Penile Papules: What are they? Diagnosis, Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment Information

penile papules
Source: Promises Behavioral Health

What are Penile Papules? 

Definition: Penile Papules are small white bumpy spots that develop around (or in the outline) the head of an infected penis. It is also called PPP, in short. Once infected with PPP, a penis doesn’t go back to its normal appearance.  

In actual medical terms, white spots on the penis are called Penile Papules or Hirsutoid papillomas. During practical research in 2021, doctors all over the world discovered that 14% to 48% of the men population experience this intimate medical problem. From the 1900s to 2021, the occurrence of Penile Papules among older men has decreased to 0.001%. In comparison, nowadays, it is only seen in males who are going through change (adolescence) or mid-life. Thus, if you are a male, anywhere between the ages 10 to 50, the chances of Penile Papules occurring are higher. 

penile papules
Source: Alexandre Taleb

In the beginning, the patients are unwilling to conclude what’s happening to their skin around the penis. Penile Papules are generally bumpy little white spots that grow around the head of the penis. These bumps generally create a pattern and are so tiny that you almost cannot see them. However, after a time period, they grow. 

Today, we present a complete guide on Penile Papules, including diagnosis, treatment, causes, symptoms, etc. Please note that this medical problem, more often than not, occurs in men who are uncircumcised. According to the statistics, only 12% of circumcised males go through Penile Papules infection, which is 38% less than the uncircumcised males. 

So, without any farther ado, let’s get down to a guide that will help you self-diagnose whether you have it or not. 

What are the causes of PPP? 

Fully known as Pearly Penile Papules, this disease has been a cliffhanger for doctors for years. According to medical research, the causes of Penile Papules are still unknown. Even though this problem in males seems to affect 50% of the population, its cause has not been discovered yet. 

There are multiple theories out there by doctors who compared PPP to the menstruation cycle in women. To the reader’s surprise, medical experts have also discovered that Penile Papules are simply benign and harmless. Thus, if you are questioning your methods of hygiene or sexual preferences due to Penile Papules’ occurrence on your penis, please don’t. 

Source: MDLinux

You can consider penile papules as harmless as the sixth toe or thumb that occur in many people during embryonic development.

In recent months, the American Urological Association did a thorough study on Penile Papules’ medical condition. According to their theory, PPPs only occur because of flesh-residue during the embryonic development inside the womb, which is the 4th stage of development. 

Does it also happen in females? 

 The answer is yes. Papules’ condition in females is called vaginal papules. According to the research, papules in females are not commonly causeless. Unlike men, females do not grow papules during embryonic development. Instead, vagina papules or vestibular papillomatosis has many causes such as:

  • Uncomfortable intercourse
  • Use of a sharp razor on the vulva. 
  • HPV Infection (which is a sexually transmitted disease).

Thus, in the event that a female has an HPV infection triggered by general warts or papules, it is possible for the disease to spread in males she has intercourse with. On the other hand, penile papules remain non-contagious. 

What are the symptoms of Penile Papules? 

With zero causes discovered for Penile Papules, it hasn’t been declared as a disease in the medical world. It is rather possible that they are just a part of the evolution in the male population. Therefore, if you are going paranoid, please acknowledge that there are no painful symptoms of PPP. 

Source: Helen Handsjuk

If you have Penile Papules, you will only be able to touch and notice small bumps surrounding the head of your penis. These small bumps don’t hurt, itch, or feel like they are there. Alongside this, it is also noteworthy to mention that Penile Papules usually grow on the under outline. Therefore, if you are having intercourse with another person, they can hardly see it, notice it, or feel it during the fornication. 

How to self-diagnose Penile Papules? 

Even though Penile Papules are one of the most common conditions among males, a very few percentages of patients see a doctor. However, if you are unwilling to tell the difference between Force spots and Penile Papules, you must see a doctor. Fordyce spots are also an intimate condition that happens in men. They are also harmless and go away in a matter of days. 

However, if you anyway shy to see a doctor about PPP, here are few facts that will help you self-diagnose: 

  • They are not harsh. These tiny bumps are smooth like small dots of flesh on a newborn baby
  • Different men have different forms of PPP. Some are as microscopic as 1 mm, and they feel like dots. In others, they may be as long as 4 mm and feel like threads of flesh. 
  • There can be either one row of PPP surrounding the penis’s head or two. 
  • PPP, in comparison to Fordyce spots, are less. 

