Pearly Penile Papules (or hirsuties papillaris genitalis) are tiny flesh colored bumps that form around the circumference of the sulcus or corona of the penis. The bumps are generally dome shaped and tend to cluster in rows - similar to the look of a pearl necklace The lesions are typically found in males between 20 and 40, and occur with a greater frequency in those that are uncircumcised.
Diagnosis of Pearly Penile Papules
Most men assume they have contracted genital warts upon discovering pearly penile papules. However, lesions of this type are benign and not the cause of a sexually transmitted disease. Similarly, pearly penile papules are not related to poor hygiene of the genital area. They are simply a dermatological condition, just like psoriasis or a skin rash.
However, to ensure the lesions are not the result of an undiagnosed STD or cancer, a doctor's appointment should be made to examine the area in question. In most cases, a sample of the lesions will be biopsied and sent out for laboratory testing.
The doctor may perform other tests if the bumps are accompanied by pus or other secretions - which may also indicate their presence, as they tend to clog the sweat glands.
In most cases, the best treatment option is to leave the bumps alone. Men suffering with pearly penile papules report that the lesions are not painful and do not interfere with sexual intercourse (although they may be embarrassing or hard to explain at first).
They are just a natural characteristic of the body, the same way a mole or scar would be. However, some men find the condition so embarrassing that it affects their self-esteem and sexual experiences.
Fortunately, a newer technology in the form of CO2 laser ablation exists for a more cosmetically appealing look. There are risks to this surgery however, including inflammation and infection, hematoma, scarring issues, swelling, bruising, and numbness.
During a CO2 laser procedure, the penis will be cleaned and coated with a topical numbing cream for approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Next, a ring block of Lidocaine will be given around the base of the penis to ensure the area is completely numb before the procedure begins. Finally, a CO2 laser will be applied to the papules to completely remove or drastically diminish their appearance.
Following the ablation procedure, a patient may experience redness, swelling, crusting and scabbing, stinging or discomfort for the first few days. Similarly, the entire surgical area will take approximately 1-2 weeks to completely heal.
Also read: Circumcision and Pearly Penile Papules
While the discovery of pearly penile papules can cause fright and anxiety in men, the condition is typically asymptomatic and no cause for concern. Cosmetic treatment options exist for those truly uncomfortable with the physical and emotional effects that pearly penile papules can bring.
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