What Is a Penile Pump?
A penile pump or a vacuum constriction device is a non-surgical treatment option for erectile dysfunction (ED). A penis pump is recommended for men with moderate ED and in penile rehabilitation after prostate removal (radical prostatectomy). However, with the development of drugs such as Viagra® and Levitra®, erectile dysfunction pumps are more typically used when drugs aren't effective and other options such as surgery are limited.
Penis pumps are also sold and marketed to men looking to increase the size or girth of the penis, however medical literature does not support this.
How do they work?
Penile pumps consist of a tube and a pump which can be a squeeze ball, a hand grip, a plunger, or an battery powered device. The plastic tube fits over the non-erect penis. By using the pump, the air is pumped out of the tube chamber, negative pressure is applied to the penis which increases blood flow to the penis. To maintain an erection, a constriction ring is applied to the base of the penis to retain the blood in the penile tissue. The penile area above the constriction ring should get hard, however the area below the ring will likely not be rigid. Therefore, the construction ring should be placed as close to the base of the penis as possible. This will also allow for a better suction seal for the vacuum device to be effective. Often, men may shave their public hairs to allow for a better seal on the device.
- Place water-soluble jelly at the base of the penis (to provide for a better vacuum seal). Also apply lubricant to the penis shaft to ease the movement of the construction band in Step 5.
- Place the tube over the penis and firmly against the pelvic bone.
- Begin pumping the air out of the tube with the hand or electric pump. As the vacuum is created, blood will be drawn into the penis causing an erection.
- You may want to 'double pump' where you generate negative pressure to draw blood in, then let the pressure lessen before re initiating the pressure buildup until an erection is achieved. Some patients report greater comfort with this technique, and it can help new users identify their comfort level with the amount of negative pressure.
- When the penis is sufficiently erect, slide the constriction band down the shaft towards the base of the penis, getting as close to the base as is reasonably comfortable.
- Remove the tube and commence sexual activities.
- Remove the constriction band when completed with activities, but before 30 minutes.
Penile pumps can be used in conjunction with other ED treatments as well. For example, if oral ED medications are not providing an erection hard enough for sex, this device can supplement the effect. Or, if low testosterone is contributing to your ED, using a penis pump may also be beneficial.
Using a penis pump at first may be a little difficult. It requires patience, practice, and understanding from the standpoint of the user and their partner. Comfort with the device usually occurs over time, but don't expect the first few tries to go easily. The pump requires hand and fingers to operate properly, so some coordination is required. Often due to this awkwardness, a penile pump is seen as a more appropriate option for long term committed couples, rather than for people in new relationships.
What are the alternatives?
A thorough ED Evaluation may be able to identify alternative ED Treatment options for you. Our Men's Clinic offers an ED Evaluation Package that includes a penile ultrasound, two office visits, testosterone level testing, consultation with our physicians, and more. Based upon the results of your evaluation, your tailored treatment plan may include one or a combination of options including personalized medication in easy to use pre-filled form, testosterone hormone replacement, PRP Therapy , men's mental health services provided by our licensed professional clinical counselor, and others.
Looking for more information? Click here to download our 5 Step Treatment Guide to learn more about other ED treatment options.