What is Pearly Penile Papules?
Pearly penile papules are small, dome shaped growths that form around the head of penis. They are typically a few millimeters wide and long. They can be pearly white, pink or yellow color. Usually, pearly penile papules will appear in rows near the head of penis. Pearly penile papules are harmless and not contagious. It is, however, often mistaken for genital warts. It typically appears in 40% of mena and may be there till after puberty.
Symptoms of PPP
Pearly penile papules typically does not cause any symptoms. The characteristics of pearly penile papules are:
1) Shaped like a dome or tiny bump
2) 1 to 2 mm wide and 1 to 4 mm long
3) Pearly white, yellow or pink
4) Arranged in rows on the head of penis
Causes of PPP
The reason why someone will develop pearly penile papules is still unknown. These growths are not cancerous or pre-cancerous.
These growths can be due to overgrowth of collagen, dilated blood vessel or fibroblast (one type of connective tissue).
How to diagnose PPP?
There is no blood test or imaging needed to diagnose pearly penile papules. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on examining the appearance of the growth. If they have any concerns regarding the diagnosis, a tissue biopsy might be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Pearly penile papules are harmless therefore, can be left alone without any treatment or surgical intervention. Those who have pearly penile papules should avoid to try pop or pick it at home as this might cause damage and scarring and might lead to other problems like phimosis due to the scarring.
Even though pearly penile papules are harmless, some people might still find it distressing and want them to be removed for aesthetic purposes.
Treatment options available are:
- Radio Frequency assisted removal: the growth will be cut then burned at the base to prevent recurrence
- Cryotherapy: liquid nitrogen is used to burn off the growth. This can be a painful procedure but is usually preferred over extensive surgical procedures.
- CO2 laser: Carbon dioxide lasers produce infrared energy that can dissolve the papule/growth
- Excisional surgery: Scalpel will be used to remove each of the papules. However, this procedure is rarely used as it will cause scarring compared to others.
Many of the procedures above may require multiple attempts to remove all pearly penile papules.
There is no way to prevent pearly penile papules. The origin of pearly penile papules are unknown. Thus, there is no effective way that can prevent someone from having pearly penile papules.