To set your mind at ease from the start, pearly penile papules are completely benign. Many men mistakenly think they have acquired a sexually transmitted disease or developed genital warts when they first notice the lumps. They are not a symptom of an STD. There is really no known reason why the bumps form, but it has nothing to do with sexual activity or personal hygiene. If you are experiencing discharge or see a yellowish-white color, you probably have a clogged gland or sebaceous cyst instead. Either way, having a doctor look at it is wise.
The best advice for an individual with pearly penile papules for whom surgery is not a viable consideration is simply to love your body. Pearly penile papules are not going to scare away a partner who genuinely cares for you. If you happen to encounter such a person, he or she was certainly not worth the time investment. In the meantime, accept that you are among a select group of rare anatomical variants and take pride in being special. Some partners of individuals with pearly penile papules even claim that the papules enhance their receptive sexual sensations. While it is understandable to feel some anxiety over a physical “abnormality,” especially when it affects such a delicate region of the body, acceptance and respect for oneself is inarguably the healthiest (and most cost-effective) mode of treatment.
William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology , Society for Investigative Dermatology
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