Pearly Penile Papules: What Are They, Causes & Treatment

Updated in February 2023

Pearly penile papules are small bumps that appear on the head or glans of the penis. Their purpose is to produce lubricant to aid in sexual penetration. They are not painful or uncomfortable and some may or may not be visible.  

Also known as Tyson glands, they are normal structures that are part of the penis and do not require assessment. There are cosmetic treatments available, however, to reduce their appearance and even remove them if they are esthetically too large. 

Pearly penile papules normally do not cause symptoms, although you should see a doctor if you experience redness or itching on the glans as well as a fever. These symptoms may be a sign of an STI

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What they look like

Pearly penile papules are white or pink round bumps present on the penile glans. They are usually organized in 1 or 2 rows, and are not usually associated with any symptoms. 

These bumps do not spread, nor do their shape or size change over time. They actually tend to disappear as men age. 

Confirming a diagnosis

To confirm pearly penile papules, you should see a doctor for an assessment of the penis. Testing is not necessary to diagnose their presence. 

In some cases in which men report symptoms around these glands, the doctor may order a skin biopsy or bloodwork to rule out STIs, like molluscum contagiosum or HPV

Common causes

Penile pearly papules are naturally present in men are serve to produce lubricant to facilitate sexual penetration. These glands can become more visible during sex.

Treatment options

Treatment is not necessary for penile pearly papules, as they are normal parts of penile anatomy. They are not related to any health condition. 

Some men, however, may feel discomfort with their appearance, and in these cases, a urologist can recommend cosmetic treatments to reduce their appearance, like cauterization or surgical removal.