Pearly Penile Papules on Shaft, Head, Foreskin, Pictures Causes, Symptoms, Get Rid, Removal, Treatment & Home Remedies


Pearly penile papules appear as dome-shaped bumps on the glans or head of the penis. Although they are harmless bumps, it might be necessary to get rid of them, basically for cosmetic purposes. But what causes pearly papules? Can they develop on the penile shaft or on foreskin? Can they be prevented? Explore the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options (removal methods) and home remedies for pearly penile papules, including cost and pictures.

What is Pearly Penile Papules

Pearly Penile Papules (PPP) are also known as hirsutoid papillomas or hirsuties coronae glandis. They are small bumps with dome-shaped tops that usually form on glans of the penis.

Pearly penile papules are smooth and usually flesh-colored although they may look pinkish, yellowish, whitish, and sometimes almost translucent. They have various sizes and appearance. Their size range from less than 1 mm to about 3 mm.

They are situated around the circumference of the corona (ridge) or sulcus (groove) on the base of the glans of the penis, usually, arrange in one or more rows

Although the papules may look abnormal, they are not an infection. As such, they are not contagious and cannot be transmitted sexually. They are an anatomical variation rather disease or a health condition.

Occurrence of Pearly Penile Papules

This condition affects about in 8 to 43 percent of all men. The papules usually appear after puberty, and are common between in men 20 and 40 years of age. They tend to disappear on their own with aging, especially after 40 years of age.

They tend to occur more in uncircumcised males than circumcised ones. According to one study, it was found in 33.3% of uncircumcised males and in 7.1% of circumcised males.

Also, the studies show that they occur more in black people that than one people. One study shows that it affects 32.7% of black males (44% uncircumcised, 20.8% circumcised) and 13.9% white males (33.3% in uncircumcised, 7.1% in circumcised).

A similar condition to pearly penile papules, which is referred to as vestibular papillomatosis or hirsuties papillaris vulvae, occurs on the vulva of females. Like pearly penile papules, it is not a disease but just a normal variation in human anatomy.

Pearly Penile Papules Symptoms

Pearly penile papules do not actually manifest any symptoms. After developing they don’t spread or undergo substantial change in shape or size. However, their typical characteristics include:

  • They look like tiny, usually elongated, bumps with a cone-shaped ending
  • They measure 1 to 3 millimeters in diameter.
  • They are smooth and usually flesh colored but might be pinkish, yellowish or almost translucent
  • They form one or more rows (usually two) around ridge or groove at the base of the glans penis (head of the penis)

Pearly Penile Papules Causes

Contrary to popular misunderstanding, pearly penile papules are not caused by poor hygiene or infections such as sexually transmitted diseases.

The exact causes of pearly penile papules are not known. Apparently, the condition does not have external causes or underlying factor and is not hereditary.

According to American Urological Association, the papules could be left over during the embryonic development of the individual affected in the womb. “Health experts agree that pearly penile papules are a normal anatomic variation condition”, [Healthline].

Identifying Pearly Penile Papules

Pearly penile papules might be confused with other similar bumps like genital warts, genital herpes or Fordyce spots. However, their location, shape, and arrangement on the penis can help distinguish them. It is important to properly identify the bumps for relevant medication where necessary.

1. Pearly Penile Papules Vs Genital Warts

Genital warts appear as usually painless bumps that are flesh-colored or gray. They may be accompanied by itching, discharge, burning and rarely bleeding. They develop due to a viral infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They may appear on the penile shaft, at the base of the penis, on penis glans, and the scrotum or balls.

The clear distinguishing features between pearly penile papules and genital herpes include their shape, location, and pattern of the bumps. Unlike genital warts, pearly penile papules are dome-shaped bumps which are situated in a circular arrangement around the base of the penis glans (on the ridge or groove) in one or more rows, usually two.

2. Pearly Penile Papules Vs Genital Herpes

Genital herpes usually causes pimple-like painful red bumps that might ooze on the genitals and the surrounding areas. They may lie on the penile shaft, penis glans, and base of the penis or on the scrotum. Genital herpes is a viral infection that is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV).

