Many men out there experience the appearance of small bumps around the base of the tip of their penis (the glans). In fact, as many as 25% of all men will have this condition at some point. Pearly penile papules are a common, benign skin condition seen in males. They are often confused for genital warts and the appearance of these bumps can cause a great deal of anxiety in patients who mistakenly believe them to be sexually transmitted. However, pearly penile papules are not a dangerous skin condition and can be treated safely in our office if a patient desires.
Pearly penile papules are tiny, skin-colored or white bumps found on the penis of adult men and most commonly arise when men are in their teens or twenties. The papules have a pearly sheen and may appear yellow in direct light. It is not known why they develop, but they are more commonly seen in uncircumcised men. The bumps are not caused by a virus, as are genital warts and herpes.
Pearly penile papules are not painful, do not transform into cancer, and they are not contagious. Most men notice that pearly penile papules become less noticeable as they age. However, despite their benign state, many men wish to get rid of these bumps.
Typically, the first step in pearly penile papule treatment is making certain the condition is identified correctly, and that the symptoms are not actually a sexually transmitted infection. A dermatologist can help with this identification.
Once confirmed, seeking pearly penile papules treatment is a personal choice. The condition is completely benign, meaning it will not lead to cancer or cause health problems. However, many men still choose to see a pearly penile papules doctor.
Why? The answer usually comes down to aesthetics. Pearly penile papules can have a negative psychological impact on men. They may worry that sexual partners will mistake the papules for a sexually transmitted infection, or they may simply dislike the appearance of the bumps.
Unfortunately, pearly penile papules treatment cannot be performed at home. There are no creams or pills that can reduce or eliminate pearly penile papules. Refrain from picking at the papules or breaking the skin as these actions may put you at risk for infection. Over-the-counter wart removers are not helpful and may damage the penis.
However, treatment of pearly penile papules can be performed by a dermatologist if desired by the patient.
Dr. Graber, Dr. Meyer and Cindy Sershen-NP of the Dermatology Institute of Boston have safely and effectively removed pearly penile papules on many patients. Dr. Graber has also published in the scientific literature on her experience treating pearly penile papules.
Treatments can be done with little to no discomfort. For most patients, more than one treatment is suggested. Most patients can return to work the day after treatment. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Graber to discuss which treatment method is best for reducing pearly penile papules.
Our goal here at The Dermatology of Institute of Boston is protect the health of our patients and staff. To continue caring for our patients during these uncertain times, while strictly adhering to the guidelines set by the CDC, we will be only offering virtual consultations. For some patients, an in person visit is best, but if you feel that your concern could be addressed online, this may be a convenient option for you.