Common Beliefs About PPP: Debunking The Myths

Last updated: 2023-12-16

There are many beliefs about pearly penile papules that have no scientific basis but often generate fear and anxiety. Many men with these bumps aren’t aware of what they are but are embarrassed to think they did something to cause these growths.

Debunking misconceptions is important because of the importance of the penis as the genitourinary organ. Growths in the penis affect self-esteem and can distress sexual partners when there are no rational explanations.

Also known as hirsuties papillaris genitalis, PPP is a well-researched condition. These are small dots, bumps, or finger-like growths that appear as a row (or several rows) around the base of the glans penis. They can also appear along the shaft. They’re white, cream, or pinkish with a slight sheen and can look like tiny pearls or pimples.

Below are the myths surrounding pearly penile papules.

Pearly Penile Papules diagnosis

Myth #1: PPP Affects Sexual Performance

The impact on sexuality is the least discussed fear – but probably also the one that concerns those with PPP the most. Sexual performance, virility, and fertility aren’t affected by having PPP.

Myth #2: PPP is cancerous

Any cancer-causing virus doesn’t cause PPP. It’s a benign condition. The concern over PPP seems related to its size–-a third of males with PPD aren’t concerned when the bumps are hardly noticeable. Two-thirds are alarmed when the papules are big.

Myth #3: PPP is expensive to treat

Treatment for PPP varies in price. Home treatment is inexpensive and painless. An elective procedure like laser or cryosurgery can be done as an in-clinic procedure. No treatment complications have been reported thus far.

Myth #4: PPP is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)

Some men are uncomfortable with its origin and wrongly blame their partner’s yeast infection as a possible cause of the papules. Pearly penile papules aren’t caused by a virus, bacteria, or any disease-causing organism, so it cannot be transmitted to anyone, male or female. If you have PPP, rest assured that you didn’t get it from sexual contact, and you can’t infect anyone.

Myth #5: PPP is a rare condition.

Pearly penile papules are by no means rare. It’s a condition that affects 14% to 48% of men. Because of the stigma associated with genital growth, the incidence may be underreported. As high as one out of every four men may have experienced PPP at least once.

Myth #6: PPP is an incurable condition

Pearly penile papules aren’t dangerous but a normal variation of the penile skin. It’s not a disease state that needs to be cured. Some men worry their sexual partners might have issues with PPP and seek treatment. The best news is that it can be treated with a short range of remedies.

Myth #7: PPP is a genetic condition that can be transmitted to offspring

No evidence supports PPP as an inherited condition.

Myth #8: PPPs are a form of warts

Caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts are considered a form of STD. Genital warts look very different. Unlike PPP, they’re not smooth but appear cauliflower-like. Warts appear in clusters along the length of the penis, while PPP appear as orderly rows at the rim of the head of the penis. However, about 1% of men with PPP may also have genital warts, so it’s best to see a doctor when there are changes in the bumps.

Myth #9: PPP Only Appear When Men Grow Older

Pearly penile papules usually appear during the male reproductive stage or from adolescence onwards. Contrary to common thought, PPP usually resolves without treatment in older men.

Myth #10: PPP is Linked to Hygiene And Promiscuity

The appearance of PPP has no connection with hygiene. Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk for STDs but doesn’t promote the growth of PPP.

When Should PPP Be Of Concern?

When doubtful, see a doctor who’ll assess whether it’s PPP or some other condition that’s not as harmless. Histology can confirm whether these are warts or penile cancer.

Pearly penile papules are asymptomatic, but other conditions may co-exist with them. A consultation is recommended if bleeding, itchiness, painful urination, discharge from the papules, or itchiness occurs. Picking or rubbing the growth will not cause it to spread but may cause abrasions that can get infected.

man concerned about PPP


Having PPP doesn’t have to be an embarrassing experience. Putting a name to the condition helps differentiate PPP from the more harmful lesions like genital warts and cancer. It’s a condition that can happen to any male, regardless of age. Understanding fact from fiction is important as misconceptions can be very stressful. If it doesn’t bother you, it can be left alone. Those who want PPP to be removed or at least diminished can opt to apply topical products at home or go for in-clinic interventions.

Learn more about the PPP KIT

Author: Patrick K.

I earned a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnique Montreal in 2015. One of my notable achievements during my studies was receiving acclaim for the 'Simplicity of the proposed solution' in a university project. I've always been a 'Do-It-Yourself' type of person, and solving my own pearly penile papules issue was no different. After months of dedicated experimentation with various home remedies for PPP, I developed a safe and effective solution that tackles the problem. The solution has been bundled into the "PPP KIT" and I am happy to share this life changing remedy since 2020!

Reviewed by: Fabiola Garcia

I studied Nursing at the CDI College in Montreal before furthering my education at École Esthétique Avancée, recognized as Quebec's premier private institution for medical aesthetics. I actively contributed to enhancing the safety protocols of the pearly penile papule (PPP) removal procedure by collaborating on the refinement of the 'Aftercare' section within the PPP Kit's step-by-step guide.