Should I worry about pearly penile papules?

Should I worry about pearly penile papules?
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Pearly penile papules (PPPs) are a harmless feature of many penises. While these benign bumps are nothing to worry about in terms of health, some men don’t like the way the bumps look. There are options for having pearly penile papules removed, and science says they’ll never return. 

What to do if you are worried about pearly penile papules

ENRICH Clinic in Melbourne has a high-tech solution to your pearly papules: gentle laser removal. Our PPP-removal expert, Dr Michael Rich, has performed this procedure hundreds of times. You can rest assured you’re in the best hands. 

PPPs can cause anxiety and confidence issues needlessly, so if you’re concerned about yours, call us. You can be PPP-free in no time. 

Are PPPs a disease?

You can rest assured these tiny little pearls are not contagious or malignant, and there is nothing wrong with your penis. Researchers believe these growths are a remnant from human bodies past, a leftover from previous evolutions. PPPs are benign, harmless, and in the medical community are considered regular skin. 

PPPs are a normal variant of human penis skin, and you cannot cause them any more than you can generate your nose or ear shape. 

Am I normal?

These tiny skin-coloured bumps surround the edge of the head of the penis – the glans penis or corona (crown). The papules appear like a miniature string of pearls or beads, lined up next to each other in an orderly ring. 

Up to 43 per cent of men can have pearly penile papules. The little bumps can develop over a lifetime but tend to become less evident with age. Uncircumcised men develop PPPs more often than circumcised men. 

Do these penis bumps cause symptoms?

There are no known symptoms associated with PPPs. The only negative outcome occurs if a man is anxious about the presence of the pearly papules, and that affects his day-to-day wellbeing. If this is the case, we recommend making an appointment to see Dr Rich, as the treatment is straightforward, low-risk and we ensure your comfort throughout. Recovery tends to be quick and comfortable. 

I’m worried the pearly penile papules might be something else – how can I tell?

There are a few clues that can help determine if you have PPPs or something else. Here’s a cheat sheet so you can do a bit of investigating yourself. As always, if you’re not sure or need a second opinion, see your doctor. 

Sign Pearly Penile Papules Genital Warts Molluscum Contagion
Arrangement Orderly rows (1-2) around the penis Random placement Random placement
Cause Normal anatomy Contagious virus Contagious virus
Location The rim of the head of the penis only Anywhere on genitals including the anal area Anywhere on body
Colour Pearly white, pink or yellow Flesh coloured, pearly Red
Appearance Tidy, orderly, consistent shape and size Cauliflower, flat, raised, skin tag, clusters Blisters, skin tags
Measurements 1-2mm wide, 1-4mm long 1-2mm diameter but varies 1-5mm in diameter, dimpled centre

Treatment and recovery for pearly penile papules

At ENRICH, Dr Rich uses a laser to precisely and carefully vaporise the papules. Healing takes about a week and tends to be unremarkable and well-tolerated. Our clinic provides all follow-up care routines, so you’re never left wondering how to look after yourself to ensure best results. 

Does laser removal of PPPs leave a scar?

No, the removal procedure does not leave scars because it doesn’t really break the skin. The laser targets just the cells of the papules, vaporising them, which will leave a small scab as it heals. 

Part of what makes lasers so useful is this ability to remove layers of cells without damaging the skin cells underneath. 

Does the treatment hurt?

The treatment is very comfortable and reasonably quick, with a topical anaesthetic applied so you won’t feel much, and you will not feel any pain. You can go back to your normal daily activities afterwards. 

You can rest assured that our top priority is your comfort. We realise having a laser aimed at your penis can seem daunting! You may be rightly worried about possible risks, which we’ll discuss with you clearly before any treatment occurs, so you’re comfortable with the procedure. We have an excellent track record, and Dr Rich is an expert in his field. 

The treatment is very well-tolerated by patients, with any tenderness post-treatment managed quickly with over the counter pain medication. Most patients report healing is swift and incident-free. Luckily, the tissue in our intimate areas is some of the fastest healing on the human body. 

Getting more information on the treatment

We welcome a phone call or email to discuss the treatment in more detail and have plenty of resources on our website. You can also check out some science on the latest in pearly penile papule diagnosis and management in this journal article

The best course of action is to contact us for a consultation where Dr Rich can assess you in person and walk you through the treatment. If you decide to go ahead, the treatment is relatively quick, and you can expect to be out of the clinic in good time, on your road to a papule-free penis. 

Love the skin you’re in.
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Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Some surgeries have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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