You can self-diagnose PPP by using your finger and noticing the pattern of bumps. It is decisive to note that you must not try to remove, pluck out, or nail bumps to get rid of them. Also, wear a latex glove while diagnosing. 

Otherwise, see a urologist nearby. 

Treatment options for Penile Papules

To begin with, Penile Papules are harmless. Therefore, you don’t need to fret over your health in any way at risk. If you have PPP, it won’t affect your sexual lifestyle or daily bathroom routine. However, it is in human behavior to be embarrassed over something benign as well. Thus, there are a few treatment options discovered and opened by urologists and general surgeons. What are those? Let’s find out: 

Option 1: Carbon Dioxide Laser Surgery

Prominently known as Carbon Dioxide Laser Resurfacing, this treatment is a perfect fit for the removal of penile papules. According to the studies, Carbon dioxide laser surgery was previously discovered as an option for elderly people to get rid of wrinkles, scars, birthmarks, skin warts, etc. Do you know? This surgery is very popular among actors and actresses who aim to look beautiful and flawless at any cost. 

Source: Hindawi

Now, by definition, Carbon Dioxide Laser Surgery is a type of surgery that removes any excessive growth on human skin without damaging the organ. It is a 100% safe treatment because, during this surgery, a carbon dioxide laser will simply melt down the penile papules and later remove the melted residue. 

Technically, you will feel no pain, and it will not take more than an hour to complete the procedure. 

Option 2: Cryosurgery 

Cryosurgery is basically a treatment valid for cancer. Using this surgery, surgeons successfully remove bumps and lumps, which pose a risk of cancer in the future. Using this surgery, doctors also conclude to remove or kill abnormal tissues and cancer cells that grow in the human body. This method is typically different from the above one. In cryosurgery, surgeons practice freezing the organ/part of the skin, which poses a risk of cancer in the future, using nitrogen liquid. 

Source: MedyHealth

This extremely cold method literally freezes penile papules until they melt or invert themselves. In other words, for penile papules, it is a surgery that reverses the growth. 

But, before you go ahead and opt for this surgery for your condition, it has a few side effects which you must consider for post-surgery prep: 

  • Swelling or Scaring (dotted scaring under/around the outline of the penis). 
  • No sensation after surgery for up to 18 months. 
  • Blisters appear in place of papules. 
  • The body part doesn’t heal quickly. 

Option 3: Excisional Surgery for Penile Papules Removal using traditional tools

Again, Excisional Surgery is a type of surgery exercise for the removal of masses on the body which is unwanted and poses a risk of cancer such as mole or lump. In excisional surgery, a surgeon removes each penile papule individually and strategically. Without a doubt, this procedure takes hours and requires complete bed rest afterward. 

After the removal of papules, surgeons attach a skin graft on the respective part for quick healing in order to prevent scarring. The good part is, excisional surgeries remain mostly covered by insurance. Thus, you don’t need to be cost-effective in this case. 

Option 4: Radiosurgery 

Radiosurgery or Radiation Surgery is yet another surgery in-use as a mainstream treatment among cancer patients. For the most part, this surgery is much similar to Carbon Dioxide Laser surgery, except in radiosurgery, surgeons use radiation to kill cancer cells and abnormal tissues. 

penile papules
Source: Yasoda Hospitals

But, the side effects of radiosurgery are much scarier than carbon dioxide surgery or cryosurgery, for that matter. Radiosurgery tends to trigger hair problems, fatigue, and swelling because of the risk of exposure to extreme radiation. 

Option 5: Be patient and stay hygienic!

Many readers out there question whether penile papules go away on their own or not? Well! The answer is yes. With time, penile papules become less and less observable by touch. However, this change will only happen over the years. 

Alongside, if you opt to surgically remove penile papules, there remains a risk of infection because private areas are sensitive. They always remain moist and a mainstream place for germs to hang out.

Thus, if you don’t want to take such a risk, we recommend that you just avoid penile papules and stay hygienic. 


So, are you going through unwanted penile papules growth on your penis? We recommend you see a urologist nearby. In the event that you are a female reader who has a similar problem noticeable on your vagina, you may be at a risk of underlying disease. Please contact your OB-GYN or urologist near you. 

For more details on People-related issues, ping us in the comment section. Till then, stay safe. 


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