As you age, your body starts to change in form and function, and this includes your sex organs like your penis and testes too. Changes in your body are usually due to a decrease in testosterone levels that comes with age.
Some changes you can expect as you approach or continue through your 60s are changes in the appearance of your penis, as well as changes in your sexual and urinary function. While it’s good to remember that these are all normal parts of growing older, it’s also important to be aware of what to look out for as well as when it’s time to seek professional help.
What penis changes to expect in your 60s
As you age, your penis may start to shrink due to decreased blood flow and testosterone levels. According to the author of Penis Problems: A Man’s Guide, Dr Madeleine Castellanos, by the time a man reaches his 60s or 70s, he will probably have lost about a centimetre and a half in length. Additionally, if you’re carrying extra belly fat, it could extend over the base of the penis and cause the penis to appear shorter.
As well as the length, penis shape can also change with age. Peyronie’s Disease is a condition where the penis curves or bends and can affect a small number of men as they get older. This condition can affect the length, girth and function of the penis and is usually caused by physical trauma due to an injury or sex.
As the injury heals, scar tissue forms along the tunica albuginea, which is a tough shield around the spongy part of the penis that fills with blood to create an erection and because the scarred section can’t expand, it causes a curved erection. Thankfully, Peyronie’s Disease can often be treated surgically, or with medication.
The scrotum is another part of your body that may start to change. For men over the age of 40, it’s common for their scrotum to start sagging. This is because the muscles that contract and relax to pull your testes closer or further away from your body stop working as well as they used to.
By the time you reach your 60s, the amount of testosterone your body produces has declined drastically. This leads to a lower sex drive and difficulty in achieving and maintaining an erection. Erections can still be obtained but a lot more physical stimulation is required. This is because the nerves in your penis get a lot less sensitive as you age.
This loss of sensitivity also makes men more prone to erectile dysfunction (ED) in their later years, as well as making it more difficult to ejaculate. Additionally, when older men are able to achieve an erection, it likely won’t be as hard as in their earlier years. This is also due to a decline in blood flow to the penis and an inability to hold blood in the penis due to weakened penile muscles.
However, ED is sometimes more than just part and parcel of ageing. It could be a symptom of a host of other causes, including poor lifestyle habits, illness, a side effect of medication, or anxiety or depression, among others.
Luckily, if your ED is just due to changes in the body’s hormone levels, there are medication or erectile dysfunction treatment options at hand, such as the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) procedure, or Low Intensity Shock Wave Therapy, which have both been extremely beneficial in the treatment of ED.
Unfortunately, as with sexual function and appearance, urinary function also declines with age, which has to do with prostate health. In fact, loss of urinary function affects 50% to 60% of men in their 60s. This is mostly due to an enlarged prostate squeezing against the bladder and urethra.
Symptoms of declining urinary function include needing to urinate more frequently or struggling to urinate when the need arises.
But, luckily, there are ways to prevent urinary issues, which include maintaining a healthy weight and ensuring you aren’t living a sedentary lifestyle as sitting can put pressure on the prostate, as well as ensuring you’re getting enough zinc and selenium in your diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and ejaculating regularly to flush out the area.
However, if symptoms persist, it’s important to get checked out to rule out prostate cancer. Common signs of prostate cancer are changes in urinary function, as mentioned above, changes in the appearance of the penis and changes in sexual function. In fact, from the age of 40 onwards, it’s recommended to visit your urologist at least once a year.