The journey for the majority of small dick adults begin in childhood for most men. Although some men started out in life with an average sized penis, but it shrunk when they were older due certain diseases, morbid obesity, or long-term medication usage. This fact sheet will discuss the issues from childhood onwards. This is important because many of the issues small penis adults develop later in life are a result of how the situation was handled when they were boys/teens.
Advice for Parents
It can be a fear for parents that their son may grow up with a small penis, or approach them at some stage (usually at puberty) and express fear that their penis is smaller than that of their peers. It can be a very difficult subject for parents to talk about with their sons as being an adult with a small penis isn’t easy due mostly to the ignorant attitudes of society in general.
Parents themselves can have misconceptions about what it means, and may brush over the subject because they themselves lack knowledge or have opinions that incorrectly place importance on the size of the penis. This can lead to their son feeling that something must be wrong with him if his own parents don’t want to talk about it or act embarrassed by his questions. This can ultimately lead to low self-esteem for the teen boy.
Parents can feel like they have failed their son as he is a mixture of their DNA. Parental guilt is not going to help your son through what may be a period of adjustment. This is going to be one of those times when you have to be strong for your child. You have to show leadership, love, and understanding and not force your own ignorant beliefs on your child or your own hang ups about penis size.
Inconspicuous penis refers to a constellation of conditions that make the penis look diminutive and small. This could be secondary to short penile shaft often termed as micropenis. But more commonly, this inconspicuous appearance is secondary to other causes ranging from congenital conditions such as penoscrotal webbing or megaprepuce, developmental conditions like prepubic fat that overhang the penis, and iatrogenic causes like trapped penis after adhesions secondary to circumcision. You can read more information about Inconspicuous Penis here. We will discuss micropenis, as this is the most common form of Inconspicuous Penis.
What is micropenis?
Micropenis simply is an unusually small penis. The most commonly used diagnostic criteria is a penis smaller than 7.7cm (3 inches) for an adult, or 2.5 times smaller than the standard deviation (for the age group) for a child or infant. The condition is usually recognised shortly after birth and affects less than 1% of all males, so it is very uncommon.
Will my son be born with a Small Penis?
Statistically speaking it is unlikely that your unborn son will have a small penis. The condition known as micropenis is usually diagnosed at birth and only affects less than 1% of all males in the world. Most men end up with an average size penis, while those that are small (or large) compared to the average size only represent a small percentage of the whole. So worrying about this while you are pregnant is just a waste of energy.
What Causes micropenis or small penises in general?
- Reduced prenatal androgen production or effect
- Abnormal testicular development (testicular dysgenesis, Klinefelter syndrome, Leydig cell hypoplasia)
- Specific defects of testosterone synthesis, androgen insensitivity syndromes, inadequate pituitary stimulation, and other forms of congenital hypogonadism.
- Micropenis can also occur as part of many genetic malformation syndromes that does not involve the sex chromosomes.
- Several genes effect penis and digit size without detectable hormone abnormalities.
- In-utero exposure to some oestrogen based fertility drugs has been linked to genital abnormalities and/or a smaller than normal penis
While all these conditions sound scary we want to remind you that these still only affect a very small percentage of males born (less than 1%). So there is no likelihood of your child being born with a micropenis.
What if my baby is diagnosed with micropenis?
If it is recognised in infancy, a brief course of testosterone is often prescribed (usually no more than 3 months). This usually induces a small amount of growth, confirming the likelihood of further growth at puberty. Testosterone treatment is resumed in adolescence only for boys with hypogonadism.
Penile growth is completed at the end of puberty, similarly to the completion of height growth, and the provision of extra testosterone to adults produces little or no further growth. Surgical treatments like Phalloplasty is not recommended in childhood and has been shown to have mixed success anyway in adult men with micropenis.
Unfortunately despite the testosterone treatment and surgery as adults, it will be likely that your son will have a small penis for the rest of his life if he was born with micropenis.
Do small penises run in families?
Micropenis is not an inherited condition, but a genetic or hormonal abnormality that occurs in the womb, and can happen in any family. Just because it happens in your family one time, doesn’t mean that any future male born into the family suddenly has a risk of inheriting it. The genetic element is akin to say getting wires crossed causing abnormal things to happen.
Penises that fall in the range of greater then 3 inches long to less than 5 inches can be part of a familial trait, but can also be caused by the abnormalities in the womb that cause micropenises.
I think my prepubescent son has a small penis. What should I do?
The first thing you should do is not act any different around your child or make him feel that there is something wrong with his penis. Then you should see your Doctor and have him/her do a thorough check up (this may involve blood tests). Speak to your Doctor and tell him/her of your concerns and that you want them to check your child’s penis length.
