Take a careful look at your penis. Check if there are bumps encircling the head of it. If you do, don’t be afraid because they’re harmless and won’t put your health at risk. These small bumps are called pearly penile papules.
Pearly penile papules (PPP), or hirsutoid papilloma, are whitish, pinkish, or yellowish, pearl-like bumps that form around the corona of the glans penis. Although they may appear alarming, they’re actually risk-free and tend to disappear over time.
On top of that, PPP doesn’t cause any symptoms. It doesn’t change in size, spread over the other parts of the penis, or cause pain. Also, they’re neither contagious, infectious, nor cancerous. You may check out these helpful tips to tell whether you have PPP or not.
Moreover, here are some common characteristics that may help you identify them:
- Develop smooth bumps;
- Bumpy or thread-like appearance;
- Have a diameter of 1-4 millimeters;
- Form 1-2 rows around the corona of the glans penis; and so on.
While PPP is considered risk-free and non-contagious, you might still want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to be extra sure.
How Common Is PPP
Estimates suggest that eight to 43% of the male population may experience PPP throughout their lives. And this condition is said to be more common in people who are still uncircumcised.
PPP usually appears during the late stages of puberty and may fade away over time.
What Causes PPP
PPP is neither a sign of poor hygiene nor a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It doesn’t appear to be caused by outside forces or a result of infection either. Lastly, PPP isn’t malignant today or as you age.
Experts don’t know what causes PPP to develop on some penises. Although, they believe that PPP is a vestigial part of the body, a part that once served a function but not anymore.
Should You Treat PPP
In most cases, PPP doesn’t require any treatment. It doesn’t cause any symptoms and tends to disappear over time, so there’s no pressing need for topical creams, salves, balms, and treatment procedures to remove them.
Yet some men find these benign papules embarrassing, especially when having sexual intercourse with their partners. In these cases, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider for expert care and advice.
Make sure not to remove these bumps yourself to prevent bleeding and infection. No home remedy can remove PPP, so don’t think of putting acids or toothpaste on these bumps. If you want them gone, schedule an appointment with your doctor before doing anything.
What Are The Treatment Options To Remove PPP
Although PPP needs no medical intervention, treatment options are available to get rid of them. If this condition causes significant mental and emotional distress, consider the following treatment options. These include:
- Carbon Dioxide Laser Surgery
Carbon dioxide laser surgery is an effective way to get rid of PPP and other skin ailments, such as wrinkles, photodamage, scars, warts, and birthmarks. This uses CO2 lasers to remove thin layers of skin and dissolve the benign papules with minimal infrared damage.
Carbon dioxide laser surgery is an outpatient treatment procedure using local anesthesia and sedatives to numb the affected area. After the treatment, the patient may rest for a while and go home after.
Nevertheless, it’s best to have someone drive you home. The lingering effects of anesthesia can make you tired and groggy and put you in danger. Your doctor can also use general anesthesia, especially if there are too many bumps to remove.
Despite its name, radiosurgery doesn’t involve actual surgical procedures, such as incisions. Instead, it uses an extremely focused beam of radiation (e.g., proton, X-rays, or gamma rays) to treat excess tissues without opening the skin.
Radiosurgery creates free radicals that can attack the papules, causing them to disintegrate and fade away. Although accurate, it’s not as effective as carbon dioxide laser surgery.
- Excisional Surgery
This is a traditional way of removing penile papules. During the procedure, your doctor will use a scalpel and other surgical tools to remove the bumps one by one. Because it’s more invasive than others, expect more scarring after the treatment.
Cryosurgery is the application of extremely low temperatures to freeze and destroy excess skin and tissues, such as penile papules. It uses a special cryoprobe device, which contains a freezing agent (e.g., liquid nitrogen, compressed argon gas, or nitrous oxide).
The primary purpose of cryosurgery is to disintegrate tumors and other precancerous lesions. But now, it’s used to treat skin conditions like penile papules and warts. The extreme cold will freeze the bumps, causing them to fade away.
During the procedure, your doctor will apply the freezing agent on your glans penis using a cotton swab. The coldness will eventually freeze and destroy the papules. This procedure may take 15-20 minutes, depending on how many papules are to be removed. Your doctor may apply a numbing medicine to prevent discomfort during the procedure.
Cryosurgery has risks, but they’re not as common and persistent as other treatment options, particularly radiation therapy. These include infection, pain, blisters, scarring, skin discoloration, and ulcers.
Can You Prevent PPP
Unfortunately, no—you can’t prevent the development of PPP. As of this writing, experts don’t know why some men have them, and others don’t. The only factor that stands out is circumcision. You’re at risk of forming these bumps if you’re not yet circumcised. Nevertheless, even circumcised individuals may develop them, which confuses the experts.
Pearly penile papules are whitish, pinkish, or yellowish pearl-like bumps around the head of the penis. They’re painless, non-contagious, non-infectious, benign, and don’t cause any symptoms.
Although they don’t require medical intervention, you can still have them removed to improve the appearance of your penis and boost your self-confidence. Yet, all surgical procedures have risks. Before you proceed, make sure you understand the treatment and recovery process.
You may be tempted to apply topical treatments, such as ointments, creams, balms, and salves, but no such things can remove the bumps on your penis. If you want them eliminated, consult your doctor for the appropriate treatment.