Bumps on My Penis: Is This Normal?

Reviewed on 7/16/2021

A bump on the penis can be due to various reasons. It could be a normal, harmless condition or it could be caused by something more serious. Some causes of bumps on the penis include pearly penile papules, pimples/cysts/ingrown hairs, moles, Fordyce spots, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), penile cancer, and others.
A bump on the penis can be due to various reasons. It could be a normal, harmless condition or it could be caused by something more serious. Some causes of bumps on the penis include pearly penile papules, pimples/cysts/ingrown hairs, moles, Fordyce spots, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), penile cancer, and others.

Some bumps on the penis are normal, some may be abnormal but harmless, and some may be a sign of a serious condition. 

See a doctor for any bump on the penis that concerns you, especially for any that occur after unprotected sex, or for an existing bump that changes in size, shape, or color. 

Some causes of bumps on the penis include: 

  • Pearly penile papules
    • Small flesh-colored bumps usually found on the head of the penis that commonly occur all the way around the head in one or more rows
    • More common in men who are not circumcised
    • These bumps are normal, do not cause symptoms, do not need treatment, and often become less noticeable with age
  • Pimples, cysts, or ingrown hairs
    • Common and nothing to worry about
    • Avoid squeezing or popping them as they could become infected
  • Moles
    • Common and usually nothing to worry about
    • If concerned about the cosmetic appearance, it may be removed by a doctor
    • If a mole changes size, shape, or color see a doctor to check for skin cancer
  • Fordyce spots
    • Small yellowish or white spots on the head or shaft of the penis
    • These are visible sebaceous glands (glands that produce sebum) without hair follicles
    • Usually harmless and do not require treatment
    • For those concerned with the cosmetic appearance of the spots, electrosurgery and CO2 laser treatment may be used
  • Lymphocele
    • A hard horizontal or vertical swollen cord that suddenly appears on the shaft of the penis after vigorous masturbation or prolonged, intense sex 
    • Is the result of a temporary blockage of lymph channels in the penis
    • Swelling will go away on its own in a short amount of time and does not require treatment
  • Angiokeratoma
    • Benign vascular lesions that can cause purple, red, and/or blue bumps
    • Can be treated with cryotherapy, electrodessication, excision, laser therapy, or sclerotherapy
  • Lichen planus
    • Purple or white ring-shaped patches on the tip of the penis (glans) and bumps that are flat-topped and shiny, along with a non-itchy rash
    • Mild cases do not require treatment
    • When needed, treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and may include:
      • Emollients, such as petroleum jelly, before and after urinating 
      • Ice packs applied to the affected areas to help soothe itching and swelling (wrap the ice in a clean towel before placing it on the skin) 
      • Oral or topical corticosteroids
      • Antihistamines for itching
      • Ultraviolet B (UVB) and psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) light treatment for severe cases that don't respond to other treatments  
      • Acitretin
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
    • Genital warts
      • Caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), this can cause small fleshy bumps on the penis
      • There is no cure for genital warts but in many cases, they may go away on their own
      • Prescription medication for genital warts may be needed in some cases
    • Genital herpes 
      • Caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can cause painful blisters or sores on the penis
      • There is no cure for herpes but antiviral medications can help reduce and prevent symptoms
    • Syphilis 
    • Molluscum contagiosum
      • A viral skin infection that causes small firm, painless bumps on the skin, which usually form in little clusters
      • Considered an STD when it affects the penis
      • Treatment includes freezing the growths (cryotherapy), scraping off the growths (curettage), use of cantharidin, which forms a blister and gets rid of the molluscum once the blister heals, and podophyllotoxin, a topical medication 
    • Peyronie's disease
      • An uncommon condition in which scar tissue forms under the skin of the penis that can cause bumps on the penis and can cause the penis to become curved when it's erect
      • In a small number of cases, Peyronie's disease goes away on its own without treatment
      • When treatment is needed, penile injections or surgery are used to treat the condition
    • Penile cancer
      • A rare type of cancer that can cause a sore or lump on the penis, most commonly on the head of the penis
      • Treatment may include one or more of the following: surgery, radiation therapy, laser ablation, cryosurgery, topical treatments, and chemotherapy 

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Reviewed on 7/16/2021
References
https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/mens-health/what-is-this-lump-on-my-penis/

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/expert-penis.html

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/fordyce-spots/

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/lichen-planus#about-lichen-planus

https://www.cdc.gov/std/

https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/p/peyronies-disease

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/molluscum-contagiosum-beyond-the-basics/print?search=Moluscum%20conta&selectedTitle=2~47

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/penile-cancer.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367967/