Medical Q&As

Pearly papules - elimination?

I'm in my twenties and for the last 6 or 7 years have had small white lumps around the head of my penis. I never knew what these were, until recently, and have avoided having sex after several embarrassing situations. This has been a cause of major mental anguish for me. I have recently discovered that these are called "pearly penile papules" and are in fact harmless. Nevertheless they are not nice in appearance and make sexual relations difficult as they appear like a sexually transmitted infection. I would really appreciate if you could inform me as to how to get rid of them.

Pearly papules are tiny dome shaped growths on the penis that look like tiny pearls. They are located just below the glans or head of the penis. Pearly papules do not cause any symptoms but as your question indicates they can give rise to anxiety when people fear that they may have been acquired as a sexually transmitted infection. They are very common and one study reported that they occur in 30% of men. Since they are quite normal it is best not to treat them. However, sometimes the appearance of the papules can cause a great deal of anxiety and distress in which case surgical removal could be considered. Laser treatment and surgical excision have successfully eliminated lesions but cryotherapy has produced very mixed results.