7 Possible Causes of Penile Bumps

Last updated: 2023-12-14

Penile bumps can be a source of anxiety and concern for many men largely due to the implications they carry for sexual health. While some bumps may be harmless and disappear without intervention, others may require medical attention.

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1. Pearly penile papules (PPP)

PPP refers to smooth, small, dome-shaped bumps that form just below the corona of the glans penis. They are harmless and may appear in several rows. The papules look like tiny pimples and do not contain any fluid within them. The color varies from white or beige to pink or brown. Moreover, these bumps are usually asymptomatic and are not contagious, infectious, or hereditary.

PPP is a benign condition and can resolve on its own over time. However, laser treatment can be done at the doctor's clinic to remove the bumps. On the one hand, a more convenient alternative is a PPP removal kit that can be used at home. It works in principle like a modified laser or cautery procedure where a small, heat-emitting pen-like device vaporizes the lesions.

Although PPP is not a health hazard by itself, other penile conditions like sexually transmitted disease (STD) can coexist with it, so consulting with a health provider is recommended when other symptoms like itchiness, pain, or discharge are present.

2. Genital warts

Affecting both sexes and caused primarily by types 6 and 11 human papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts are white or grayish growths that can be small or large, raised or flat, or cauliflower-like. They can appear on the penis, scrotum, thighs, anus, or in and around the mouth.

Dermatologist consultation

In many cases, the warts are too small to be visible. Some people might experience symptoms like itching, discomfort, and bleeding. Treatments include topical medications like imiquimod, podophyllin, and trichloroacetic acid, or procedures like cryotherapy, laser therapy, or surgical removal.

The biggest concern about genital warts is that they may cause cervical cancer. The two most common types are HPV 6 and 11, which cause about 90% of all genital warts, are classified as low risk, and rarely cause cancer. Prevention of HPV infection to avoid genital warts and cervical cancer is possible through HPV vaccination.

3. Molluscum contagiosum

This is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus, resulting in small, painless, raised bumps that are usually white, pink, or skin-colored. Each growth often has a tiny dimple in the center and is typically smooth and firm.

It does not cause cancer but is transmitted through skin contact or during intercourse. The bumps will often go away within six to 12 months but can persist longer. Treatments involve topical medications, physical removal, or destruction of the lesions through cryotherapy (freezing), curettage (scraping), or laser therapy.

4. Peyronie's disease

Peyronie's disease is a condition characterized by the formation of fibrous scar tissue inside the penis that causes curved, painful erections. It's not typically described as causing 'bumps.' Rather, men with Peyronie's disease might feel a 'lump' (plaque) on the shaft of the penis when it's not erect.

This hard area is not often visible but can be felt under the skin. When an erection occurs, because the lump doesn’t expand as the rest of the penis does, the latter bends or becomes indented. This can result in a significant curve, making sexual intercourse difficult and potentially painful.

5. Lichen planus

Lichen planus (LP) of the penis accounts for 7.3% of nonvenereal genital dermatoses in men. The symptoms of this condition include purple or white ring-shaped patches or flat-topped shiny bumps on the tip of the penis.

Male genital LP can also present as annular lesions on the penile shaft and scrotum, with violaceus to white edges and a hyperpigmented center. These can form in a ring configuration due to the convergence of multiple papules. This condition can cause itching, burning sensation, and sexual dysfunction.

Treatment for lichen planus in male genitalia may involve topical corticosteroids like clobetasol to ease pain, swelling, and inflammation.

6. Cancer of the penis

Penile cancer is a rare but serious condition that can cause bumps or sores on the penis. It primarily affects the skin and the foreskin of the penis. Other symptoms may include pain, discharge, or bleeding. Penile cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

7. Herpes

Herpes, a viral infection, causes painful, fluid-filled blisters to form on the genitals. These fluid-filled pockets may burst and form sores. Herpes is contagious and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. Treatment may involve antiviral medication.


In conclusion, penile bumps can be a cause for concern for many men. While most may be harmless and disappear spontaneously, others may require medical intervention. It is also important to note that even if these bumps are not harmful or painful, they can cause distress due to their appearance, leading to lowered self-esteem or self-consciousness. Finally, it is recommended to consult a health provider when other symptoms like itchiness, pain, or discharge manifest.

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.