Pearly Penile Papules


What are pearly penile papules (PPP), and what do they look like?

They are small non-cancerous growths that are not itchy or painful. Most men first notice them during puberty. This condition is seen in approximately 10% of men. Papules are more common in men who have not been circumcised. However, they can appear on any male. 

     Here is how they appear:

  • Pearly white, pink, or yellow
  • Dome-shaped or filiform (i.e. threadlike) bumps
  • Usually in 2-4 rows around the head of the penis

Why do some men have PPP but not others?

Experts aren’t completely sure why some men develop this condition. These lesions are not considered harmful. Triple P occurs in men of all races and geographic locations.   

Is PPP contagious?

No, it is not contagious. You can’t get them through contact with a person who has them, and there is no way you can “infect” someone with them through sexual contact. They are not an infectious condition!

Are PPP a form of genital warts?

No, genital warts are contagious lesions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV)- a sexually transmitted infection. Genital warts are small, cauliflower shaped growths that develop on or around the anus, thighs, groin, scrotum, penis, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat. 

I think I might have PPP, should I see my health care provider?

Yes, if you’re ever concerned about any lumps or bumps on your genital region, you should make an appointment with your health care provider or schedule a consultation with Dr. Ross Van Antwerp to determine exactly what you have.

What is the treatment for PPP?

Dr. Ross Van Antwerp at the Laser Center of Maryland offers an innovative approach to the removal of PPP. He removes papules with the UltraPulse carbon dioxide laser under the guidance of an operating microscope. The treatment is precise, comfortable, and has an excellent cosmetic result.

Never try to remove them yourself by popping or picking at them, and NEVER use an over the counter “wart remover” anywhere on your genitals – these solutions can cause severe skin irritation and scarring.

Does PPP spontaneously disappear?

No, it is a condition that is particular to you. If they bother you because of their cosmetic appearance that is reason enough to have them removed. Many men report that it boosts their confidence once they are gone.  

I have pearly penile papules should I worry?

No! they are harmless skin growths. Once you know the facts, there’s nothing to worry about in terms of a health issue. A simple cosmetic laser treatment will completely resolve your problem. Say bye-bye to PPP.