You have to remember that a flaccid penis is not a good indicator of actual penile length and your GP should be able to determine actual erect length by using stretched length as an indicator. This is how they checked him when he was a baby for micropenis. Stretched length most closely correlates with erect length. It is painless and just involves the Doctor stretching and measuring the penis. It is not sexual in any way.
Most eight- to fourteen-year-old boys who are seen by Doctor over such fears do not have a problem at all. Most often the reason the penis looks smaller is because:
- Their soft penis is concealed in suprapubic fat.
- They can have a large body and frame for which a prepubescent penis simply appears too small. So once puberty starts the penis begins to grow and the problem is solved.
- Some boys can have a delayed puberty but the penis grows fine once puberty starts.
If there is an issue then your Doctor can advise you what options you have and may refer you to a Paediatrician, Endocrinologist, or a Urologist for further assessment and treatment. But 99% of the time there is no problem.
What do I tell my Son if he comes to me and says his penis is smaller than his friends?
The first thing to do is don’t panic.
Second thing is be honest. The truth is you may not have ever faced a situation like this in your life. All your knowledge of small penises probably comes from the ignorant views held by society in general. So don’t think you are an expert about it. How you react can have far-reaching effects on your sons mental well-being long into their adult lives. They trust you that’s why they are asking you, so by reacting shocked or making a joke out of it lacks sensitivity. You’re breaking that trust.
Thirdly, sometimes an average sized penis can seem smaller if compared to other males. Especially as soft penis size can give false impressions as some males are growers and some are showers. Also, during puberty teens often develop at different rates, so for a teen male who is a ‘late bloomer’ it can seem like his penis is small compared to his friends. You need to reassure him that for most teen boys who are late to puberty this is only a short-term situation and he will catch up sooner rather than later.
But if you have seen his penis and you are concerned, or he really is having anguish about it the next best thing to do is see your Doctor.
You need to ask them gently if they would show a Doctor who can determine what the actual situation is. We don’t recommend you ask to see his penis yourself as this can be very embarrassing for teens. A Doctor will still be embarrassing but less so, and importantly make sure it is a male Doctor. Never a female Doctor in this situation. Once again the Doctor can check stretched penile length to give him an idea of erect length. That will tell him where your son sits on the scale. More than likely it will be fine.
But if he really does have a small penis for his age and he is otherwise showing signs of puberty, then he can be referred to a Paediatrician, Endocrinologist, Urologist for further assessment.
What if treatments don’t work and he is going to become a small dick adult?
Again you need to be very careful how you act about it. It may be possible that he is already getting some teasing from his peers and so if you or your partner take a negative view you may just further increase his sense of isolation about it. There is a strong possibility that your son could develop low self-esteem and depression if he feels that everyone thinks he is a joke.
You should tell your son that there is more to being a man than having a penis a certain size. Integrity, honesty, respect, and being accountable are the traits that make a man, far more than his penis size. That his self-worth is not measured by his penis size, he is not defined by that one physical attribute alone. Remind him that people have loved him long before this was even an issue, they loved him for who he is, not what he looks like or his physical attributes.
Next you need to give your son some proper sex education. As a parent you need to be honest with him and say that some of his sexual partners in life may prefer a man with a larger penis and that this isn’t his fault. That’s just personal preference. He needs to know what he can do to compensate for his deficiencies. Like we have discussed in other parts of this website: sensual massage, oral sex, toys, and a fertile imagination can create many pleasant sexual experiences with a member of the opposite or same-sex. This along with being a decent human being and a romantic and considerate partner can lead to long and happy life with someone when they’re an adult.
You need to stress that even men with large penises can be bad in bed, or have bad relationships, or be utter useless as men. Much of what he gets out of life depends on his own attitude to himself and other people. There will be bumps along the way, but everyone has them and the important thing is he never gives up trying. He never blames his penis for his problems.
Of course you need to use common sense as to when you tell him these things. Now that you know these things then it is important that you maintain a positive attitude about him and his problems. Even when it seems he isn’t. This is your chance to be a good influence on his life and not condemn him to become a man who suffers severe body dysmorphia and depression that actually prevents him from having the kind of life you have had.
Having a small penis is not a social death sentence, it doesn’t mean he will never marry, and it doesn’t mean he will never have kids. It just gives him a different set of obstacles to face in life and how you react now can set the foundations for success for your son. Choose to ridicule him, sweep it under the carpet, treat him like he’s a leper, and you will set the foundations for him to grow into a maladjusted adult with serious low self-esteem issues.