Penis Pumps – Effective? Safe? Scary?

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Another blog inspired by sexual health outreach presentations - this time it's all about penis pumps. Do they work? Are they safe? Your questions answered.

penis pumps on display at an adult retail venue

Photo: Barbara Doduk

Penis pumps on display at a adult retail venue.

As Dr. Debby reflected on the increase in questions about anal sex (which also happened at our presentation last night, although it focused more on stimulation of the prostate rather than anal sex itself), I’d like to chat about another topic that came up more than I expected: penis pumps.

To be fair, we also talked about vagina pumps but penis pumps are slightly more common and well-known.

Penis Pumps: The Basics

Maybe a few basics about penis pumps are in order. According to the Wikipedia page on “penis enlargement” a penis pump is:

a cylinder that is fitted over the penis, with a manual or motorized pump to create suction. As the apparatus creates a vacuum around the penis, blood is drawn into the penis, helping it to become engorged. As vacuum increases, the difference between the inner blood-pressure and the pump pressure increases as well; excessive pressure causes vascular damage rather than a harder penis.

Some information from this site (which might have one of the best domain names ever) indicates that penis pumps make the penis “harder, faster” and gives an “informative” explanation of four types of penis pumps. I’m not sure how “simple physics” of forcing blood flow into the penis can make it faster, but these guys are obviously focused on selling their products, so it works for me. The site isn’t totally irresponsible, offering this warning:

Keep in mind that over pumping be dangerous. In some cases, the pumped up tissues can take a week or more to return to normal. And extreme or prolonged pumping can result in permanent damage to blood vessels in the penis and the penile tissues.

So, they get points for that. That’s one point that we talked about last night during our presentation. While penis pumps might give the illusion of making the penis bigger, they’re really just creating some suction which then increases blood flow to the area. Perhaps a worthwhile treatment for erectile dysfunction, but not worth the cost or potential risk in my opinion.

Other articles have pointed out that endorsements from the American Urological Association give the penis pump slightly more legitimacy, saying that a penis pump or vacuum constriction device (VCD) might be useful for men with erectile dysfunction who did not experience success with PDE5-inhibitor drugs drugs like Viagra.

Penis Pump Safety

Other respectable medical establishments like the Mayo Clinic also have webpages about the uses of penis pumps, with appropriate warnings and side effects listed. However, the research on penis pump safety and effectiveness is lacking, as with most pleasure-oriented scientific research around sexuality and sex toys.

You can read a reader question about them answered by Dr. Debby in her In & Out column to see what people want to know about penis pumps, which mostly boil down to two questions: “Do they make my penis bigger?” and “Are they safe?” I think the jury is still out on the last question and the links and information included here make certain that the first question is answered with a resounding “No!”

I love that my job includes typing in the phrase “penis pump” into both Google and academic search engines.

Natalie Ingraham (M.P.H.)

is a recent graduate of Indiana University and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology at University of California San Francisco.
More posts by this author »

Comments

  • ouadamantite

    When it comes to penis enlargement or marirea penisului most people tend to buy different accessories which really work (some better than others) but I don't get it with the pills. Would people really expect to grow their equipment with pills ?

  • http://www.adulttoyroom.com Adult Toys

    Totally agree with the answer of “no” to do they increase the penis size. Maybe for a few minutes due to an increase in blood, but that's about it.

  • Liam Parkin

    Almost every man in the world dreams of having bigger and longer penises.

  • http://www.discreet-romance.com sex toys

    it will create nothing but blisters and possible blood vessel burstings. only experienced users can get a temporary joy from it. yes, it will expand your penis by a small fraction. but you can gain the same size from different exercises to increase blood flow
    ___________
    sex toys

  • http://topproducts.8x1.org/ Best Natural Products

    I'm with Doc Johnson on this one, I can't see how they'd have any beneficial effect. It's not a physical product thats needed, it's having the confidence in yourself to know that you're size isn't so important. Cliche? Well probably.

    Hell, just go and buy yourself a Ferrari. ;-)

  • BUY SYBIAN

    must agree! penis pumps do not work as promised!
    it is better to do some exercises!

  • viplove8673

    i m indian plz tell me how to purchase me this product

  • richardhoy

    ED isn't just about losing your erections. It's a lot tougher than that.

    It's about self esteem and confidence.

    It's about still feeling like a man…

    An erection develops when blood flows into the three chambers of the penis.

    When you become aroused, the smooth muscles that line the arteries in the penis relax, which allows the blood to flow inside the chambers.

    Once the penis is engorged, these arteries constrict, which traps the blood inside, allowing you to maintain the erection.

    That's the technical description.

    Let's talk about you now!

  • chad

    I have been pumping for about 5 yrs.I started because I was curious what it would feel like,and fascinated with the idea of enlargement.I was above average size before I started pumping and was well aware of that.Pumping does make you noticeably larger for a couple of days or more,and its accurate to say its not permanent.I would also like to add that I have never hurt my self from pumping.And I still get healthy erections without pumping .I dont use it to help with a sexual dysfunction ,only for solo sexual pleasure that adds something more to regular masturbating.Its so pleasurable I dont see ever giving it up.

  • http://twitter.com/Markusk38 Marcus Stewart

    Penis pumps can really harm you. Don't use them.