like poor health, smoking, and certain medications. Following a sub par diet, how much you eat, and how often you eat can affect your mood, energy levels, blood flow, and hormones which are all very important to your sex life.

It stands to reason that if certain foods can boost your erection, keep sperm healthy, and boost testosterone levels then eating habits exist that can also kill your libido. Unhealthy fats and added sugars can exacerbate erectile issues, and lower testosterone levels. Alcohol is a depressant which can numb the feeling of sexual stimulation, alter the blood flow in/out of the penis, and decrease testosterone levels sapping libido, energy, and moods.

Achieving and maintaining an erection requires good blood flow and plenty of nitric oxide. Flavonoids have been shown to improve cardiovascular health by helping to increase blood flow and the concentration of nitric oxide in the blood. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, other choices include tea, citrus fruits, berries, apples, legumes, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, tea, grapes, celery, red peppers, ginger, red cabbage, asparagus, and leafy greens.

Pistachios are good for more than a snack, a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research suggests that consuming these nuts for several weeks improved several parameters of ED including improved International Index of Erectile function scores, improved cholesterol levels and improved blood pressure with no notable side effects being observed.

Watermelon may help to improve sexual function as a study from Texas A&M University found connections between ED and watermelon, suggesting that citrulline found in watermelon helped to relax blood vessels and improved blood flow in a similar manner as to medications for ED.

Bananas are a great source of potassium which is great for keeping the heart and circulation strong. Potassium also keeps blood pressure in check by stabilizing sodium levels. Bananas are also a rich source of vitamin B which helps to increase energy levels, and combat stress that can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which can help to enhance blood flow and enhance erectile function by helping to relax your arteries easing the way for blood to flow to the entire body without exception, including your penis. Salmon also contains vitamin D, selenium and magnesium which are all required to support testosterone levels and healthy sperm.

Anthocyanins are great for cardiovascular health, cherries are loaded with anthocyanins, which are flavonoids, that help to protect your artery walls and help prevent fatty plaques from forming in the arteries ensuring good blood flow and circulation.

Soluble fiber such as that in oatmeal has been shown to be great for satiety, fighting inflammation, to lower cholesterol levels and helps to keep your blood vessels smooth, healthy and stretchy, which also can apply to penis health.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli can help to combat cancer, and the high vitamin C content helps to boost blood circulation and it has been linked to an improved libido. Cruciferous veggies such as bok choy, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts also contain glucobrassicins which help to clear the body of excess oestrogen which may help to boost your sex drive.

The antioxidant phytochemical resveratrol helps to open arteries by enhancing the production of nitric oxide, production of nitric oxide allows blood vessels to expand, and increases blood flow. Resveratrol works by expanding the tiny and main arteries in the penis much like medications for ED. It also helps to block enzymes that trigger the body to push away testosterone, which will help maintain high levels of the hormone and strong erections that should last well beyond foreplay.

After reaching the age of 30 testosterone levels begin to decrease, fortunately there are simple diet fixes that may help you, and because your brain, heart and penis are all intimately connected this is also good for your overall health and well being. Aging also affects your penis, as a result many men experience erectile difficulties, if you are one of them please consult with your physician as it can be an indication of an underlying condition that shouldn’t be ignored. Your physician can work with you to help determine the cause and work towards a solution, often lifestyle changes can help.

Male Sexual Worries: Trends in the Post-Viagra Age

Male Sexual Worries: Trends in the Post-Viagra Age

This article is a repost which originally appeared on SciTechDaily

Edited for content

Trends in reasons for visiting a the San Raffaele sexual health clinic. Credit: This diagram appears with the permission of the authors and the International Journal of Impotence Research. The EAU thanks the authors, and the journal for their cooperation.

Scientists report a change in why men seek help for sexual problems, with fewer men complaining about impotence (erectile dysfunction) and premature ejaculation, and more men, especially younger men, complaining about low sexual desire and curvature of the penis (Peyronie’s disease).

