Are Penis Pumps Safe?

Posted by Anna Bergeron on

For some time now, penis pumps have served more as residents of our jokes and comedic improvisations than as a topic of an open and serious conversation about performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction.

On the other hand, the pills that treat the same issues are everywhere. Maybe the fact they are dissolvable makes them more acceptable, while the materiality of the machine (and the physicality of its use that prevents it from starring in commercials) acts as a graphic reminder of the matters we would rather not discuss.

However, a well-managed pump is a good ally to those facing erectile dysfunction. And contrary to their somewhat taboo public status, penis pumps have become a widely used product, providing men with a firm response to the open question of endurance.

The machine beats any medication since it has no chemically induced side effects and costs less in the long run. Nevertheless, as with any aiding device, you have to use it properly to make the best out of it while trying to avoid possible side effects (and these could include trauma to your precious parts).

To put it bluntly, penile pumps are safe to use but only if you can stay away from over-pumping.

How Penis Pumps Work

Although designed to aid those who suffer from erectile dysfunction (they are often suggested to men of a certain age, with specific medical conditions, or after prostate surgery for instance), the pumps are also advertised as useful devices that can recover your natural erectile function or enhance your performance by creating a temporarily larger erection.

But to understand the possibilities and potential downsides of the product, we first need to learn how these devices work.

There are two types on the market — air and water pumps. The mechanical difference between them is that the first creates a vacuum by squeezing the air out, while the latter uses the water release to apply pressure.

Air Pumps

The air pump has been around for some time and is preferred by those who don’t like to get wet (more than necessary) prior to intercourse.

Air pumps mostly consist of a tube made of plastic, a manually operated or battery-powered pump, and a constriction ring placed on the penis’ base once it’s erect. The tube is placed over the penis. The pump is used to create a vacuum inside the tube and draw blood into the penis, causing a sufficient erection.The rubber ring is used to preserve the erection by keeping the blood within the penis.

Water Pumps

On the other hand, water pump users have discovered the benefits of penile hydrotherapy. They also claim that these pumps are more comfortable, especially when used with warm water, which reduces the stretching pains. Also, this pump distributes the pressure more evenly. Water does not compress the penis like air does, and it is less likely to produce tissue damage since there is no need for constant pumping.

Can Pumping Enlarge Your Penis?

An elephant needs to be pushed out of the bedroom before we start talking about the potential risks and side effects of pumping.

If you search for information on penis pumps, you’ll find out that they (and especially water-based devices) are often advertised as tools of enhancement. Some water pump users stick to the claim that regular pumping can help penis enlargement if used patiently and in a scheduled exercise-like routine.

But the truth is a penis pump cannot permanently solve your size problems. The effect is temporary, similar to the benefits your muscles experience when exercising. Routine pumping stretches your penile muscles, increases (more than is natural) the blood flow in your penis, and hence, makes it (look) bigger. But similar to your other muscles, these need to rest in order not to burst.

Users themselves are not blind to the fact that quitting the pump would eventually reduce their temporarily enhanced tools to their normal size. That is why they devise a routine that would gradually (or rather continually) produce the desired effect. However, there is no research that could prove real the long-term effects of the device, so these remain in the field of individual impressions.

That being said, this device is not meant for everyone. To paint a clearer picture, we will introduce you to potential penis pump risks and side effects.

Potential Risks When Using a Penis Pump

Although they are one of the safest means of treating erectile dysfunction, the pumps need to be operated with care.

Some of the risks and side effects include injuries, but more severe medical problems can occur for people with certain health conditions. That is why it is suggested to make an appointment with your doctor, who can inform you whether the penis pump is safe for you to use given your overall health and life habits.

Penis pumps are not recommended for people who take drugs that can cause blood-thinning (such as warfarin or clopidogrel, but also some OTC medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen). It is also not advisable to people who have an existing blood disorder (like sickle cell anemia) that makes them susceptible to blood clotting or bleeding.

Pumps might not be the right choice for people with mild ED and might not be sufficient for those who have a more severe dysfunction. Some users find the combination of treatments gives the best results, and the good thing about penile pumps is they can be used together with medications.

Erectile dysfunction is a physical condition, but it can be caused by a number of reasons, like low testosterone levels, blood flow problems, abnormal nerve functions, or psychological issues, to name a few. A basic physical exam should provide enough information for the doctor to prescribe a suitable pump or a combination treatment that fits your needs best. Choosing the right pump is not just about finding the device that gives the grandest promises. It is about finding a reputable medical aid that provides safety and effectiveness.

Can Penis Pumps Damage Your Penis?

Despite many warnings and disclaimers, over-pumping seems to be a common beginner’s mistake. However, if you over-pump or don’t take breaks between sessions, you risk serious injury and damage. Some of these, although temporary, can be very scary and even demand visiting a doctor. That is why it is crucial to follow the instructions when using the device and quit pumping as soon as any injuries occur.

