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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects many men, particularly as they age. ED is so common that it affects approximately 30 million men in the US alone.  It can be frustrating and distressing, impacting not only sexual activity but also overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available, including the use of penis pumps.

Penis pumps are a medically proven method of treatment that can help improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. By improving blood flow into the penis, users can experience firmer and harder erections, even if you are not able to achieve one naturally.

In this guide, we’ve explained what penis pumps are, as well as how they work to make getting and maintaining an erection easier.

Throughout our discussions, we have delved into the scientific research regarding the effectiveness of penis pumps for treating erectile dysfunction, as well as the potential risks associated with their use.

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What is a Penis Pump?

A penis pump is a non-surgical over-the-counter device that is used to improve erection health, treat erectile dysfunction symptoms, and temporarily increase the size and firmness of your erection.

Also known as vacuum erection devices, or vacuum pumps, these devices are easy to use and considered safe for anybody with a penis.

Also known as vacuum erection devices, or vacuum pumps, these devices are easy to use and considered safe for anybody with a penis.

When properly using a vacuum erection device it will increase blood flow to your penis. This blood flow will help you achieve an erection if you are unable to do so naturally. If you can produce a natural erection, a pump will help you maintain or even give you additional firmness.

The Different Types of Penis Pumps



Manual Pump

The most basic air-based pump design. Pumping is done manually with a hand-operated pumping trigger or balloon - creating pressure inside a tube that fits snugly around your flaccid penis

Electric Pump

An electronic pump replaces manual air pumps with digital controls and a small electric motor that removes air from the plastic tube.

Hydro Pump

Also known as 'water pumps' - Uses water rather then air to create the vacuum needed to improve blood flow.  The downside of these pumps is the lack of an air gauge to monitor air pressure.

How Do Penis Pumps Work?

Penis pumps work by creating a vacuum around the penis, which helps to draw blood into the erectile tissues of the penis. The device typically consists of a cylinder that fits over the penis and a pump mechanism, either manual or battery-operated.

To use a penis pump, the cylinder is placed over the flaccid penis, creating a seal against the body. The pump is then activated, which removes the air from the cylinder, creating a vacuum. This vacuum pressure causes blood to flow into the penis, resulting in an erection. 

As more blood is drawn in, your penis gets fuller and harder - and you get an erection.

Once the penis becomes erect, a constriction band or cock ring is usually placed at the base of the penis to maintain the erection. This ring helps to restrict blood flow out of the penis, allowing the individual to engage in sexual activity while maintaining the erection.

Recommended Penis Pump Usage Time?

When using a combination of a penis pump and a constriction ring, it is crucial to be mindful of the duration of constriction ring usage. To prevent potential damage caused by inadequate blood flow (ischemic injury), it is recommended to wear the constriction ring for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Selecting a flexible constriction ring, such as one made from silicone, is essential for easy removal. Firm constriction rings, especially those composed of metal, can result in excessively tight fitting and pose challenges when removing the ring while the penis is erect.

Benefits of Penis Pumps

Penis pumps offer a range of benefits for men seeking improvement in the bedroom.  While penis pumps may not be suitable for every man with erectile dysfunction (ED), they do provide a variety of distinct advantages.

  • One of the biggest benefits of using a penis pump is their overall safety and reliability.  Penis pumps offer a viable solution with minimal risks.
  • Ease of use is another advante penis pumps have.  They are simplistic in design and function, allowing almost all men to use them.
  • There is no prescription or surgery needed to effectively use a penis pump.
  • Another great benefit is not needing to visit a doctor or pharmacy, you can order one and have it delivered to your door discreetly.
  • Using a penis pump does not entail ongoing, repetitive expenses. Unlike medications for ED that require frequent repurchasing, a penis pump is a one-time investment that can last for several years before requiring replacement.

Some other things to consider with penis pumps are:

  • Having to use prior to engaging in sexual activity.  Although the time frame is much shorter than with medication.
  • The likelihood that you will need to inform your partner that you are using a penis pump.  

Are Penis Pumps Effective?

