Penis Enlargement Pills: Side Effects, Risks and Effectiveness

What Are Penis Enlargement Pills?

Penis enlargement pills are dietary supplements that are purported to increase penis size, but there is no clinical evidence supporting these claims. The majority of these supplements and pills being marketed do not require FDA approval and are not required to prove that they are safe and/or effective.

Since supplements are not regulated like drugs, it becomes easier for ingredients to be mislabeled or listed in the wrong amounts on the package. This can make it difficult to know for certain how they will impact your health.

Sometimes referred to as male enhancement pills, these products are often purchased by men who are concerned about their penis size. In fact, some men incorrectly believe that their penis is smaller than the average, which research shows to be between 5.1 to 5.5 inches. (1)

Men who have average-sized penises but believe that they are below average may have a psychological condition called penile dysmorphic disorder. This condition can cause severe anxiety in men regarding their penis size.

Although the majority of men will have a normal penis size and length, there are conditions that can cause a penis to be smaller in size. For instance, micropenis is a rare condition where the penis is significantly smaller than the average.

An adult male who’s stretched penile length is 3.67 inches or less is characterized as having micropenis. This condition can be linked to hormonal imbalances in some cases.

Also, Peyronie’s disease is a condition where the erect penis is bent, which can also make the penis appear shorter.

How Are These Products Supposed To Work?

A number of companies who make penis enlargement pills claim that their formulas work by combining herbs, vitamins, minerals and hormones. Although there is a growing market for supplements that claim to increase penis size, the amount of research that has been done on these products to verify their safety is little to none.

These pills can sometimes contain unlisted ingredients that are normally used treat ED. This can make it easier to get and keep an erection, and to feel like the penis is larger as a result.

Some companies claim that penis enlargement supplements work by achieving the following:

  • Increasing testosterone levels
  • Enhancing blood flow to the penis by using vasodilators
  • Including certain nutrients that are supposed to encourage penis growth

Some examples of the types of ingredients found in penis enlargement pills include:

  • Maca root – Maca is a plant that has been used for centuries to improve sex drive and sexual performance.
  • L-arginine – L-arginine is an amino Acid that boosts nitric oxide in the body and increases blood flow. Manufacturers claim that this stimulates the growth of new penis tissue.
  • Tongkat ali – Also known as Longjack, tongkat ali is commonly believed to raise testosterone levels
  • Ginseng – Ginseng has long been used to increase sex drive, reduce inflammation and boost blood flow.

However, the limited amount of research that has been conducted shows that these products are not effective, and that some of them can potentially cause harmful side effects. (2)

Do Penis Enlargement Pills Work?

Even though companies that sell penis enlargement pills claim that their products can increase the size of the penis, there is no evidence that they can increase penile length or girth.

After you look beyond the hype surrounding penis enlargement pills you will find that most claims are unsupported by the evidence. Because supplements are not regulated, there is no requirement to list all of the ingredients or prove their effectiveness.

To better understand the risks and benefits of taking any supplement, consult your healthcare professional.

 Related: The Top 5 Products to Get A Bigger Penis That Actually Work 

Risks and Side Effects of Penis Enlargement Pills

Certain ingredients found in penis enlargement supplements can interact with certain medications and health conditions.

One study found that the most commonly used ingredients in penis enlargement supplements are yohimbe, maca root, horny goat weed and ginkgo biloba. While the study noted that these ingredients are not effective at increasing penis size, they can potentially cause changes in mood, anxiety, and even hallucinations. (3)

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) states that many sexual enhancement products being marketed contain unlisted active ingredients that can be dangerous. These ingredients might include drugs like sildenafil or tadalafil, which are the active ingredients found in Cialis and Viagra. (4)

These medications are used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) as well as an enlarged prostate – however, they have absolutely no effect on penis size.

According to research, all-natural penis enhancement pills that are sold as dietary supplements can cause negative effects, including dangerously low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, as well as the possibility of an increased risk for cancer. People with heart conditions or those taking blood pressure medication could experience unsafe drops in blood pressure, leading to:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Poor concentration

These risks may partly be due to unlisted active components, such as sildenafil. Sildenafil can interact with prescribed medications  containing nitrates, like nitroglycerin. Nitrates are sometimes used to treat high blood pressure or heart disease. These two medications may interact to cause dangerously low blood pressure.

Additionally, many manufacturers don’t disclose how much yohimbe they use in their products, according to the NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health). Yohimbe can cause anxiety and increase the likelihood of seizures and heart attack.

Those who take antidepressant MAOIs (monoamine-oxidase inhibitors) should avoid using yohimbe to prevent potential side effects. These drugs include antidepressants such as Nardil and Parnate.

