Are Pearly Penile Papules Contagious?

Firstly, and most importantly: what are pearly penile papules (PPP)? Medically speaking, they are referred to as hirsuties papillaris genitalis. Besides sharing a visual similarity to some STD’s, most notably HPV genital warts, PPP are a normal variation of the human anatomy and are not communicable to partners through intercourse, oral sex, or transfusion of blood.

These white “pearly” bumps generally form around the rim of the penis. The size and shape of PPP varies greatly, and depending on the frequency of sexual activity, these papules can grow aggravated and appear all the more similar to HPV warts. Although they pose no risk to a male’s health or sex life, some men or their partners may consider them aesthetically displeasing or distracting.

A host of “at home” remedies to remove these bumps abound on the internet, though doctors advise against them, as the risk of removing them far outweighs the danger of PPP itself.

If you’re concerned about PPP or want a positive diagnosis, go see a doctor. If you or your partner are bothered by the visual appearance of PPP or their frequent recurrence, there are multiple removal techniques performed by dermatologists. These techniques range from freezing to laser removal, both of which take only a few minutes and are generally painless.

Though PPP usually subside within a few days, treatment or no, if they continue to occur, removal may not be a bad idea. For one thing, because of their visual similarity to HPV genital warts, men who have experienced PPP in the past might contract HPV genital warts, mistake them for PPP, and spread the virus.

As always, it’s important to consult a doctor before making any decisions. If you think you have PPP, get checked by a doctor before being sexually active.

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