< /> < /> < /> < />

Do penis pumps really work for erectile dysfunction?

If you've been been struggling with ED, here's the answer to 'do penis pumps work?'.

Written by
Lucinda Starr
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
April 23, 2024
min read
Do penis pumps really work for erectile dysfunction?
Jump to:

If you're someone who has been struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED), you might have done some Googling and stumbled across penis pumps. Penis pumps are vacuum devices that can get the blood pumping in your penis, helping you get your erectile function back on track.

But, there's a lot of confusion about how these vacuum devices work, with some people suggesting they offer penis enlargement (which is why they are sometimes called a penis enlargement pump).

To set the record straight and answer the question 'do penis pumps work?', we're diving into everything you need to know about penis pumps.

Discover how to weigh up the benefits and risks of these tools and learn whether they're a good erectile dysfunction treatment to consider.

What is a penis pump?

A vacuum constriction device (a.k.a a penis pump) is an external pump used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), helping men achieve and maintain an erection.

Penis pumps work by creating a vacuum that creates air pressure and draws blood flow into the penis. This gets the penis pumping so men can get an erection and maintain it for sexual intercourse [1].

How do penis pumps work?

A penis pump consists of 3 parts [2]:

  • A plastic tube that goes over the penis
  • A battery-powered or hand pump attached to the plastic tube
  • A constriction rubber ring (a.k.a a cock ring) that fits around the base of the penis once it's erect

For the penis pump to work, the pump is placed over the penis and you can pump the air out of the cylinder to create a vacuum (a.k.a. an air-tight seal). The vacuum works to draw blood into the shaft of the penis, which causes swelling and the penis becomes erect.

When the penis is erect, the constriction ring is moved down onto the base of your penis with the help of lubricant and you can remove the pump from the penis. This band can be left on the penis for 30 minutes for penetrative sex.

Do penis pumps increase penis size?

When you think about penis pumps the first thought you might have is 'will a penis pump make my penis bigger?'

So let's address the questions everyone wants answers to: do penis pumps work and do they increase penis size?

Here's what you need to know: penis pumps do increase both penis size and penis girth, but this is not permanent penis enlargement. In fact, it is very much a temporary change in penile tissue size.

Because a penis pump works like a vacuum erection device, it helps to increase blood flow by expanding the tissue which causes swelling to the penis. This leaves you with a firmer erection and a bigger penis just long enough for penetrative sex.

A study assessing the effectiveness of a vacuum pump on penis size found that after 6 months of using a penis pump, men's penis sizes increased from 7.6cm to 7.9cm, which was not considered to be statistically significant [3].

Do penis pumps help treat erectile dysfunction?

Penis pumps can be effective erectile dysfunction treatments and are a common method used as part of penile rehabilitation or by those that don't want to take ED medications or have surgery.

Let's take a look at what the research says.

A 2018 review involving 6 studies that researched the use of penis pumps in people with erectile dysfunction found satisfaction rates of 80% or more [4].

Another study looking into the use penis pumps for those who've undergone radical prostatectomy (a.k.a prostate surgery) to treat prostate cancer where erectile dysfunction can be a common complication found clinical evidence that vacuum erection devices improve erectile dysfunction in 84-95% of patients [5].

What are the benefits of using a penis pump?

Now that we've established that penis pumps can help in the treatment of ED, let's dive into some benefits of using vacuum therapy.

It's simple to use a penis pump

The vacuum device is easy to use and most penis pumps are battery-powered, meaning you don't have to pump manually.

They work fast

Unlike ED medications which can take some time to notice the effects, you can see fast-acting results, only needing to wait a couple of minutes to see results.


If you're someone who doesn't want to take ED medications or can't take ED medications for health concerns, a penis pump can be used as an alternative. Or you can even use a penis pump in combination with ED medication.

What are the risks of using a penis pump?

Although a penis pump is generally safe to use and offers benefits, there are still risks associated with using a vacuum pump. These include:

Pain and/or bruising

This can happen when you use a penis pump too regularly or the constriction ring is too tight for your penis. Too much pressure can cause pain, bruising and even hematomas (ruptured blood vessels causing blood pooling) [6].


This is a form of red skin spots caused by rupturing the capillaries which happens when too much blood is pumped too fast. This can happen from the overuse of a penis pump or leaving it on for too long [7].

Not ejaculating properly

Since erections made by using a vacuum erectile device aren't a natural erection, some men can find it difficult to ejaculate following the use of a penis pump. Some men also experience penis numbness and difficulty achieving orgasm [1].

Nerve damage and scar tissue damage

Overuse of penis pumps in the long term can cause scar tissues to form in the skin and underlying tissues. This can cause the penis to feel spongy and result in permanent numbness [8]. Overuse of the cock ring can also cause nerve injury, especially if you accidentally fall asleep with it on [9].

Those who have a medical history of blood clotting, a blood disorder or those who are taking blood thinners should avoid using a penis pump as this can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising after use.

How else can you treat erectile dysfunction?

Now that we know all the benefits and risks of penis pumps as an ED treatment, let's take a look at some other effective treatments.

Penile implants

Penile implants are medical devices placed inside the penis to help those with erectile dysfunction get an erection. A penile implant is generally only recommended to those that have tried various other erectile dysfunction treatments but haven't seen much success.

There are 2 types of penile implants, inflatable and non-inflatable ones. Inflatable penis implants are a pump placed in the scrotum while a non-inflatable version places a bendable silicone rode in the erection chambers of the penis [10].

This erectile dysfunction treatment is pretty invasive and requires surgery. It's also not recommended for those with a medical history of diabetes that isn't controlled, those with heart disease or those with pulmonary or urinary tract infections.

Penile injections

Penile injections work by injecting a small needle with medication into the base of your penis. Penis injection therapy increases blood flow to the penis which creates an erection.

When the right dose is found and the medication is injected properly, most men find this erectile dysfunction treatment helpful. However, much like penis implants, it's pretty invasive and does come with some side effects [11].

Penis injections can cause dizziness, fainting and low blood pressure. In some cases, prolonged erections or priapism can occur [11].

Clinical ED treatments

Medical treatments work to target the enzyme responsible for the contraction of blood vessels in the penis by improving blood flow which helps get erectile function back to normal and helps men keep their erection firm throughout sexual activity.

Pilot's erectile dysfunction treatment offers both on-demand and daily treatment options to help you navigate erectile dysfunction. With treatment, 78% of men achieve long-lasting erections.

We know it can be difficult and scary to talk about your sex life and erectile dysfunction with your doctor and sometimes face-to-face sessions can be daunting. That's why Pilot offers judgement-free treatment using online consultations with our Aussie practitioners. We also aim to take the stress out of getting treatment, which is why we offer discreet shipping.

If you're suffering from erectile dysfunction, you'll want to do anything you can to get your erectile function back to normal.

And, while a penis pump can be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, there are also some risks associated with using them. Luckily, there are plenty of other treatment options out there down there.

Image credit: Getty Images

Articles you might like:
No items found.
Give this a go:
No items found.
Give this a go:
No items found.
Real men, real results
No items found.
No items found.

All the tools, delivered

Get a round-up of top reads, new launches, and exclusive offers.
You’ve been subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
T-Support One Off
T-Support One Off
$ 55.00 
Daily supplement packed full of essential vitamins and minerals to support the production of testosterone.