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You might be tempted to try supplements to help increase your penis size. But, simply put, most penis enlargement supplements just don’t work.

Many people are concerned about their size.

A 2021 research study showed that most men believe the average penis size is bigger than it actually is. They think the average size of an erect penis is more than 6 inches, while the study found the actual average length is around 5.1 inches.

Companies that create penis enlargement products can perpetuate the insecurities many penis owners have that they aren’t big enough. In turn, this can lead many penis owners to look for penis enlargement methods.

But the truth is, many of the products you see advertised as penis enlargement supplements just aren’t effective, and some can even put your health at risk.

Keep reading to learn more about penis enlargement pills and other products to understand their effectiveness and potential risks.

Penis enlargement pills are advertised to help people with penises who are self-conscious about their size. Most dietary supplements and pills aren’t regulated. That means these supplements don’t require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and don’t have to prove they’re safe or effective.

If supplements aren’t regulated, it’s easy for incorrect ingredient types or amounts to be listed on the packaging, which may make it difficult to know how they’ll affect your health.

Sometimes called male enhancement supplements, these pills may also claim to increase energy levels and sexual performance.

Common ingredients

Ginkgo biloba extract is one common ingredient in these types of supplements. Some believe the extract helps increase blood flow and sexual function. However, research showed there’s no relationship between this ingredient and sexual function.

Other common herbal ingredients in penis enlargement pills include yohimbine, maca, and horny goat weed. Research from 2014 showed these are also ineffective and could lead to negative health effects, such as mood changes, anxiety, hallucinations, and addictive behaviors.

One ingredient in some penis enlargement pills is sildenafil, the main active ingredient in erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, like Viagra. Sildenafil could be dangerous at high dosages, especially for people with heart conditions or those taking medication for blood pressure.

All that said, because these supplements are often not FDA regulated, they can contain ingredients that aren’t identified on the label.

Male enhancement products claim to work through a combination of herbal ingredients and medications. Despite the growing market of supplements claiming to be aphrodisiacs, little to no research has been completed to demonstrate how safe these products are.

The little research that has been done showed that these products are ineffective, and some can have potentially dangerous side effects.

Some of the ingredients in penis enlargement supplements could interact with medications or health conditions.

These ingredients include:

  • Yohimbine. This ingredient may change the effectiveness of monoamine oxidase inhibitors, an antidepressant.
  • Ginkgo biloba extract. This ingredient may change the effectiveness of medications that affect the nervous system (such as clozapine, alprazolam, olanzapine). And it may cause mood changes if taken with St. John’s wort, fluoxetine, and melatonin.

People with heart conditions or those taking blood pressure medication could experience unsafe drops in blood pressure leading to:

  • loss of consciousness
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • difficulty concentrating

There’s also the risk for these supplements to cause damage to the penis, affecting penis size and function.

There are other methods and products on the market that claim to help increase penis size. Research from 2010 showed that surgery is the only proven method to increase size. But it’s important to note that surgery is considered high risk and a last resort.

Here are some of the reported methods and products.


Like pills, lotions or oils use ingredients, like vitamins and herbal aphrodisiacs, to increase penis size. But these, like pills, are proven ineffective.

These lotions are unregulated and may contain unsafe ingredients. Some people may experience side effects to lotions containing certain ingredients, like menthol and gingko biloba extract.

These side effects include:

  • allergic reaction
  • rashes
  • burning sensation

Traction devices

Traction devices, also called penile extenders, are devices designed to be worn for an extended time. The main reason people may use a traction device is due to penile shortening secondary to Peyronie’s disease.

The device is strapped to your flaccid penis and worn for several hours every day. Traction devices use gentle tension to gradually stretch the penis.

A small 2011 study suggested that the devices may increase penis size by a half of an inch to up to 2 inches. Larger scale research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of traction devices.

Andropenis is an FDA approved device that may provide results for length and girth. Another option on the market is RestoreX.

Vacuum pumps

Penis pumps, also known as vacuum pumps, are sometimes used for treating ED. It’s considered an option for people who had their prostate removed or are not candidates for ED medications, like Viagra.

Vacuum pumps are sometimes advertised to increase penis size, and pumps can provide a temporarily larger size. However, vacuum pumps may damage tissue or blood vessels in your penis, causing problems with future erections.

A popular vacuum pump brand is Encore Deluxe.


Research from 2020 suggested surgery is the only effective option to increase penis size, but it still carries risks. A few surgical procedures occasionally used for penis enlargement include:

  • injecting fat — from another part of your body — or filler into the shaft of your penis (though the effects may be temporary, as part of the fat or filler can be absorbed)
  • cutting the suspensory ligament and increasing length (though this option may affect the stability of erections)
  • inserting inflatable or flexible implants

Penis enlargement surgeries are considered high risk. Many doctors believe the dangers aren’t worth the risks of surgery when used for cosmetic reasons. Typically, surgery is only recommended as the last treatment option for certain conditions, such as ED.

Most products claiming to help increase penis size simply don’t work as claimed. Many of these products can even cause harm, potentially damaging your penis or interacting with medical conditions or medications.

Before you try any supplements or products, talk with your doctor to see how it might affect your health.

Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a health and wellness writer based in Michigan. Her work helps people understand what affects their health, so they can make informed choices to take back the control in their health and wellness journey.