Pearly penile papules: 7 treatment options

Pearly penile papules (PPP), also known medically as hirsutoid papillomas, are tiny smooth bumps or threads that appear around the base of the glans penis. They usually form one or two rows around the head of the penis. Although they are not painful and are known to be harmless, they can still cause worry and anxiety for men who have them.


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Until today, the reason why PPP occurs in men is unknown. Many speculations evolve due to poor hygiene and promiscuous sexual activity. These speculations have been debunked and experts believe that the papules are remnants of a man’s embryonic development in the womb. In other words, growth is purely anatomical.

About 8-43% of men have pearly penile papules, and they usually appear after puberty. It has also been noted that most of those who get them are uncircumcised black men.

Doctors have already concluded that the growth is harmless and no treatment is needed since most papules fade over time. However, if you are worried about your health, it would be best to have a doctor examine you, as you may make the wrong assumption about your condition and confuse PPP with genital warts, which may look similar. Unlike PPP, genital warts are contagious and can be transmitted through oral or anal sex.

Pearly penile papules can affect sexual confidence; so even if doctors were already saying it’s not contagious and generally harmless, we’d like it to go away. There are several ways to remove PPP, including:

  1. home kit

Since the prevalence of PPP is common and about one in four men have it, specialists have developed a kit that can be used at home. A PPP kit is an ionizer home treatment system that vaporizes papules.

Not all men are comfortable going to the doctor for treatment of a condition in their private part, while some may not have the funds for a complicated surgery. This kit will be the answer to your woes if you feel like it.

The kit contains all the materials one would need for home treatment – a high precision ionizer tool, numbing cream, alcohol swabs, a step-by-step guide and even an instructional video to help you do it. do it yourself. These kits are available from legitimate online stores, such as

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  1. Excisional surgery

The traditional, invasive way to remove each papule is to make tiny incisions with a scalpel. This method is quite painful and will lead to scarring. Guys with a low pain threshold may want to stay away from it even if the procedure is covered by local anesthesia.

A more experienced dermatologist should perform this procedure as they have the expertise to do it without sutures. After excising and using electrosurgical feathers, the dermatologist must simultaneously coagulate the tissue while removing the papules from the glans. This will result in a smoother result and restore the original shape of the patient’s penis.

The procedure takes an hour, while recovery can take up to three weeks. It would be better for the patient to take time off from work and refrain from lifting heavy objects while recovering.

  1. Cryotherapy

cryotherapy is usually used to destroy harmful growths, but it has been helpful in removing tiny bumps on the penis caused by PPP. The method uses extreme temperatures to freeze and destroy targeted areas.

The therapy uses a liquid nitrogen spray gun which gives a 15-20 second freeze-thaw cycle that will burst and shrink the papules and prevent them from growing back. The procedure takes no more than 30 minutes, while recovery takes up to three weeks.

  1. Radiosurgical excision

Radiosurgery uses electrodes to heat tissue to temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, proteins and cell membranes of PPP tissue cells are destroyed.

Just like cryosurgery, it is a relatively quick procedure that takes no more than 30 minutes, while recovery can take up to three weeks. A dermatologist usually performs the procedure in an outpatient setting.

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  1. Fractional CO2 laser

The carbon dioxide laser is the most commonly used laser for the removal of pearly penile papules. It is also compatible with dark skinned patients as there is minimal hyperpigmentation. The laser uses a device with a wavelength of 10,600 nm and penetrates deep into the skin. The PPP will usually disappear permanently after the third treatment. Treatments are usually spaced two months apart. And, faster healing is usually seen after five days of treatment.

  1. Erbium laser

Also known as YAG or yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser treatment, this is a non-aggressive, non-invasive laser treatment that uses a laser in an ablation mode. Effective clearance is observed after three treatments in an outpatient clinical setting.

The Erbium laser has a wavelength of 2940 nm, has a faster healing process than the CO2 laser and penetrates the skin much less. This treatment is well tolerated and allows complete elimination of the papules, with a minimum of complications and discomfort. YAG also has the most aesthetically desirable result of all the PPP treatments available today, although it costs more than the others.

  1. Electrodesiccation

The papules are thermally ablated using an electrode in monopolar mode. The electrodes send an alternating current which destroys the tissues of the papules. Electrodesiccation can be completed with a curettage process, which scrapes the tissue with a curette. Some electrodesication procedures work without curettage, so it would be best to ask your doctor what is best for your condition.


Even if something doesn’t cause physical pain, the emotional pain and distress a condition can cause in a person can lead to anxiety, depression, and broken relationships. This should not be dismissed; instead, a permanent solution should be applied so that one can live a normal and healthy life.

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All surgical and non-surgical procedures carry risks; you should do a thorough consultation with a doctor who specializes in such procedures so that you can properly weigh all your options. And, since the condition is in your sensitive part of the body, you might want to take extreme precautions as you don’t want to cause irreversible damage that could further compromise your condition.

Also, don’t be tempted to use home remedies. There have been no known studies that support them. You may find yourself browsing the internet for a quick fix and come across many suggestions, including using oatmeal, toothpaste, lemon juice, or even honey. The skin on your penis is different from the skin on your face, and using a product believed to be safe for sensitive skin doesn’t necessarily mean it would be safe for your private part as well. Remember to be patient, avoid short-term treatments and only trust your doctor, because he knows what is best to do.


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