September 15th, 2016
Aging is a natural process which cannot be stopped by any medication or drug. It is noteworthy that advancing age also have some deleterious effects on the physiological functioning of various organs and systems; which can in turn compromise the activity of some vital tissues such as your penis. For example, the risk of certain metabolic and medical health issues increases with advancing age such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. These health issues directly as well as indirectly compromises the health of genitourinary system. It is important to know what physiological changes occur as part of the aging process in order to differentiate the normal changes from the diseased states. In addition, this information also helps you in learning about different treatments or remedies that can restore the optimal functioning of your systems.
Below is a brief account of five age related physiological changes that occurs in your penis as you grow older:
1. Scrotal Sagging
One of the aging effect is reduction in the muscle mass due to which scrotum sags down. With advancing age, most men complaints that their scrotum droops. In some cases, vigorous loss of muscle mass may lead to “Splash down syndrome”, which is marked by complete sinking of penis leading to cosmetic consequences (1). Though, this process cannot be prevented but it can be managed by certain plastic surgery procedures such as scrotoplasty- or scrotum lift surgery.
2. A Permanent Shrinkage Of Penis:
With passage of time your penis does shrink in size due to replacement of normal healthy cells with collagen deposits -or non-elastic fibers (2). Slow but persistent decline in the testosterone levels also reduces the length and girth of penis (2). Although, it is a natural process that affects every aging man, but certain factors can aggravate the shrinking process such as belly fat or obesity. Higher percentage of belly fat can mask the size of penis (due to buried penis syndrome). With every 30 pounds you gain, you lose about a half inch of penile length! Needless to say that there are various weight loss surgeries as well as penile lengthening procedures that can restore your confidence and lost penile length.
3. Curved Penis
Repetitive trauma to penis due to sexual or sport related- activities can lead to penile scarring. Due to persistent accumulation of fibrous tissue, some men can develop a question mark- like curvature of penis. Good thing is that this curvature can be corrected via botulinum toxin (Botox) injections. Research indicates that Botox injections helps in the removal of plaques that hold these accumulated scars thus, fixing the penile curve.
4. Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a fairly common side effect of advancing age, which affects about 50% men over the age of 50 years and more than 70% males over the age of 70 years (3). The primary pathophysiology revolves around thickening of blood vessels that are responsible for supplying blood to penile sinuses. Several treatment options are available today to manage erectile dysfunction in men; such as pills, injections and penile implants as well. This condition can be avoided if a healthy lifestyle is maintained since an early age. Exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet can help keeping erectile dysfunction at bay even at an old age.
5. Penile Cancer
The incidence of prostate and testicular cancers increases as a man ages and many men are aware of this fact. In addition, skin cancer of penis is also a major concern for men who frequently get themselves tanned via tanning beds or those who are not circumcised and do not maintain optimal genital hygiene. The worst possible consequence of penile skin cancer is removal of penis! Although, the prevalence of penile skin cancer is low in general population; but it is strongly advised to avoid the use of tanning beds and maintain adequate genital hygiene to minimize the risk of developing malignant lesions.
It is imperative to mention that most aging related issues of penis responds very well to pharmacological and surgical interventions. Speak to your primary care provider to learn about other viable and functional solutions to address your genitourinary complaints.
1. Toda, N. (2012). Age-related changes in endothelial function and blood flow regulation. Pharmacology & therapeutics, 133(2), 159-176.
2. Abidu-Figueiredo, M., Costa, W. S., Chagas, M. A., Sampaio, F. J. B., & Cardoso, L. E. D. M. (2013). Age-related changes in the concentration of elastic fibers in different regions of the rabbit penis. Acta Cirurgica Brasileira, 28(5), 378-384..
3. Rajfer, J. (2012). The aging penis: what is it trying to tell us?. Translational andrology and urology, 1(1), 58.
4. Minkin, M. J. (2016). Sexual health and relationships after age 60. Maturitas, 83, 27-32.
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