Sebaceous Glands and Penile Papules

Any little difference in the appearance of your penis can cause alarm. That is why so many men freak out when little white bumps appear on their sensitive areas. In many cases these tiny protrusions are nothing more than Pearly Penile Papules, a naturally occurring skin variation that to date shows no signs of health concerns or the ability to be transmitted.


In fact, researchers have been studying these protrusions as far back as the 1960s when they started to discover their origins. In the 40 years since then we have learned a lot about the condition. Some clinical studies, for example show that Pearly Penile Papules, also known as PPP, occur more commonly in uncircumcised men. In the past, the cause of PPP was thought to be an accumulation of smegma in uncircumcised men. This is because the sebaceous gland is a microscopic gland in the skin that secretes an oily and waxy matter called sebum that lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair. Sometimes these glands can become infected, especially in warm, enclosed areas similar to certain areas of the penis found on uncircumcised men. This of course has proven to be untrue, but some research indicates that sebaceous gland infection may still be the cause of PPP.


Furthermore, diagnosis confirmation can be obtained by putting a biopsy specimen through rigorous histologic and pathologic analysis. But given their non-cancerous nature, no staging system exists.


In some respects, PPP studies have dwindled once they were proven to be non-harmful skin variations. Most medical advances come from the coffers of well-funded research facilities. Since PPP is not considered harmful, medical research money typically is spent elsewhere. STDs, cancer, AIDS and other more deadly diseases or infections take the majority of the share of medical research funds. This may be why no known topical medication can treat PPP. Some surgical methods can, however, remove the bumps.

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