Male Enhancement Pills

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 15 Jul 2019

Do male enhancement pills really work?

Man in a cafe holding an espresso looking for male enhancement pills on his phone

‘Male enhancement pills’ is the name used for a range of herbal products marketed to improve sexual performance in a few different ways. They aren’t proven to work in the same way real medications do. They might not help with sexual performance, and they definitely won’t improve your penis size, and they do still come with some health risks.

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What are male enhancement pills?

Male enhancement pills are sold in shops and online as natural remedies for improving sexual performance in different ways. They’re usually made from plants, and they often include several different herbal supplements mixed together. Some manufacturers claim that these products can increase penis size or improve sexual performance-related health conditions like erectile dysfunction and low sex drive.

Do male enhancement pills really work?

‘Male enhancement pills’ have not been proven to improve sexual performance in the same way real medications have been. Sometimes they might have a placebo effect, which means you might see some improvement in your sexual performance because you believe you’re getting treatment.

Male enhancement pills are not licensed medications, so they haven’t been studied in the same way actual medications have to make sure they’re safe and effective. Some studies have been done, for example, one study on the effect of a ‘VigRX Plus’ showed it might be more effective than a placebo for men with erectile dysfunction. But one study is not enough to prove products like this actually work, or that they’re safe to take.

Can male enhancement pills improve my penis size?

There’s no way a pill can increase overall penis size. But, if you can’t reach your maximum erection size because of erectile dysfunction, then treatment could help. If a male enhancement pill has any positive effect on erectile dysfunction, then it could help your erection reach its maximum size. But, it still won’t increase your maximum erection size, and you’d be better off trying real medical treatments over male enhancement pills.

The only way to make the penis bigger overall is to get plastic surgery. There are two main types of penis enlargement surgery:

  • Release of the suspensory ligament – to make the penis longer
  • Autologous fat injection – to make the penis thicker

Penis enlargement surgeries only improve the look of a penis. They won’t improve sexual performance overall. There are also some risks involved in penis enlargement surgeries, and some of them could cause:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Penis shortening – the opposite of the outcome you might want
  • Deformity of the penis

A study has shown that 13.12 cm (5.17 inches) is a realistic average penis size, measured during a full-length erection. The study also showed a gap between expected average penis size and reality.

What are the best male enhancement pills out there?

Because no male enhancement pills are proven to work, unfortunately, there’s no ‘best one’ to try. But some are safer than others. Make sure if you do try male enhancement pills that you buy from a trusted seller recognised by the Herbal Products Regulatory Authority.

If you want to improve a specific condition like premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction, the best option might be licensed medications. You can get erectile dysfunction treatment over the counter in a pharmacy without seeing a GP first. You can also order online without an existing prescription and no face-to-face appointments.

Prescriptions for erectile dysfunction treatments available online:

Medication for premature ejaculation available online:

  • Priligy
  • Emla

Can male enhancement pills give you side effects?

Many male enhancement pills claim not to cause any side effects because they don’t contain any actual medication. In reality, even if they don’t contain medication, they can still give you side effects. In the same way, the effects aren’t properly proven, side effects of different herbal mixtures are also not properly studied.

Plus, many herbal products have been found to contain amounts of active medication ingredients that aren’t properly disclosed by manufacturers. While this sounds like it might mean they could have some actual medical effect, they will be in amounts and combinations that could be unsafe. When you get checked for real medications, the doctor or pharmacist can make sure there aren’t serious health risks. If you take herbal products containing trace amounts of medication, you could be putting yourself at risk.

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is an IMC and GMC registered GP who works with our Irish team here at ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training at Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Last reviewed: 15 Jul 2019

ZAVA offers a convenient and discreet service to help men improve their erectile dysfunction. There are a number of treatments you can consider. Continue to our erectile dysfunction service page to learn about the treatment options available.

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