Is the length of my penis “normal”? Is it too small compared to others, at rest or erect? This is a question that haunts many men often out of insecurities. But, when can we really talk about micropenis?
It is difficult to estimate the proportion of men who actually have a micropenis. However, a simple consultation can usually dispel all concerns, which are often unfounded.
In most cases, the micropenis is diagnosed at birth, and this problem originates during intrauterine life. The development of the boy’s genital system begins at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. By the 8th week, the testes begin to produce testosterone and the penis is formed by the 12th week, then its growth continues over the following months. The development of sexual characteristics continues after birth, under the influence of androgenic hormones.
The micropenis is usually the result of disturbances during one of these stages. When it is obvious that a child has a micropenis, in-depth examinations must complete the clinical observation: hormonal assays, pelvic ultrasound, cerebral MRI … This assessment can make it possible to relate the micropenis to an underlying disorder (testicular insufficiency, pituitary insufficiency, etc…) which will then be treated.
The main diagnostic step is to measure the length of the penis. It should be performed on the dorsal face (opposite the testicles) of the penis at rest, maintained in traction (but not excessively stretched, of course). It takes into account the distance between the base and the end of the exposed glans. The following measurements define a micropenis:
- <2.5 cm at birth (child born at term)
- <2.6 cm at 1 year
- <3.5 cm at 5 years
- <3.8 cm at 10 years
- <4 cm at rest in puberty and adulthood
- <8 cm erect in adulthood
During the exam, doctors will look for abnormalities, particularly affecting the urinary meatus or the curvature of the penis. A micropenis doesn’t necessarily interfere with erectile and urinary function, but it does raise obvious relationship and psychological concerns.
Regarding the treatment, it is first medical, consisting of the injection of testosterone. Work is underway with promising results on the use of testosterone cream in children under 8 years old. At an older age, penile reconstruction (“penile lengthening”) may be offered. However, we should emphasize, and several surveys have shown it, that many men who think they have too small a penis have a length perfectly in line with the average.
Born in London, England and raised in Orlando, FL, Elena graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelors’ degree in English. She later received her masters’ in Creative Writing from Drexel University. She writes part-time for the Scientific Origin and focuses mostly on health related issues.