It is not common to find all sorts of lumps and bumps on the penis and scrotum. This can often get you very worried. But very often these lumps are benign and do not indicate any STDs or any other diseases. In this article is a discussion of some bumps you do not need to worry about and some bumps you should see your doctor about.
Penis Lumps and Bumps you Do Not need to worry about:
1. Pearly Penile Papules
2. Fordyce’s Spots
3. Tyson’s Glands
4. Angiokeratoma of the Scrotum
Pearly Penile Papules
These are small skin colored bumps on the neck of the penis. It usually goes all the way round and you may even see several rows of them. They are smooth, glistening and dome shaped. Once they occur, they will not go away but may become less noticeable with time. It occurs more frequently in uncircumcised men. They are completely harmless.
There is no need to treat Pearly Penile Papules. For people who are very keen to get rid of them, laser treatment is the best option. We first apply a numbing cream and leave it on for 1 hour. Once the area is numb, the laser treatment is applied. Usually only 1 treatment session is necessary. After the treatment there is very minimal discomfort. Full healing usually occurs in about 3 to 5 days.
Fordyce’s Spots are small (1 to 3mm) slightly raised, white yellowish bumps that are found on the shaft of the penis. Similar spots can also be found on the lips. They are caused by oil glands and are completely harmless.
There is no need to treat Fordyce’s Spots. Some people are keen to get rid of them purely for cosmetic reasons. Laser and chemical peel treatments are effective but the spot always recur.
Tyson’s Glands are Fordyce’s Spots that are found on the head of the penis. They are frequently confused with Pearly Penile Papules. They are also completely harmless and do not require treatment.
Angiokeratoma of the Scrotum
Angiokeratomas are small dark red painless bumps found on the scrotum. There are usually quite a few of them. They are completely harmless and are caused by many small blood vessels clumping together. It they get scratched off they can bleed quite a bit.
There is no need to treat Angiokeratomas. For people who are keen to get rid of them, laser treatment is the best option.
Penis Lumps and Bumps you need to see a Doctor about:
2. Molluscum Contagiosum
Warts are caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus is transmitted via skin to skin contact and is an STD. In women, it infects the cervix and can lead to cervical cancer. In people who practice anal sex, it can also infect the anal canal and cause anal cancer.
Warts are often described at cauliflower-like skin colored growths. They can become quite big and are often multiple. Warts can appear anywhere in the genital or peri-anal area.
Warts need to be treated. There are many treatment options including creams, freezing or laser treatment.
Warts can be prevented with a vaccine. This vaccine is available for both men and women.
Women with warts need to be screened for cervical cancer. People who have peri-anal warts need to be screened for anal cancer.
Anyone with Warts needs to be screened for other STDs.
Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by the Mollusucm Contagiosum Virus. It is transmitted via skin to skin contact. It can also be transmitted via shared towels or clothing.
Molluscum appears as a small (5mm) dome shaped, glistening, skin-colored bump with a small depression on top. It can be slightly itchy. About 1 in 10 people develop eczema around the Mollusucm.
If left untreated, Mollusucm eventually disappears on its own. This can take 6 months or more.
There are many treatment options for Molluscum. These are creams, surgical removal or laser treatment. Because Molluscum can remain dormant under the skin for some time before surfacing, multiple treatment sessions may be necessary.
Sexually active adults with Molluscum should be screened for other STDs.
About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.