Most often, penis pump damage caused by over-pumping includes swelling and bruising. The tissue damage can be superficial and heal within a couple of days, but some more severe traumas could interfere with your functioning (and your sex life) for weeks or even months.

Another common injury is the so-called “doughnut effect,” which happens when too much lymphatic fluid is drawn into the head of the penis. This happens naturally during erection, but when it’s induced by a pressure-based device, it can cause a harmless and temporary, but a misfortunate and uncalled for penis injury. It should recover on its own, but if it doesn’t, you will have to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Possible Side Effects of Penis Pump Use

Obtaining an erection with the help of a device is not the same as the natural thing. Pump-induced erections might not feel as spontaneous. The penis can become purple in color or feel cold or numb. You might also feel a lack of firmness at the base of your penis.

Other possible penis pump side effects include petechiae (red dots of blood under the skin that happen due to burst blood vessels), pain, and bruising, but these can be avoided if you use the device properly. A small bruising at the penis’ shaft is usually painless and should disappear in a couple of days.

Some side effects happen due to the position or tightness of the constriction ring. If the ring is too tight, it can cause tingling, numbness, or blue-colored skin. However, if the ring is not tight enough, the pump might be ineffective.

Some users of penis pumps have complained about a less forceful ejaculation or a sense of trapped semen. This happens because the constriction band entraps the ejaculate during orgasm, but the semen should be released once the strap is removed. The manufacturers are well aware of the problem, so you can now look for products with a small cutout on the constriction ring that was designed to prevent such undesirable effects.

Maximum Safe Pressure Applied With a Penis Pump

The critical thing in applying the device is determining what pressure is safe for penis pump use, since most side effects happen because of over-pumping. If you’re new to pumping you should opt for the model with a vacuum limiter that can keep the penis pump pressure from getting too high, hence preventing injuries. Also, you should choose the pump and ring size according to your own measurements. A pump too small might not provide enough pressure, and if it’s too big, it might apply too much pressure and present an increased risk for penis pump injury.

Safe pressure for the penis pump is, thus, somewhat individual, but providing you follow the directions and your own judgment, you should be fine. The important thing is to remember the pump suction should not induce pain (on the contrary). If, for any reason, the pumping is painful or uncomfortable, you should stop doing it.

A penis pump should be easy to use. It takes only about a couple of minutes to achieve satisfying results. You can use it more or less frequently, but you have to follow the directions and recommendations. It takes some practice to come to the best results, but once you get your head — or rather, hand — around it, you will know the optimal way to use the device.

And again, the vacuum pump is meant to aid, not add. It was designed to help people with erectile problems, not individuals with size issues. However, if you see this as a growing opportunity, you should also consider consulting a specialist before you start using the device. And we don’t mean your favorite sex blogger.

One thing is undeniable. A more gentle approach to pumping is proven to provide short-term results. Also, serial over-pumping in an attempt to pimp your pride can cause physical damage (or even disfiguration) to your penis. If this isn’t graphic enough, just imagine what happens to an overblown balloon. Now you get it.

Penis Pump Safety Tips

Needless to say, applying pressure to your penis should always be done with extreme caution. But if used properly, a penis pump is more beneficial compared to medications or invasive means of treating erectile dysfunction such as penile injections and surgical implants. It is effective, providing the majority of users an erection sufficient for sex, and compared to other treatments, it is less expensive.

Here are some tips to avoid the side effects and make the best out of penile pumps:

  1. Use a Reliable Product: Some devices are not registered for sale by a medical authority. You should always use safe penis pumps that are recommended and approved since this will lower the risks of injury and the device’s ineffectiveness.
  2. Never Over-Pump! Apply enough pressure to achieve an erection but don’t overdo it because there is no pump that could undo the potential damage.
  3. Lose the Strap: Remove the ring after 30 minutes because keeping it on longer can also lead to unnecessary injuries.
  4. Stop If it Hurts: This needs no further explanations. “No pain, no gain” does not apply here.
  5. Find Your Fit: Whether you’re hoping for permanent changes or trying to treat ED, you should look for the best fit. This applies both to the type of the device and its size. So grab the measuring tape and make your personal pick.
  6. Groom the Room: Before you start using the device, you might need to shave the parts near the base of your penis, so that the pubic hair does not get caught in the ring. It will also keep the seal air-tight to produce the maximum effect.
  7. It Doesn’t Have to be Awkward: Some users that suffer from ED fear that penile pumps can cause awkwardness and lack of spontaneity during sex. Feel free to talk about it with your partner. Using a pump involves manual operation and requires patience, positive approach, and understanding from both partners, hence it can take some time to get used to it

If you found this article useful, you can read our Guide to Using Penis Pumps to learn more.

Penis Pumps

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