Several studies have extensively investigated the efficacy of vacuum therapy as a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED).

A comprehensive scientific review, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research in 2010, examined data from 13 studies focusing on vacuum therapy for ED treatment. While the studies varied in terms of sample size and quality, a significant majority reported high patient satisfaction rates or erection rates exceeding 80 percent.

Among the studies analyzed in the review, one conducted over a prolonged period of 29 months followed 202 men with ED. The findings revealed that nearly 70 percent of the participants consistently utilized the vacuum device, resulting in patient-partner satisfaction rates ranging between 80 and 90 percent.

Furthermore, a previous survey involving over 1,500 users of penis pumps, albeit conducted some time ago, was published in the Journal of Urology. The survey indicated that 92 percent of the men who employed vacuum erectile devices reported achieving reliable erections suitable for sexual intercourse. Additionally, 77 percent of the participants reported engaging in sexual activity at least once every two weeks, and no serious adverse effects were reported by any of the respondents.

These findings collectively demonstrate the potential effectiveness of vacuum therapy in managing ED, highlighting positive patient outcomes and a notable absence of severe complications.Vacuum Therapy as an ED Treatment

Penis pumps work for erectile dysfunction because they don't rely on anything else to work - you don't have to be in the mood, you don't have to have amazing circulation, and it doesn't matter what your testosterone levels are like. More blood into your penis will result in an erection - it's as simple as that.


Relationship between age and erectile dysfunction diagnosis or treatment using real-world observational data in the United States


That said, a penis pump is designed to benefit those with moderate ED. It may not, however, be effective in those with severe ED.

A penis pump is designed to benefit those with moderate ED. It may not, however, be effective in those with severe ED.

Regardless of the severity of your ED, it's worth thinking about trying a penis pump before you explore other treatments. You have the upfront cost of a penis pump to think about - but beyond this initial spend, even the best penis pump will be a lot more cost-effective and less prone to side effects than the other treatments available.

Alternative Treatments for ED



Testosterone Treatment

Acne, increased risk of prostate problems, increased risk of blood clots

Oral medications/Sildenafil

Flushing, indigestion, stuffy/running nose, back pains, and priapism (failure of the erection to subside on its own)

 Penile Implants

Uncontrollable bleeding following the surgery, scar tissue formation, reservoir displacements.

Bypass Surgery

Post-operative infections, mechanical malfunction

How to Use a Penis Pump

One of the benefits of penis pumps is their simplistic shape and operation.  There is no reason to overcomplicate using a penis pump.   

  1. Preparation: Before using the penis pump, ensure that your genitals are clean and dry. This helps maintain hygiene and prevent potential infections.

  2. Lubrication: Apply a water-based lubricant to the base of your penis and the opening of the cylinder. This creates a proper seal and reduces discomfort during pumping.

  3. Insertion: Gently insert your flaccid penis into the cylinder, ensuring that the base of the pump creates a tight seal against your body. Be cautious not to trap any skin in the process.

  4. Create a vacuum: Begin operating the pump mechanism as instructed by the manufacturer. This can involve squeezing a bulb or pressing a button to remove air from the cylinder, creating a vacuum.

  5. Pumping: Slowly and steadily pump the device to increase the pressure within the cylinder. This process draws blood into the erectile tissues of the penis, leading to an erection. It is crucial not to over-pump or apply excessive pressure, as this may cause discomfort or injury.

  6. Maintain erection: Once you achieve an erection, it is recommended to use a constriction ring or band. Carefully slide the ring onto the base of the erect penis. This helps to maintain the blood flow and keep the erection for a longer duration.

  7. Time duration: It is advisable to limit the duration of pumping to around 10-20 minutes. Prolonged use may increase the risk of complications.

  8. Release pressure: To remove the pump, first release the vacuum pressure by activating the release valve or button provided. This allows air to enter the cylinder and gradually reduce the pressure.

  9. Safely remove the pump: Once the vacuum is released, gently remove the cylinder from your penis. Take care not to disturb the constriction ring if you have used one.