Presenting the work at the European Association of Urology (virtual) Congress, after recent acceptance for publication, research leader Dr. Paolo Capogrosso (San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy) said:

“Over a 10 year period we have seen a real change in what concerns men when they attend sexual health clinics. This is probably driven by greater openness, and men now accepting that many sexual problems can be treated, rather than being something they don’t want to talk about.”

The success of erectile dysfunction treatments such as Viagra and Cialis, and the availability of new treatments, means that men facing sexual problems have now have treatments for sexual problems which weren’t available a generation ago. Now researchers at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan have studied why men come to sexual health clinics, and how this has changed over a 10-year period.

In what is believed to be the first research of its kind, the scientists questioned 3244 male visitors to the San Raffaele Hospital Sexual Health Clinic in Milan over a 10 year period (2009 to 2019), and classified the main reason for the visit. They found that the number of patients visiting with erectile dysfunction problems increased from 2009 to 2013, then started to decrease.

There were comparatively few patients complaining of low sex drive or Peyronie’s disease in 2009, but complaints about both of these conditions grow from 2009 to the end of the study. In 2019 men were around 30% more likely to report Peyronie’s disease than in 2009, and around 32% more likely to report low sexual desire.

The amount of men complaining of premature ejaculation dropped by around 6% over the 10-year period. The average age of first attendance at the clinical also dropped, from a mean of 61 to 53 years.

“Erectile dysfunction is still the main reason for attending the clinic, but this number is dropping, whereas around 35% of men attending the clinic now complain of Peyronie’s disease, and that number has shown steady growth,” said Paolo Capogrosso. “Our patients are also getting younger, which may reflect a generational change in attitude to sexual problems.”

Dr. Capogrosso continued “We need to be clear about what these figures mean. They do not indicate any change in the prevalence of these conditions, what they show is why men came to the clinic. In other words, it shows what they are concerned about. The changes probably also reflect the availability of treatments; as treatments for sexual conditions have become available over the last few years, men are less likely to suffer in silence.”

These are results from a single centre, so they need to be confirmed by more inclusive studies. “Nevertheless there seems to be a growing awareness of conditions such as Peyronie’s disease, with articles appearing in the popular press*. In addition, we know that the awareness of this condition is increasing in the USA and elsewhere, so this may be a general trend,**” said Dr. Capogrosso.

Commenting, Dr Mikkel Fode (Associate Professor of Urology at University of Copenhagen), said:

“Although these data are somewhat preliminary as they stem from single institution they are interesting because they allow us to formulate several hypotheses. For example the drop in men presenting with erectile dysfunction may mean that family physicians are becoming more comfortable addressing this issue and that the patients are never referred to specialized centers. Likewise, the simultaneous drop in age at presentation and increase in Peyronie’s disease and low sex drive could indicate that both men and their partners are becoming more mindful to optimizing their sex lives. I will be very interesting to see if these trends are also present in other centers around the world.”

Dr. Fode was not involved in this work, this is an independent comment.

References:

* “Trends in reported male sexual dysfunction over the past decade: an evolving landscape” by Edoardo Pozzi, Paolo Capogrosso, Luca Boeri, Walter Cazzaniga, Rayan Matloob, Eugenio Ventimiglia, Davide Oreggia, Nicolò Schifano, Luigi Candela, Costantino Abbate, Francesco Montorsi and Andrea Salonia, 1 July 2020, International Journal of Impotence Research.

** “The Prevalence of Peyronie’s Disease in the United States: A Population-Based Study” by Mark Stuntz, Anna Perlaky, Franka des Vignes, Tassos Kyriakides and Dan Glass, 23 February 2016, PLOS ONE.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150157
PMCID: PMC4764365

PRP for Erectile Dysfunction: Research, Benefits, and Risks

Can PRP Treat Erectile Dysfunction? Research, Benefits, and Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Kevin O. Hwang, MD, MPH — Written by Daniel Yetman on March 6, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content

What is PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a component of blood that’s thought to promote healing and tissue generation. PRP therapy is used to treat tendon or muscle injuries, stimulate hair growth, and speed recovery from surgery.

It’s also used as an experimental or alternative treatment option for:

  • erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • penis enlargement
  • sexual performance

There’s currently little research on the effectiveness of PRP for ED. In this article, we’re going to break down what scientists have found so far. We’ll also look at alternative treatment options and potential side effects of PRP therapy.

