Botox for the Penis: What You Need to Know
- Medical Community Member - August 21st 2018
There is no shortage of demand for solutions to cosmetic and medical issues related to the penis. Concerns about size and sexual function are common and, for that reason, much research has been devoted to finding a “Holy Grail” therapy that provides long-term solutions in an effective and minimally invasive manner. Now, emerging results from sexual health studies have pointed to botulinum toxins, such as Botox, as having the potential to revolutionize how male sexual dysfunctional disorders are treated.
Anatomy of the Human Penis
The penile shaft of the human penis comprises three columns of tissue: two corpora cavernosa, one on either side of the corpus spongiosum. The urethra runs through the center of the corpus spongiosum and is the main passage for urine and semen. At the tip of the penis, the tissue of the corpus spongiosum expands into a structure called the glans penis.
The corpora cavernosa is considered erectile tissue, as it plays a major role in achieving erection. During sexual stimulation, the fibrous tissue of the corpus cavernosa expands as blood flows into the area. As a result, the penis become hard, enlarged, and erect.
Botox Mechanism of Action
Botox paralyzes, and relaxes, treated muscle(s). It acts on nerve endings to prevent acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that tells muscles to move, from reaching the muscles. This effect is not permanent: the effects of Botox are thought to be reversed by the re-innervation of muscle.
Botox for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is that prevents a man from achieving and/or maintaining an erection, even with sexual stimulation. This disorder is very common, particularly in older men. Botox treats ED by relaxing the smooth muscle tissue located within the erectile chamber of the penis. This in turn helps to increase penile blood flow, a key factor in maintaining an erection. A recent pilot study noted the efficacy of Botox treatment in patients that have ED. In this study, men treated with 50 units of Botox administered via intracavernosal injection saw an improvement in their penile arterial blood flow and overall sexual functioning when evaluated two weeks after treatment.
Botox for the Treatment of Premature Ejaculation
The reasoning behind using Botox to treat premature ejaculation stems from the nature of ejaculation, which involves rhythmic contractions of the bulbospongiosus, a superficial muscle that extends from the center of the perineum to the base of the penis, and ischiocavernosus muscles. Relaxing the bulbospongiosus muscle via Botox inhibits these contractions, delaying ejaculation. The potential for Botox to treat premature ejaculation was assessed in an animal study that examined the sexual performances of rats after Botox treatment. In this study, rats that received injections of the toxin to the bulbospongiosus muscle displayed an extended period of ejaculatory latency of 10 minutes compared to the pretreatment average of 4.4 minutes. Additionally, researchers note that this treatment did not affect the rats’ health or ability to achieve intromission or ejaculation.
This study’s promising results have led Botox to be seen as a promising treatment for premature ejaculation.
Botox for Penis Enlargement
The length of one’s penis is a major concern for many men. Unfortunately, there are few available options to correct this cosmetic issue that do not involve costly, high-risk surgery. Botox may soon change this. A study by Shaeer et al. treated patients who had hyperactive penile retraction reflex, where the excessive contraction of the penis (colloquially known as “shrinkage”) results in the appearance of a small penis, with four Botox injections to the dartos muscle, which is the muscle responsible for penile retraction. The results were remarkable: seven out of 10 patients reported a noticeable cessation of penile retraction and an improvement in flaccid penile length. While this study had many limitations—including a small sample size—it nonetheless demonstrated the viability of Botox as a penis enlargement treatment.
Botox is not just for the face! Emerging evidence in the field of sexual heath has demonstrated that it has great potential for treating issues of sexual dysfunction in men, including erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, as well as for the cosmetic enhancement of the penis by increasing its flaccid length.