Pearly Penile Papules: 7 Treatment Options

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



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Until today, the reason why PPP occurs in men is unknown. Many speculations evolve that they arise because of poor hygiene and promiscuous sexual activity. These speculations have been debunked, and experts believe that the papules are left over from a man’s embryonic development in the womb. Suffice to say, the growth is purely anatomical.

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

Doctors have already concluded that the growth is harmless and that no treatment is necessary since most papules will fade in time. If you worry about your health, however, it’d be better for a doctor to examine you because you might be making a wrong assumption about your condition and mistake PPP for genital warts, which may look similar. Unlike PPP, genital warts are contagious and may be transmitted through oral or anal sex.

Pearly penile papules can affect one’s sexual confidence; thus, even if doctors already said it’s not contagious and is generally harmless, one would want it to disappear.  There are several ways to remove PPP, and these include:

  1. Home Kit

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

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

The kit contains all the materials one would need for the home treatment—a high-precision ionizer tool, numbing cream, alcohol pads, a step-by-step guide, and even an instructional video to help you do it successfully on your own. Such kits are available in legitimate online stores, such as

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  1. Excisional Surgery

The traditional invasive way of removing each papule is making tiny incisions using a scalpel. This method is quite painful and will result in scarring. Guys with a low pain threshold may want to veer away from this even if the procedure is covered by a local anesthetic.

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

The procedure takes an hour to complete, while recovery may take as long as three weeks. It’d be best that the patient takes a leave of absence from work and refrain from heavy lifting during recovery.

  1. Cryotherapy

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

The therapy utilizes a liquid nitrogen spray gun that 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 longer than 30 minutes, while recovery takes up to three weeks.

  1. Radiosurgical excision

Radiosurgery uses electrodes to heat up the tissue to temperatures above 50 degrees Celcius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit. With this temperature, the proteins and cell membranes of the PPP’s tissue cells are destroyed.

Just like cryosurgery, this is a relatively fast procedure that only takes no longer than 30 minutes, while recovery may take up to three weeks. A dermatologist usually performs the procedure in an outpatient setting.

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  1. Fractionated CO2 Laser

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

  1. Erbium Laser

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

The Erbium laser has a wavelength of 2,940 nm, has a faster healing process than the CO2 laser, and penetrates the skin much less.  This treatment is well-tolerated and gives complete clearance of papules, with minimal complications and discomfort. YAG also has the most cosmetically desirable outcome of all the PPP treatments available today, although it costs more than the others.

  1. Electrodessication

The papules are thermally ablated using an electrode in a monopolar mode. The electrodes send an alternating current that destroys the tissues of the papules. The electrodessication may be finished with a curettage process, which scrapes off the tissue with a curette.  Some electrodessication procedures work without a curettage, so it’d be best to ask your doctor what’s best for your condition.


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

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All surgical and non-surgical procedures come with risks; you have to make an extensive consultation with a doctor who specializes in such procedures so you can properly weigh all your options. And, since the condition is in your sensitive body part, you may want to take extreme precautions because you wouldn’t want to do irreversible damage that could further jeopardize your condition.

Furthermore, don’t be tempted to employ at-home remedies. There have been no known studies that support them.  You may find yourself browsing the Internet for a quick fix and stumble upon 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 that’s believed to be safe for sensitive skin doesn’t necessarily mean it’d be safe on your private part as well.  Remember to be patient, refrain from doing shortcut treatments, and only trust your doctor, because they know what’s best to do.




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