Ginkgo biloba extract can also be a risk according to the NCCIH. The risk of bleeding can be increased if the person is using blood thinners. Other potential adverse reactions include headache, rashes, and constipation. (5)

Other Penis Enlargement Options

Other products and methods are available that claim to increase the size of your penis. Here is a quick overview of some of the products and treatments being offered.

Penis Extenders

As the name implies, penile extenders (also referred to as traction devices) stretch the penis for extended periods of time, which can result in increased penis length. These devices can also be helpful for men with Peyronie’s disease.

The penis is strapped to the device and is worn for anywhere between 4-12 hours each day. Using light tension, the length of the penis is gradually increased over time.

One study showed that penile traction devices can increase penis length by as much as two inches. (6) Traction devices were also found to be effective at improving penile curvature and erectile function, and it did not cause any negative effects.

However, if these devices aren’t used correctly, adverse reactions can occur, including:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Nerve damage

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using these devices to avoid injury and side effects.

 Recommended: SizeGenetics Penis Extender 

Vacuum Penis Pumps

Vaccum pumps are used by men to increase penis size and improve erection quality. These work by placing the device over the penis and pumping the air out to create a vacuum. The force of the vacuum pulls blood into the penis, causing it to become much larger.

Penis pumps create an immediate but temporary increase in size, but over time the gains become more permanent. However, these devices must be used properly, as incorrect use can lead to damage of penile tissue and blood vessels.

Side effects from improper use include:

  • Fluid retention
  • Discoloration
  • Burst capillaries under the skin (petechia)

This is why It’s important to be do your research about how to use penis pumps and which pumps are safest and most effective.

 Recommended: The Bathmate Hydro Pump 

Penis Enlargement Exercises

Penis enlargement exercises have been used for centuries, and typically involve manually stretching the penis and jelqing. Jelqing is a technique that involves using your thumb and index finger to stretch the flaccid penis while also forcing blood into the shaft.

This technique can increase the length or girth of the penis and improve blood flow. However, if done incorrectly, these techniques can cause side effects, including:

  • Bruising and discoloration
  • Pain or soreness
  • Formation of scar tissue (fibrosis)
 Recommended: PE Method – Penis Exercise Program 

Enlargement Creams and Lotions

Penis enlargement creams, lotions, oils and gels contain ingredients such herbal aphrodisiacs and nutrients that are claimed to increase the size of the penis. But, just as with penis pills, there is absolutely no evidence that these products increase penis size.

However, these products can help with sexual performance, including improving erection quality and staying power.

Additionally, enlargement creams and lotions aren’t regulated and could contain harmful ingredients, which is why it’s important to use only reputable brands that have a proven track record of safety and effectiveness. Otherwise, adverse effects could occur for people who use products that may be made with sub-standard ingredients and poor manufacturing practices, including:

  • Burning or itching
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Rashes or hives
 Recommended: Expansil Cream 

Surgical Procedures

According to the Urology Care Foundation, penis enlargement surgery is only recommended for those with a stretched penis length of less than 3 inches. However, enlargement surgery carries significant risks, is expensive, and typically involves substantial discomfort and inconvenience.

There are a few surgical procedures that are available for penis enlargement, including:

  • Fat Removal: In this procedure, surgeons use liposuction to remove fat from the pubic area of the pelvis (mons pubis). This allows more of the penis to be exposed, giving it a larger appearance.
  • Cutting the Suspensory Ligament: This procedure involves a surgeon severing the suspensory ligament, where the penis is attached to the public bone. This allows more of the penis to extrude, making it appear longer. While this procedure can be used to increase the length of the penis, it may also cause erectile problems.
  • Fat transfer: This involves a doctor taking fat out of other areas of the body and injecting it into your penis to increase girth. This procedure can cause lumps, scarring, and infection. Additionally, the effects of this procedure may not be permanent, as the fat can be absorbed back into the body.
  • Silicone implants: A penis enlargement procedure known as Penuma involves placing a silicone implant sheath around the penis in order to increase its length and width. While the FDA has cleared the device for cosmetic enhancement, it’s a very expensive procedure that’s not covered by insurance and costs around $15,000 out of pocket.

Undergoing surgery for penis enlargement is considered to be very risky, and most doctors do not believe the procedures are worth the potential dangers. Generally speaking, surgery is recommended only as a last resort for certain conditions.


Penis enlargement pills are often sold by companies as dietary supplements. They claim that they can increase the size of your penis safely and effectively.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support the claims that penis enlargement pills are effective. In fact, studies show that these supplements can actually be dangerous because they could contain ingredients normally used in prescription drugs.

For men who are unhappy with their penis size, the only proven methods that are safe and effective are penis extenders, vacuum pumps and penis exercises.