Hirsuties papillaris genitalis
Hirsuties papillaris genitalis (more commonly referred to as "pearly penile papules" (PPP)) is a clinical skin condition of the male genital organs. It is a harmless physiological phenomenon with no malignant potential. The papules appear as one or several rows of small, flesh-colored, smooth, dome-topped bumps situated circumferentially around the corona (see image) or sulcus of the glans penis. Uncommonly, lesions may extend onto the glans penis. It is not a sexually transmitted disease and its appearance is unrelated to sexual activity or standards of personal hygiene. The bumps are however extremely sensitive and many sufferers view this sensitivity as unwelcome.  A 1999 medical study found that 48% of 200 men attending a department of genitourinary medicine had the condition. Various other studies have shown that the number may be in the interval between 8% and 48%, varying with region and whether or not the subjects are circumcised. Lesions typically are asymptomatic and persist throughout life; however, they gradually may become less noticeable with increased age.
Therapy is not required but sometimes offered to alleviate patient anxiety. Treatment for larger uncomfortable papules — i.e. raised bumps of somewhat paler colour around the base of the glans — is by a simple carbon dioxide laser treatment.
- Sonnex C, & Dockerty W.G (1999). "Pearly penile papules: a common cause of concern". International Journal of STD & AIDS, Vol.10, No.11; 1 November 1999, pages 726-727.
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