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How does a penile vacuum pump work?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
A penile vacuum pump consists of an airtight plastic cylinder that's attached to a manual or battery-operated handheld pump. You insert your penis into the cylinder and pump out the air, which increases blood flow to the penis. It takes about five minutes to get an erection. At that point, you fit a rubber ring around the base of the penis to prevent the blood from draining away. The erection lasts until the ring is removed. Some men find the pump hard to use, the process may be disruptive to lovemaking, and the man's erection does not feel as natural as one produced with medication. But the device is very effective and causes no side effects.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.