Pearly Penile Papules: What Exactly Are They, And What Are The Symptoms?

Last updated: 2022-08-27

Any abnormal growth can cause severe distress in individuals, especially in sensitive areas of the body. For males, pearly penile papules, or PPP, can be one of such health-related issues.

Penile pearly papules, medically known as Hirsutoid papillomas, grow around a man's penis head and affect a certain percentage of men, particularly young males. Because of the sensitive nature of these growths, most patients tend to diagnose themselves by typing in 'pearly penile papules reason' on their browsers instead of visiting their urologist.

If you want to know how to get rid of pearly penis papules, it's best to understand what they are, including their symptoms. Read the rest of the article to find out more.

Pearly Penile Papules diagnosis

What are pearly penile papules

Pearly penile papules are tiny bumps and growths that develop around a man's penile area, most notably around the penis head. In general, spots look like pimples that come in different hues. Some are pinkish white, while others share the same color as the subject's skin. These bumps measure from one to four millimeters in diameter and often don't have pus.

Studies have yet to establish what causes them, but several pearly penile papules treatment options are available, including a home treatment option.

Some scientists suspect it may be an anatomical rather than a medical condition. More specifically, some suggest these bumps may have been caused by or related to how the male fetus develops as an embryo inside the mother's womb.

Penile pearly papules may affect men of any age and race, they are more common in uncircumcised males, and usually develop in puberty up until young adult age.

Common symptoms of penile pearly papules

Besides the visible bumps around the penis head, this condition doesn't cause any health-related symptoms like pain. In most cases, the pimple-like growth remains the same and is represented by the following landmark features:

  • Smooth and tiny bumps, approximately one to four millimeters in length and width
  • Papules can line up in a single or double row
  • These growths develop around the penis's head and, in some cases, the shaft
  • Bumps have a skin tone or a slightly white, yellow, or pinkish hue
  • These growths often don't change in size, shape, or appearance
  • The spots aren't supposed to be painful, itchy, or contagious
  • These tiny growths aren't supposed to be wet or have pus in them

Seeing these growths can be distressing, especially to young males. While pearly penile papules are generally non-life-threatening or aren't a cause of significant concern, it still pays to visit specialists to confirm your condition and discuss how to move forward.

Other conditions that may be mistaken for pearly penile papules

Pearly penile papules often don't have accompanying symptoms as they develop. However, they may often be associated with sexually transmissible diseases because of where they appear.

If you have such a condition, don't be ashamed to go to your healthcare practitioner for a check-up and proper diagnosis. Otherwise, watch out for these signs that indicate you may have another condition instead of PPP.

  • Genital warts: This condition also causes bumps on the penis, but they're bigger and have irregular shapes that are roughly textured instead of the small spots common to PPP. As a sexually transmissible infection, genital warts are often caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. As such, genital warts could spread to the other parts of the body near the genitals, whereas papules grow exclusively on the penis and aren't contagious.

  • Fordyce spots: Like pearly penile papules, this condition is often present at birth but mostly visible during adolescence, where hormones tend to accentuate them. Having these often inobtrusive and tiny white to yellowish bumps isn't considered a health condition. Like PPP, Fordyce bumps aren't painful, itchy, or infectious. While they may develop in the genital area for both males and females, they can also grow in the oral region, particularly on the lips' edges or inside the cheeks.

  • Molluscum contagiosum: This condition causes growth of painless but firm bumps anywhere in the body, including the genitals. It's considered a skin condition caused by a virus after which the condition is named after. Unlike penile pearly papules, it is contagious and can spread if the affected area is scratched.

Seek a doctor's appointment for the best way to determine the bumps around your genital area. In addition, consult a physician if these papules become itchy, infectious, or cause significant discomfort. The specialist will likely recommend that you undergo a few tests based on your symptoms and the doctor's suspicions.


Penile pearly papules are considered a dermatological rather than a medical concern. Men with these bumps mustn't worry, as they're not dangerous. However, because the pimples appear on the penis, it's easy for PPP to be mistaken for a sexually transmissible disease. If you develop these small ridges around the penile area and you're sexually active or are experiencing pain and discomfort, have the physician see the tiny lumps down there, as it can be a more severe condition.

Once you've discussed your treatment options for PPP, consider reliable and affordably-priced PPP removal kits that are easy and safe to use in your own home.


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  3. WebMD Editorial Contributors. 27 April 2021. What You Need to Know About Penile Papules. Accessed 05 August 2022
  4. Hecht, M. 08 May 2019. Understanding Fordyce Spots. Accessed 05 August 2022