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Lump or pimple on penis: causes and how to treat

Penile lumps, often pimple-like, can appear at any age and in most cases are related to benign problems such as pearly papules (white spots) or Fordyce spots, for example.

However, if you verify that there are changes to your penis, it is normal to feel anxious because it may be a sign of cancer. Although cancer is a very rare condition of this type of lump or pimple, but it can also cause this type of symptom, so it is important to see your urologist to identify the problem and start the correct treatment.

Lump or pimple on penis: causes and how to treat

1. Pearly papules

These papules, also known as Tyson's glands, are small white, pimple-like balls that can appear under the head of the penis and are often mistaken for genital warts. These are normal and benign glands that are present from birth, but usually manifest during adolescence. Apart from the aesthetic change, these glands cause no pain or any other major change.

How to treat it: Usually no treatment is required, but if the papules cause a large change in the image of the penis, the urologist may recommend cryotherapy or cauterization treatments in the office. 

2. Fordyce Spots

Fordyce spots are a very common and benign changes that can cause the appearance of small white or yellow spots on the head or body of the penis, unrelated to any type of sexually transmitted diseases. Although they are more frequent during adolescence, due to hormonal changes, they can appear at any age.

How to treat: The treatment is for aesthetic reasons only and may include a variety of techniques such as using urethane tretinoin gel or using a laser to remove the spots. Often, this type of change cannot be completely eliminated. See more about how to treat Fordyce spots.

3. Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by an HPV virus infection that can cause changes in the skin of the penis, which maintain its normal color but becomes more rough to the touch, similar to the upper region of a cauliflower. These warts can vary greatly in size but usually do not hurt and can be observed with the naked eye.

Genital warts usually arise after an unprotected intimate relationship, whether anal, vagina or oral, with an infected person.

How to treat: When there are symptoms, ointments such as Podophylline prescribed by the urologist can be used to eliminate the warts. However, it is common for warts to recur, as it takes the body several years to eliminate the virus. See more about the treatment of HPV in men.

Genital warts
Genital warts

4. Lymphocele

This is a type of hard lump that can appear on the body of the penis, especially after sexual contact or masturbation. It happens when the lymphatic system is unable to remove fluid from the penis due to swelling of the erection, which closes the lymphatic pathways. Lymphocele usually disappears a few minutes or hours after it appears.

How to treat it: This is a benign change that disappears on its own and therefore does not require any medical treatment. However, massaging the lump can help drain the fluid faster. If the stone does not disappear after several hours, see the urologist to identify the cause and start treatment.

5. Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is an inflammation of the skin that can affect the penis and may cause the appearance of small itchy little balls, pimples or red lumps. No cause is known for this problem, but it usually goes away on its own after a few weeks and may recur several times over time.

How to treat: Treatment only helps to reduce symptoms, and in most cases is done with the use of corticosteroids in the form of ointments or creams. However, your doctor may also prescribe the use of an antihistamine medication, especially if there is severe itching.

6. Peyronie's disease

Peyronie's disease has no specific cause, but is responsible for causing the development of hard plaques in the corpus cavernosum of the penis, which can manifest as hard lumps on one side of the penis. In addition, other symptoms such as painful erection or curving of the penis during erection are still common.

How to treat it: The urologist may use injections of collagenase or verapamil directly into the lump to reduce the process of fibrosis that is causing it to grow, but in most cases surgery is needed to correct the changes.

7. Penile cancer

This is one of the rarest types of cancer, but it can also cause the appearance of lumps, ulcers or sores, especially on the head of the penis. This type of cancer is more common in men over 60, who are smokers and do not have adequate hygiene in the region, but can also happen when there is inadequate exposure of the region to ultraviolet radiation or when there is prolonged exposure to irritants.

How to treat: Treatment is almost always started with surgery to remove as many cancer cells as possible, followed by chemotherapy or radiation. In more severe cases, it may be necessary to remove the penis to prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

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