They Aren't Contagious, Just Funny-Looking

Perrin Rynning's picture
By Perrin Rynning Conditions: Men's Penis Pain & Injury Symptoms: penile papules Age: Under 18

A young man and his girlfriend are experimenting with oral sex, sometimes using lotion that remains on his penis afterward. He has discovered papules beginning to develop on his penis, and wants to know what has caused them and how he can get rid of them. What are they? Where did they come from, and how can he get rid of them? Read on, get the facts, and find out!

Case #: 
1617

Concern:

Hey there everyone, I'm a 17 year old male and recently when me and my girlfriend have oral sex she has started to use lotion while we have oral sex and a few times when we are done I have noticed that I go to sleep with some lotion on my penis. I am circumcised. I have recently noticed some white bumps all around the tip of my penis head. After doing some research I have discovered that I have pearly penile papules or PPP and I read that it can be caused by prominent moisture. As of now, the ppp isn't that visible but I am wondering, could the lotion be the cause behind all of this? I am very worried about this and I really want to get rid of all of this. I read that about 20-30% of men have problems like this so I am not super worried, I know there is a remedy but I don't know what they might be. Does this get any worse or can this be stopped?

Discussion:

Guys have had their penises their entire lives and they're used to how it looks. It may have changed a little bit since they were young, but for the most part these changes were considered normal. Got hairier around the base, the scrotum dropped, even experienced an erection or two... all normal stuff that happens to males as part of the process of changing from a boy to a man, at least in a physiological sense.
 
So the sudden appearance of little blisters on the penis is liable to cause some concern. “That's not normal... is it?” The most likely response is to assume that the patient has contracted a sexually-transmitted disease, but they might also be penis papules. Let's take a look at the science so we can help you get the best possible treatment.
 
What Are They?
First and most importantly, they are NOT contagious. You cannot give them to your partner, nor did you get them from someone else. They are categorized as normal anatomical variations among humans, as they appear in almost every ethnic/racial demographic at roughly the same proportion. One study suggests that they're vestigial penile spines, left over from our very primitive primate ancestors and supposedly enhancing sexual pleasure. No known modern example is large or rigid enough to provide any detectable enhancement to sexual activity, though. Nor has anyone conclusively determined what makes them appear; keeping your penis in a consistently humid or moist environment isn't enough, because that could easily describe most guys' underwear. For all practical purposes, they aren't much more than very small blisters.
 
How Can I Get Rid Of Them?
Assuming that you, your sexual partner, or both of you are uncomfortable just leaving them alone, you have two broad categories of responses: professional medical removal or home remedies. Going to a professional reduces the risks but can be expensive. Home remedies, on the other hand, are cheap, but run a greater risk of causing damage, scarring or worse. If you choose to address the problem yourself in the privacy of your own home, here are three highly-recommended solutions.
 
Tea Tree Oil
A strong antiseptic derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, Tea Tree Oil maintains an excellent reputation among alternative healthcare researchers. You can find more-detailed instructions on usage; for now, be advised that the oil can irritate your skin if it is undiluted, even if you are not allergic to it.
 
Castor Oil
Long used as a medicine for intestinal distress and other internal maladies, the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of Castor Oil present a reliable and effective way to remove papules.
 
Iodine
Higher animals, including humans, require Iodine to manufacture many hormones in the thyroid. It is also a very strong antiseptic and disinfectant, which also means that it very effectively removes papules.
 
Warnings
I can't stress this enough: follow the directions. Each of these solutions work best if you go slowly. Resist the temptation to use them more often than recommended and under no circumstances should you try to combine them! You may think that your papules look ugly, but that's nothing compared to a penis disfigured by scars or worse. Patient and diligent adherence to the recommended dosages at the described schedule is your best chance of seeing the papules go away without taking too much of your penis with them.

What to do


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