  10. Post-use care: Clean the pump and cylinder thoroughly using warm water and mild soap. Ensure that all components are dry before storage to prevent bacterial growth.

Potential Risks of Using a Penis Pump

There are very few risks associated with using a vacuum device but they are not 100% risk-free. You only want to apply the minimum amount of vacuum necessary to achieve an erection.

  • Bruising on the penis
  • Difficulty ejaculating during intercourse
  • Discomfort resulting from suction or constriction
  • Cyanosis, characterized by bluish-purple skin discoloration
  • Petechiae, which are small, pinpoint spots on the skin

Cases Where you Shouldn’t Use a Penis Pump

Penis pumps are safe for virtually everyone to use - but there are a few exceptions that are worth being aware of.

Avoid using a penis pump if you:

  • Use blood thinning medication
  • Have any history of blood clots
  • Have any kind of blood disorder (such as sickle cell anemia)
  • Suffer with priapism (prolonged erections)

    If you're struggling with erectile dysfunction and have one of these issues, it's a good idea to talk to a medical professional about how you can encourage erections in a way that's completely risk-free.

    If you're struggling with erectile dysfunction and have one of these issues, it's a good idea to talk to a medical professional about how you can encourage erections in a way that's completely risk-free.

    Looking to buy a penis pump?

    Penis Pumps FAQs

    Are penis pumps medical devices?

    You may be interested in understanding the stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding penis pumps. Despite the lighthearted perception of the device, it has actually demonstrated notable benefits, leading to its approval for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED).

    The FDA granted approval for vacuum erectile device (VED) treatment in 1982, primarily targeting men who require post-radical prostatectomy treatment or those seeking occasional or infrequent therapy.

    Several devices in this category have received FDA approval, indicating that their quality and safety have undergone thorough evaluation. If you prefer an FDA-approved model, it is advisable to consult with professionals at reputable establishments or seek recommendations from healthcare professionals.

    Do I need a prescription to purchase a penis pump?

    While you can secure a prescription for a penis pump through a medical professional, they are not generally required.  Medical professionals may write prescriptions for FDA approved vacuum devices that are classified as 510(k) medical defives.

    Penis pumps are readily available for over the counter purchase on-line and in many stores and pharmacies.

    Can you use a penis pump along with Cialis or Viagra?

    Yes, you can. Penis pumps are often considered even more effective when used with medications like Viagra and Cialis. That said, you should always check with a doctor if you've been prescribed this kind of medication - just to make sure there are no issues to be aware of.

    Can penis pumps help with Peyronie's Disease?

    According to published research, the answer is yes. A study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that the use of a vacuum pump over a 12-week period resulted in "clinically and statistically significant improvement in penile length, angle of curvature and pain after 12 weeks of using the vacuum pump" - with 21 out of 31 participants seeing a reduction in the angle of curvature by 5-25 degrees.

    However, it's essential that you consult your doctor before trying anything that could have an impact on Peyronie's Disease. Everyone is different and it's important that you work with medical advice that's specific to you.

    Final Thoughts on Penis Pumps

    Penis pumps are recognized as a legitimate form of treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), rather than solely being viewed as a male enhancement method. However, it's important to note that they may not be suitable for everyone and are typically used when other ED treatments are ineffective.

    1. Manual Application: Using a penis pump requires manual application just before sexual activity, which may be inconvenient if you are not in a long-term relationship with a understanding partner.

    2. Varying Quality: Penis pumps are available online at different price points, but not all devices are of equal quality. Exercise caution and prioritize reputable brands.

    3. Professional Guidance: If you require a penis pump for treating ED, your healthcare provider can recommend a specific model that is both safe and likely to be effective.

    4. Vacuum Limiter: A crucial feature to look for in a penis pump is a vacuum limiter, which helps reduce the risk of injury during use.

    5. Appropriate Constriction Ring: Select a constriction ring that fits your penis correctly. It should provide a secure fit to prevent blood from flowing out, without causing pain or discomfort.

    If you have uncertainties regarding the type of penis pump or constriction ring to purchase, consulting your healthcare provider is the best course of action. They can offer personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs.

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