The clear distinguishing features between pearly penile papules and genital herpes include their shape, location, and pattern of the bumps. Unlike genital herpes, pearly penile papules are dome-shaped bumps that are situated in a circular arrangement around the base of the penis glans (on the ridge or groove) in one or more rows, usually two rows.

3. Pearly Penile Papules Vs Fordyce Spots

Fordyce spots are small raised bumps which are usually bright red, pale red, yellow-white, purple or skin-colored. They appear on the penis, penile shaft, on the foreskin or on the scrotum (balls). Fordyce spots are abnormally dilated blood vessels that are covered by thickened skin. They are usually painless and are not itchy although they may bleed during or after sexual intercourse.

On the contrary, pearly penile papules are dome-shaped bumps which are situated circumferentially around the base of the penis glans in one or more rows, usually two. Therefore, their shape, location, and arrangement are probably the clear features that can be used to distinguish them. Color may not be a clear feature to distinguish them. Another similarity is that both of them may bleed during or after sexual intercourse.

Diagnosis of Pearly Penile Papules

Usually, pearly penile papules are easily diagnosed by physical examination using their typical characteristics. Basically, the diagnosis entails it from other skin conditions such as genital warts, genital herpes or Fordyce spots.

However, in case the diagnosis process fails to definitely identify the bumps, it may be necessary to perform a biopsy of a tissue from affected area to clarify the diagnosis. This is because it may be mistaken for other conditions such as genital warts, genital herpes or Fordyce spots, which pose a health threat and necessarily require treatment.

Pearly Penile Papules on Shaft

Pearly penile papules are found specifically at the base of the penis glans (or head of the penis). They are normally arranged circumferentially in rows on the ridge or groove at the base penis glans. If the bumps are located on any other part of the penis or penile shaft, then they are probably not pearly penile papules.

Pearly Penile Papules on Foreskin.

The pearly penile papules do not form on the foreskin. Bumps on the foreskin may be as result of other conditions or infections.

How to Get Rid of Pearly Penile Papules

Pearly penile papules do not pose any health threat. Therefore, treatment is not necessary once they are positively diagnosed. In case the condition causes considerable psychological distress, it may be necessary to treat it.

Pearly Penile Papules Treatment (Removal)

Basically, the treatment of pearly penile papules entails removing the bumps. The common pearly penile papules removal procedures include the following. Generally, they all remove the papules easy and quickly.

  1. Laser Surgery: Specifically, carbon dioxide laser surgery is used in this treatment. This procedure entails the use of infrared energy produced by carbon dioxide lasers to dissolve the pearly penile papules. It is generally a safe and effective way of getting rid of the bumps.
  2. Radiosurgery: This procedure entails the use of targeted radiation that creates free radicals, which are molecules that attack and damage the papules. Generally, radiosurgery is just as accurate and effective as carbon dioxide laser surgery.
  3. Cryosurgery: This procedure entails subjecting the pearly penile papules to a very cold condition in order to freeze them. This damages the cells of the bumps, making the bumps to disappear.
  4. Excisional surgery: This is the use of surgical instruments such as scalpels to cut off the papules one by one. Unlike the other approaches, this procedure is likely to cause more scarring as a side effect.

Generally, it takes about two weeks for full recovery after treatment by these methods. During the recovery time, the level of discomfort is absolutely minimal.

Each of the surgical procedures comes with a solution to the problem but not without costs, instructions to be followed, and risks. Therefore, you need to fully understand all the issues associated with a particular treatment before undergoing the treatment.

Among the issues to be taken into consideration for each treatment is the recovery process and time, the desired results, the risks involved and the cost of the treatment.