How does it work?

Your blood is made of four different components: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.

Plasma is the liquid part of your blood and makes up about half of its volume. Platelets are critical for helping your blood clot after an injury. They also contain proteins called growth factors that help speed up healing.

The theoretical benefit of PRP for ED is to make the tissue and blood vessels in the penis healthier.

To prepare PRP, a medical professional takes a small sample of your blood and spins it in a machine called a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates the plasma and platelets from the other parts of your blood.

The resulting PRP mixture has a much higher concentration of platelets than regular blood. Once the PRP is developed, it’s injected into your penis. This is called the Priapus Shot, or P-Shot.

The P-Shot is a quick procedure, and you’ll likely be able to leave the clinic in about an hour. You also don’t have to do anything to prepare in advance for the procedure.

What does the research say?

Many clinics offering PRP for ED claim that it’s effective, but there’s limited scientific evidence to support their claims. Using PRP for ED is experimental, and its effectiveness is still under review.

A 2020 review looked at all the research available to date on PRP therapy for male sexual dysfunction. The review looked at three animal studies and two human studies for ED. The studies didn’t report any major adverse reactions to PRP therapy.

The researchers concluded that PRP has the potential to be a useful treatment option for ED. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the studies had small sample sizes, and there weren’t adequate comparison groups.

More research is needed to understand the benefits of PRP treatment. The current evidence is mostly anecdotal.

How does PRP compare to other ED treatments?

At this time, it isn’t clear if undergoing PRP therapy will help improve symptoms of ED. Traditional treatment options might be a better alternative until more research is available.

Many people with ED have success with traditional treatment options, which usually target the underlying cause of ED. Your doctor can evaluate you for potential causes of ED, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes, and recommend the best treatment option for you.

Common ED treatments include:

  • Medications. ED medications allow the blood vessels in the penis to relax and increase blood flow.
  • Lifestyle changes. Becoming more physically active, eating a healthier diet, and quitting smoking all have the potential to improve ED.
  • Talk therapy. Talk therapies might help improve ED if it’s a result of psychological causes, such as anxiety, stress, or relationship problems.
  • Targeting underlying conditions. ED is often caused by an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. Treating these conditions has the potential to improve erection quality.
How much does PRP cost?

Few insurance plans currently cover PRP because it’s still considered an experimental treatment. The cost of the P-Shot can range widely among clinics. According to the Hormone Zone, the P-Shot procedure costs about $1,900. However, some clinics may charge up to $2,200 for treatment.

According to the 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, the average doctor fee for a PRP procedure was $683, not including facility and instrument cost.

Finding a doctor

If you’re interested in having PRP treatment for ED, talk to your doctor. They can answer your questions about PRP and refer you to a specialist who performs the treatment. Globally, there are at least 683 registered clinics that can administer PRP for ED.

PRP is usually performed by a doctor or surgeon. However, laws on who can perform the treatment may vary between countries.

When looking for somebody to perform PRP, check their medical credentials to make sure they’re licensed by a medical board before you make an appointment.

If possible, you may also want to speak to one of their previous clients to see if they were happy with their results.

Risks and side effects

The 2020 review mentioned earlier found no major adverse effects in the study participants. However, researchers can’t say whether or not PRP is a safe treatment for ED until more research comes out.

As of now, there have been few clinical trials, and the sample sizes have been too small to make any conclusions.

PRP is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction since the substance being injected is coming from your body. However, as with any type of injection, there’s always a risk of complications, such as:

  • infection
  • nerve damage
  • pain, including pain at the injection site
  • tissue damage
  • bruising
Takeaway

PRP therapy is still an experimental treatment. At this time, it isn’t clear if PRP can help treat ED. The procedure is relatively expensive and isn’t covered by most insurance companies.

Early research looks promising, but until studies with large sample sizes and control groups come out, you may want to stick with traditional ED treatments.

If you’re having trouble getting an erection, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can test you for underlying medical conditions that may be causing ED and recommend an appropriate treatment.