The Causes of Penile Atrophy

“Penile Atrophy” is never something you want to hear a doctor say about you, or even really think about.

It’s one of those word pairings that just makes men cringe, like “testicular torsion” and “women’s literature.”

Even worse, it’s a natural part of the male aging process.

Remember: our bodies are built to reproduce, preferably before we turn 40. Once we reach a certain age, our body starts to pay less attention to upkeep on the sex department.

That means penile atrophy – the shrinkage of the male gonads – is waiting in all of our futures. The only question is what cause we’ll see first.

1. Penile Atrophy and Low Testosterone

Reduced testosterone can hurt your penis size in two different ways:

  • It results in weaker erections, making its maximum size while erect smaller than before (source)
  • It can cause the clinical condition hypogonadism in which your testicles and penis shrink in size as a result of insufficient testosterone (2).

In either case, low testosterone is the culprit. Nearly all age-related penile atrophy actually happens as a result of your body producing less testosterone in later years.

What to do about it: eat testosterone-friendly foods, reduce your intake of soy and other estrogen-producing substances, exercise more – especially power lifting and sprints, get outside.

2. Penile Atrophy and Arterial Plaque

Arterial plaque is a buildup of calcium, fatty deposits, and similar junk on the insides of your blood vessels.

As it gets worse, the route your blood takes to your penis gets thinner and harder to navigate.

Ultimately, the buildup makes it so blood flow to your junk is slow, unreliable, and infrequent.

Since the size of your erect penis relies on that blood flow, when the flow suffers so does your size.

Further, the same kind of buildup happens in the spongy tissues around your penis.

Their maximum capacity goes down, and with it the size of your erect member.

What to do about it: get cardiovascular exercise, drink pomegranate juice, up your intake of magnesium, vitamins K2 and C, and amino acids.

3. Penile Atrophy and Stress

When you’re stressed out, your body produces a hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol is great for protecting you from injury while in battle with a saber-tooth tiger, or for helping you run away from an enemy at maximum speed.

But too much of it is bad for your long-term health and for your penis (3).

  • First, the stuff can overwhelm testosterone production in your Leydig cells, contributing to overall lower testosterone and all the problems with that I already mentioned.
  • Second, the same process interferes with your Nitrous Oxide production. This is because the last thing a body in danger wants is faster, easier blood flow. So cortisone shuts that down.
  • Finally, cortisone increases your body’s production of aromatase, which eats your testosterone and turns it into estrogen.

You already knew stress was bad for you in general. Now you know it’s bad for you little buddy, too.

What to do about it: get regular moderate exercise, spend time with friends, meditate, take ashwagandha to reduce cortisol production.

4. Penile Atrophy and Smoking

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.

Smokers have smaller penises than non-smokers, according to research at the Boston University School of Medicine (4).

Smoking contributes directly to erectile dysfunction because of the ways it harms your circulatory system.

Smoking cessation improves erectile health in as little as four weeks.

Smoking. Is. Bad. For. You.

What to do about it: quit smoking! This can’t be the first time somebody told you that. And yes, vaping counts as smoking. Knock it off.

6. Penile Atrophy and Belly Fat

Belly fat is bad for your penis size now, and bad for it later on, too.

Right now, the more belly fat your body has, the more estrogen and the less testosterone your system produces (3).

Belly fat stimulates your body to produce that aromatase I mentioned earlier, throwing your sex hormone balance out of whack.

Later on, belly fat creates a vicious cycle. If you’re lean, your body craves exercise and your testosterone production pushes you to do it.

Belly fat makes exercise harder and less fun, and lower testosterone reduces your motivation.

Which means you’re more likely to get fatter than to get rid of the fat you have.

In both cases, it can lead to penile atrophy by way of killing your testosterone levels.

What to do about it: lose 10-15 pounds. Eat right. Exercise more. Keep it off. Bonus points for testosterone-boosting activities like HIIT workouts, power-lifting, and competitive sports.

7. Penile Atrophy and Not Getting Laid

Animal experiments and observational studies of humans confirm that having sex improves sexual health.

Regular orgasms with the help of a partner promote hormonal health vital to maintaining your biggest and hardest erections (5). It’s sort of a “use it or lose it” situation.

Frequent erections keep your penile tissues flexible and ready to absorb all that blood, and the blood flow from those erections delivers necessary nutrients while washing out some of your penile plaque.

Infrequent erections do the exact opposite.

What to do about it: go get laid. If that’s not really on the table for you just now, do exercises where you touch yourself until you’re good and hard but not to orgasm. Masturbation (especially to hard-core pornography) has the opposite effect and can contribute to penile atrophy.

Causes of Penile Atrophy – Conclusion:

Before you go, I need to mention one cause of apparent penile atrophy.

It doesn’t go on the list, because it’s not your penis actually getting smaller.

Instead, if you put on belly fat your penis looks smaller because your belly is overshadowing it.

It’s like how you look normal-sized standing next to normal people, but tiny standing next to a professional wrestler.

The presence of the wrestler doesn’t shrink you, but it makes you look shrunken in the photo you took.

If you’re worried about penile atrophy, consider each item in the list above. Which is the most likely culprit?

What can you do to fight and reverse it, given the probable cause?

You may need to try multiple solutions before you find the one that’s right for your situation.

Luckily, all of the solutions above have benefits for your general health, so no harm done while you’re trying and erring.


The Dark Side of Testosterone Deficiency: I. Metabolic Syndrome and Erectile Dysfunction

Symptoms of sexual dysfunction among men from infertile couples: prevalence and association with testosterone deficiency.

Low Serum Testosterone and Sex-Hormone-Binding-Globulin in Massively Obese Men

Association between Cigarette Smoking and Erectile Tumescence: The Mediating Role of Heart Rate Variability

Sexual Abstinence And Immobilisation Stress Decreased Nitrate + Nitrite Concentration And Increased Necrotic Of Penile Corpus Cavernosum Smooth Muscle And Endothelial Cells Of Adult Male Mice