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Pearly Penile Papules (PPP): Should You Avoid Your Partner After Diagnosis?

by | Health & Wellness

Oct 6, 2022

A serious concern can often test your love and responsibility for your partner. For instance, should you or shouldn’t you have sexual contact with your partner if you’ve noticed any physical changes in your intimate area?

The short answer is that it depends on the changes you’ve observed. If you’ve noticed white, pinkish, or skin-tone colored bumps in rows near your penile head base, it’s likely a condition called pearly penile papules (PPP).

Because PPP is yet to be fully understood, getting one can cause anxiety and erode self-confidence—impacting intimate relationships. Besides consulting a healthcare professional, learning how to handle it can help make a difference.

Understanding Pearly Penile Papules

A study shows that pearly penile papules can affect as high as 48% of males at some point, with uncircumcised and African American males shown to be the most vulnerable. These bumps could form at any time in a man’s life, usually in puberty or at a later stage. They often reach their peak size in men aged 21 years.

It’s essential to note that having pearly penile papules is considered a dermatological condition. However, researchers have yet to know why they develop. 

Scientific theories indicate that these bumps are likely remnants of penile spines—which encourages ovulation in primates and other animals.

While they don’t grow in size in men past 21 years old or increase in number, they may reduce in some males over 50 years old, likely because of decreasing testosterone levels.

How Is PPP Treated?

To avoid stigma, some men prefer to self-medicate. Some try applying tea tree oil, castor oil, and toothpaste. However, a website offering pppkit states that the said topical treatments have been proven not to work and, in some cases, may cause irritation and scarring in the affected area. Putting tea tree oil, for instance, makes the skin dry and more prone to infections.

Pearly penile papules aren’t a medical illness, so doctors aren’t likely to prescribe any medication. However, as a cosmetic issue, dermatologists may be able to help you remove the bumps through various therapies, including:

  • Laser therapy — is a non-invasive therapy used in dermatological clinics. While more known as a skin refining method, the procedure can also remove unsightly bumps.
  • PPP kit — uses the same method as laser therapy but offers better advantages as a cheaper and more accessible home treatment.
  • Electrodessication uses heat delivered to electronically-charged needles that destroy the bumps.
  • Cryotherapy eliminates bumps by freezing them and waiting for them to fall off.

What Are The Symptoms, And How Is PPP Diagnosed?

Those with PPP will notice small bumps, usually about one to three millimeters, forming around the penile head and appearing in rows, making them hard to miss. 

Fortunately, there are no other symptoms associated with the condition. The bumps aren’t painful or itchy and don’t cause abnormal discharge or fever, as with sexually transmissible diseases or infections.

Medical experts can determine PPP just by looking at the affected area, through confirmation though dermatoscopy may be required.

Read: 10 Herbs and Veggies You Should Be Eating to Keep Your Body Healthy

Is PPP Contagious?

With the misconceptions surrounding the development of PPP, it’s important to talk with a qualified health professional or a urologist to understand it. Doing so can also help you win your woman’s heart by explaining the condition better to your significant other.

Pearly penile papules aren’t contagious nor infectious, unlike genital warts, sexually transmissible infections (STIs), or diseases (STDs). They aren’t symptoms of cancer nor indicators of poor personal hygiene. You don’t have to worry about passing anything on to your partner, consequently suspending intimate activities.

Think of PPP as ‘extra’ bumps that may boost your sexual activities, as papules secrete sebum for better lubrication. More importantly, sexual activities don’t promote or impact PPP in any way, nor do these bumps increase the risks of getting STIs or STDs.

Because PPP isn’t contagious nor a threat to sexual health, it’s not a reason to avoid your partner.

How To Manage PPP

After a diagnosis, it’s best to continue your activities and not be affected by aesthetical issues. If these bumps bother you and your partner, consider having them removed. Removal costs vary from one clinic to another, depending on your preferred treatment. For instance, laser removal can range from a few hundred to two thousand dollars.

Of the removal procedures, PPP kits offer the best value, as they work like laser therapies for a fraction of the cost. Comparatively, some kits can be had at USD$99, while laser therapies can cost up to USD$2,000. Of course, talking with a healthcare professional before embarking on

any procedure is recommended.

Read: How to Deal with Seasonal Allergies

Concluding Thoughts

Penile pearly papules are extra bumps that grow on the base of the penile head. While unsightly, they aren’t considered a health concern nor a symptom of sexually-related illnesses. Talk to a medical professional to learn more about the condition and discuss your options.

If you have a partner, don’t be ashamed to talk to them about it. After all, good communication is one of the cornerstones of a successful relationship.

By Martin Corden

Martin Corden is a certified relationship expert and a songwriter from Australia. He loves researching and writing. Martin loves finding new ways to improve and inspires others to be their best version and work together towards it. Martin has a wide range of intellectual and artistic interests.

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