Pearly Penile Papules can be very worrying and upsetting, although they are actually harmless. Other names for this common condition are Hirsutoid Pappilomas and Hirsuties Coronae Glandis. There are no health risks associated with this skin condition and the papules are not infectious, but many men prefer to have them removed.
Signs and symptoms
The condition is characterised by small spots measuring 1mm to 3mm which appear around the head of the penis, sometimes under the foreskin. Although they do not cause any irritation or pain, they can look unpleasant. The spots are smooth and either skin-coloured or white and frequently appear in one or more rows rather like a string of pearls, which is why they are commonly known as pearly penile papules, or PPP. Sometimes the condition can be confused with human papilloma virus warts, a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease although it is totally unrelated to this. The cause of pearly penile papules is unknown. They usually appear in men between the ages of 20-40, but have occasionally been seen in boys as young as 12. The condition is more frequently found in men who have not been circumcised. Although the condition lasts throughout a man’s life, it will sometimes become less obvious as the years go on. It has been estimated that PPP affects 20% of the male population.
The reasons that men decide to have pearly penile papules removal vary with individuals. Some people are concerned or embarrassed about the appearance of the condition and opt for removal simply for cosmetic reasons. The condition can also affect a man’s self-confidence and this is another common reason for having the papules removed. Some men worry that new or potential sexual partners may think that the papules are related to personal hygiene or might be symptoms of an STI. Although this is not the case, having them removed is often preferable to having to explain the condition to worried partners.
Men who have pearly penile papules should not attempt to get rid of them themselves. Picking at them or attempting to squeeze the papules may cause the area to become scarred or infected. Treatments available on the internet may be unreliable, unsafe or have serious side effects. Because removal is not medically necessary and the condition is so common, some GPs do not take it seriously. However, specialist doctors can provide quick, easy and painless treatment and patients benefit in terms of increased confidence, higher self-esteem and an improved sex life.
The procedure for removing pearly penile papules involves the doctor applying a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort and then emitting low power electrical pulses to the affected area. The patient does not experience any pain during the procedure or afterwards and it is unusual for anyone to require pain relief. The procedure is very quick and usually takes only half an hour. After treatment, you can expect to be fully recovered within 10 days. There is no need for patients to feel embarrassed about having treatment for this condition as it is very common.
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