Penis Bumps: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Author: Staff Writer


  • Blisters that occur individually or in clusters;
  • Pearly bumps around the head of the penis;
  • Round bumps with a flat, roughened surface;
  • Raised red patches;
  • Itchy skin that may have a flaky or scaly appearance;
  • Asymmetrical bumps that may grow or change in size or appearance.



Genital warts are caused by certain strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infection. They can present as pink-brown or skin-colored penis bumps, or they may have a rough, “cauliflower-like” appearance. The warts may appear individually or in clusters on the shaft or glans of the penis, as well as on the scrotum or around the anus.

These warts are not the same as those that may grow on the hands and feet, and you can’t get them by touching warts from other parts of the body to the genital area. Also, although you may have heard that some forms of HPV are linked to genital cancer, these are not the same strains that cause genital warts.

However, genital warts are contagious, and you can pass them on to a sexual partner, even if no symptoms are visible.

Recommended treatment:

Genital warts may go away on their own, but this can take months, or in some cases, years. To avoid spreading them to a sexual partner, it is best to get treatment. There are several options for getting rid of warts:

  • Prescription creams — these can be applied at home over the course of several weeks to remove the warts
  • Chemicals that are applied in the doctor’s office to kill the virus and make the warts fall off. This usually requires several visits.
  • Freezing or burning the warts off. This is also done in the doctor’s office. A numbing medication may be added to the area to make the procedure more comfortable.


Genital herpes, caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, or HSV, is another very common form of sexually transmitted infection. Herpes first appears as penis bumps or blisters that may be intesely itchy or even painful. The blisters may ooze, and then crust over, and they may appear individually or in clusters.

During the first outbreak of herpes, individuals may also have flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, chills and body aches. The symptoms may disappear for a time, but new outbreaks can occur. As with genital warts, herpes is highly contagious and can be passed from one partner to another, even when no symptoms are present.

Recommended treatment:

If taken at the first signs of an outbreak, oral antiviral medications can help to control its duration and serverity. However, there is no cure. There are many claims on the Internet about natural remedies, dietary changes, creams, and other treatments that can supposedly cure herpes, but there is no scientific evidence that they work. Therefore, people with herpes will always need to take precautions to avoid spreading the disease to their sexual partners.


Fordyce spots are small penis bumps that are usually found on the shaft, especially near the base. They may also form on the scrotum. They may be flesh-colored, reddish or pale yellow, and they are usually 1-3 mm in diameter. Fordyce spots are nothing more than enlarged oil glands. They are benign, and they are not contagious; in most cases, they are barely noticeable.

Recommended treatment:

Fordyce spots generally do not need treatment, although some men find them embarrassing and may prefer to have them removed. Treatment options include:

  • Micropunch surgery — a topical anesthetic is applied, and then a pen-like device is used to rapidly punch the skin and remove the unwanted tissue.
  • Laser surgery — a doctor may use a concentrated beam of light to burn away the bumps. Unlike micropunch surgery, this procedure may cause scarring.
  • Chemical cauterization — a chemical is applied to the area to burn away the tissue.
  • Topical creams — creams containing retinol (vitamin A) may be applied to the area over the course of several weeks or months. Not all men tolerate This should be done under a doctor’s supervision, as retinol can cause irritation, flaking and burning.


Pearly penile papules (PPP) are penis bumps thoat may appear in a single or double row around the head, or glans. They may be pink, red, white, or even translucent, and they are often described as resembling a string of pearls around the penis.

Doctors don’t know what causes PPP, but we do know that they are not harmful. They are generally considered as a normal skin variation, and men who have them cannot give them to a sexual partner.

Recommended treatment:

Because PPP is a normal and benign condition, most doctors prefer to leave them alone. Men should not pick at them, attempt to cut them off, or use wart creams, as this can cause severe damage to the penile skin. Some men elect to have the papules removed by laser, but scarring may occur, and the bumps often come back.


In extremely rare cases, penis bumps may be a sign of cancer. In this case, reddish or bluish bumps may appear, and they may have an indented surface.

Recommended treatment:

Treating cancer in the early stages offers the best chance for full recovery, so it is important to perform regular self-exams and to report any unusual growths, lesions or other markings to a doctor right away.

Regular self-care is recommended for all men, including checking the groin area for unusual signs or symptoms, washing regularly, scheduling yearly checkups, and applying a nutrient-rich penile crème to help maintain skin and nerve health in the delicate penis tissue.


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