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Pearly Penile Papules


It's perfectly normal to be a bit worried if you notice any small growths on your penis. It's possible that you might have pearly penile papules, or if you've ever had sexual contact, you could have genital warts. Read on to learn more about PPP.


Pearly Penile Papules

What are pearly penile papules and what do they look like?

Pearly penile papules (PPP) are small, benign (non-cancerous) growths. PPP can be pink, white, yellow, or (rarely) translucent in color. They're normally very small, ranging from 1-2mm wide by 1-4mm long. The shape, color, and size can vary between individuals, but all the papules that one person has will look the same. The papules are usually found in a single or double row on or around the head of the penis.


Why do some guys have PPP?

Experts aren't completely sure why some guys have PPP. Since PPP aren't harmful in any way, they are also considered a normal skin variation. Additionally, guys can have PPP regardless of their race, geographic location, or sexual preference. Several reports say that uncircumcised guys may be more likely to have them than those who are circumcised.


Are PPP contagious?

No. PPP are not contagious. You can't get them through contact with a person who has them, and there is no way you can "infect" someone with them through sexual contact.


Are PPP genital warts?

No, PPP are not the same as genital warts. Genital warts are caused by HPV; a sexually transmitted infection. They are small, cauliflower shaped growths that can also develop on or around a guys' anus, thighs, groin, scrotum, penis, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat. Unlike PPP, genital warts are contagious.


I think I might have PPP, should I see my health care provider?

Yes. If you're ever concerned about any lumps or bumps on your genital region, you should make an appointment with your health care provider or dermatologist.


What is the treatment for PPP?

Health care providers prefer to leave PPP alone, because the papules don't impose any risk on your health. Do NOT try to pick at them or pop them, and do NOT use an over the counter "wart remover" - these medicines are not meant for use on your penis.


I have PPP - is there anything to worry about?

No! PPP are harmless skin growths. Although it's completely normal to be concerned at first; once you know the facts, there's really nothing to worry about.


If you're concerned about PPP, here's a tip on how to bring it up with your provider: "I have these little white bumps on my penis - what are they?"


Written by the YMH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 2/17/2015


Related Guides:


Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause warts on the hands and feet, but other types are transmitted sexually and can cause genital warts...



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