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Penis Size And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Vinod Raina 90% (6426 ratings)
MD - General Medicine
Sexologist, Delhi  •  18 years experience
Penis Size And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Penis Size and Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Distorted Perceptions

Body dysmorphic disorder - a "mental disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one's own appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it" - has become more well-known in recent years, particularly as it relates to women's feelings about real or imagined imperfections in their bodies. But men can suffer from this too. One of the more common variants of this condition is penile dysmorphic disorder (PDD), a belief that one's member has one or more crucial (and often shameful) flaws - the most common of which is that one's penis size is far below the norm. While this may be a mental health issue, it does have implications for a man's penis health as well, as it may impede penis functionality or may cause physical damage to the organ if a man takes extreme actions to counter it.

Real or Imagined

There are very few statistics about PDD, but many experts feel that most men with PDD are actually men whose penises are of a perfectly adequate size. In other words, while sometimes the issue is real - a man has a penis that is indeed small and places disproportionate importance on this fact - more often the issue is not borne out by reality; that is, a man feels his penis is too small, even if it is average or even above average. For instance, one survey found that 45% of men with adequately sized penises felt theirs was too small.

Real Problems

But PDD can cause very real problems for a man. For example, if he is obsessively concerned about the size of his penis, he may:

- avoid going out on dates for fear of rejection due to his perceived shortcoming;

- worry that he won't be able to continue to fulfill his partner's expectations and may avoid physical intimacy;

- constantly seek reassurance from a partner that his penis is big enough.

Often this conviction that he is too small creates a psychological barrier to sex so that he may experience impotence or other variants of sexual dysfunction. In some cases, he may masturbate compulsively, as a way of trying to convince himself that his penis is normal or because he is too insecure to perform with a partner.

Risk factors

Again, there is need for a great deal of research into PDD, so actual studies are few. But one study did identify what it considers risk factors that may be associated with PDD. Looking at 90 men, those who had PDD were more likely to have had a history of being teased about their penis and were also more likely to have experienced physical and/or emotional abuse.

Interestingly, in this group at least, the average flaccid length of the men with PDD was indeed smaller than the men without PDD; however, there was no difference in the erect penis length, suggesting that "growers" may be more prone to PDD than "showers."

Some doctors also believe that PDD indicates obsessive-compulsive behavior disorder.

Treatment

PDD is a mental health issue and needs to be treated by mental health professionals, but most men who suffer from it perceive it as a physical health issue. As a result, most men with PDD instead search for physical solutions - finding ways to increase their penis size. This can lead to efforts involving pumping, insertion of substances (such as silicone) into the penis, surgical procedures, penis stretching and weight hanging. All these carry physical risks and can impact penis health, especially if used compulsively. Working with a mental health professional is a much safer and generally more productive route to take.

Though a mental health issue, men with PDD still need to take steps to ensure their overall penis health, including using a superior penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Look for a crème with a wide range of vitamins, such as A, B5, C, D and E. Ideally, it should also include a potent antioxidant, such as alpha lipoic acid, to combat unwanted free radicals that can impact penis health.

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