What are pearly penile papules?
Pearly penile papules are painless, dome-shaped bumps that usually occur in one or more rows along the corona (the rounded border where the head of the penis meets the shaft). They can be flesh-coloured or white, and can look like small pimples or skin tags.
Pearly penile papules are common types of bumps that occur on the penis, affecting between 1 in 7 to almost half of all men.
Causes of pearly penile papules
We don’t know why some men have pearly penile papules while others don’t. They are less common in men who are circumcised than those who are not.
Pearly penile papules usually appear towards the end of puberty and become less common with aging.
Diagnosis of pearly penile papules
Your doctor will usually diagnose pearly penile papules simply by looking at them or by using a dermatoscope. They may also collect a small skin sample for examination to be sure of the diagnosis.
Treatment of pearly penile papules
Pearly penile papules don’t need treatment because they’re a normal part of male anatomy. Even so, some men with pearly penile papules are bothered by them and would prefer to have them removed.
If you’re embarrassed by your pearly penile papules, it’s possible to have them removed by freezing them with liquid nitrogen or having laser therapy. There’s a risk of scarring or a change in skin colour, and it takes about two weeks for your penis to heal after laser treatment.
Health effects of pearly penile papules
There are no physical health problems associated with pearly penile papules because they’re a normal part of some people’s anatomy.
Pearly penile papules can cause unnecessary concern for people who have them or for their sexual partners, who may confuse them as a sign of sexually transmitted infection.
What to do about pearly penile papules
If you’re concerned about any lumps, bumps or spots on your penis, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. A quick examination can reassure you there’s nothing to worry about and will allow your doctor to rule out anything serious.
This content is modified from Healthy Male: healthymale.org.au. This information has been provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of a clinical diagnosis or proper medical advice from a fully qualified health professional. Healthy Male and International Society of Andrology both urge readers to seek the services of a qualified medical practitioner for any personal health concerns.