Pearly Penile Papules Home Remedies

Some people try to remove pearly penile papules naturally at home. However, the effectiveness and safety of pearly penile papules removal at home cannot be guaranteed. Some of the home remedies which are commonly tried include:

  • Over the counter topical ointments such as triple antibiotic ointment and pearly penile papules removal cream
  • Scrubbing of the pearly penile papules
  • Putting toothpaste on the bumps
  • Use of Alpha Hydroxy Acid on the papules
  • Applying Tree Tea Oil on the papules
  • Applying lemon juice on the bumps
  • Applying castor oil to the affected area

Use of natural methods such as Triple Antibiotic Ointment, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Castor Oil and Tree Tea Oil is effective, although there is no guarantee that they will work for you. Additionally, they may usually take longer to cure the bumps, if at all they work.

Also, natural home remedies are cheap, painless and without the risk of adverse side effects. Furthermore, they enable you to avoid the embarrassment of talking to your doctor about the problem since you carry the procedure at home.

However, it is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor before attempting any of these treatments and suggested home remedies for pearly penile papule. The doctor may give you vital advice about their effectiveness and how to use them for good results.

How to Get Rid of PPP in 3 Days

Use of pearly penile papules removal cream, commonly known as 3P Gel to get rid of pearly papules easy and quickly. 3P Gel is an over-the-counter topical treatment that has effectively been used to effectively get rid of pearly penile papules

It is encouragingly fast and starts working immediately you start using it in a method known as papule reduction therapy. Although it does not actually take 3 days it starts to naturally diminish your papules within the first week of application. You will need to continue until your papules are completely gone.

Unlike the unproven home remedies, 3P Gel is specially formulated to suit with your penile physiology, Hence your penile tissue will remain safe during the treatment.

How to Prevent Pearly Penile Papules

Unfortunately, there is no way of preventing pearly penile papules. This is because this condition is not caused by infections, diseases or underlying health conditions. Note even lifestyle problem or choices causes the condition and hence a change in lifestyle cannot help.

However, circumcision is likely to reduce the chances of developing pearly penile papules. Nevertheless, this does not guarantee total prevention of the condition and it the bumps may still develop one day.

Myths about Pearly Penile Papules

There are various myths that have existed for ages about pearly penile papules that might be misleading. Some of the common myths about this condition include:

  1. Pearly penile papules is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Not true. Pearly penile papules cannot be contracted through sexual intercourse and hence cannot spread to your partner.
  2. Only men can develop pearly penile papules: Not true. Even women develop as a similar condition called vestibular papillomatosis on their private parts, specifically the vulva.
  3. Pearly Penile papule is a hereditary condition: Not true. Even if it happens to happen to develop in a family lineage, it has no connection with the parent or ancestor that suffered from.
  4. The only way to remove PPP is by surgery: Not true. They may be treated with over-the counter topical medications such as pearly penile papules removal cream.
  5. If you have Pearly Penile papule, you may develop erectile dysfunction: Not true. Pearly Penile papules condition does not affect sexual performance. However, you may suffer from temporary erectile dysfunction due of low self-esteem as a result of the condition.

Pearly penile papules do not at all pose any health threats to your life even in future. The bumps are neither malignant nor even premalignant. Additionally, they are likely to disappear you get older.

Therefore, pearly penile papules should not be a cause for any worry health-wise and should not affect your day to day activities such as intercourse.

When to See a Doctor over Pearly Penile Papules

Despite the fact that pearly penile papules do not pose any health problems, you may need to see a doctor (urologist) in case there are unusual symptoms you associate with it.

Usually, this is an indication of a different and probably threatening problem that is unlikely to be related to pearly penile papules.  Probably, this arises from wrong diagnosis of the bumps as pearly penile papules. Therefore, see the neurologist in case you experience any of the following:

  • Painful urination
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Any other changes on your penis.

Pearly Penile Papules Pictures

The pictures of pearly penile papules have been inserted at various relevant sections throughout this post. This will to enable you to be able to identify them, or distinguish them from other similar bumps. You can get more pearly penile papules pictures by searching for them online.

Sources and References

  1. What Are Pearly Penile Papules?
  2. Pearly Penile Papules. Know Every What, Why and How of Its Causes, Symptoms, and Cures:
  3. Pearly Penile Papules:
  4. Pearly Penile Papules Treatment:
  5. Hirsuties coronae glandis:
  6. Pearly Penile Papules :


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