I Need Help! Is my penis too small for my age?

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A 14-year-old wonders if his penis is too small for his age, and if he's developing too slowly. Our expert answers his questions.
Q

I'm 14 years old and my penis is 4 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Is this the right size for my age? All the other boys in my class have hair under their arms and I only have a little bit. Am I developing late for my age?

Is My Penis the Right Size

A

It may seem hard to understand, but there really isn't a correct size for the penis solely based on your age. As you've pointed out, some of the boys in your class are very far along in their development. But this doesn't necessarily mean that there's something wrong with you.

Boys can begin their pubertal changes as young as nine, but some boys don't start until 14, and all of that is considered normal.

The first change that is usually seen in puberty is an increase in the size of the testes. After the testes begin to enlarge, the penis will start to grow in size and length. Testosterone is the hormone that contributes to the growth of the penis, and it's produced by the growing testes.

In adult men, the average penis length is about 5 inches (stretched out), but can range from 3+ to 6+ inches.

Under-arm and pubic hair start at about the same time as the testes start to grow, but the whole process isn't complete for years. The fact that you have some hair under your arms indicates that some pubertal changes have started, which is reassuring.

You should also notice that your testes have gotten larger. If they haven't, then it would be a good idea for you to ask your parents to take you to see your doctor. Your doctor can examine you and talk with you further about whether your puberty is proceeding normally.

Just remember that not all boys enter puberty at the same time. Give your body time. You're bound to catch up.

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.

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