Is It Contagious? 7 Questions Answered About Pearly Penile Papules (PPP)

Is It Contagious? 7 Questions Answered About Pearly Penile Papules (PPP)

One of men’s most common reproductive health conditions is pearly penile papules (PPP), which are usually mistaken as condyloma acuminata, a sexually transmitted disease. They are benign lesions found around the corona or head of the penis. The manifestations of PPP are noticeable and may cause psychological impacts, such as low self-esteem, to some men.

While most cases of pearly penile papules heal without treatment, many men seek prompt intervention to improve self-confidence. But there are many myths relating to PPP and its management. This article clarifies the most common questions about PPP, especially whether this reproductive health condition is contagious. 

  1. What Are The Common Symptoms of PPP?

The common symptoms of PPP include 1 to 2 millimeters of pearly gray-white skin bumps or papules, which can be yellowish or pinkish in some instances. The bumps are usually arranged in two to three rows. Aside from papules, the patient may experience pain, itchiness, discomfort, and burning sensation during urination. Papule discharge may also occur.

  1. What Is The Cause Of PPP?

The main cause of PPP is generally unknown. However, experts from the American Urological Association say that PPP is due to embryonic remains and changes when the baby is in the mother’s womb or during pregnancy.

  1. Who Can Get PPP?

During late puberty, men can get PPP. This reproductive health condition is highly prevalent among men in their 20s and 30s. It occurs less among men in their 40s. 

According to Cleveland Clinic, about 14% to 48% of men worldwide may experience PPP at some point in their lives. PPP is more common among uncircumcised individuals and Black people.

  1. What Is The Best Treatment For PPP?

Most patients with PPP don’t seek medical treatment because the papules disappear on their own. But serious PPP requires prompt treatment to reduce discomfort. 

Several treatment options are available, such as natural, in-clinic, and home treatments. Natural treatments include topical ointment, cream, or oil, like tea tree oil, for the affected area. Many patients may feel pain relief using natural treatments, but they aren’t effective in eradicating the papules. 

Dermatologists and other healthcare professionals with proper training in PPP management use laser, cryotherapy, or surgery to treat this reproductive health condition. Fractionated carbon dioxide in laser treatment and liquid nitrogen in cryotherapy causes tissue necrosis to remove papules. 

PPP kits are also available, a new treatment option for patients; it vaporizes papules to remove them as the in-clinic laser does. A PPP kit includes a laser pen or electronic ionizer pen, numbing cream, and an instruction guide. The patient can use this kit for at-home PPP treatment. 

cropped view of shirtless man in black underwear posing isolated on grey,stock image
  1. What Are The Complications of PPP?

The complications of PPP include bleeding, scarring, skin discoloration, and infection. When you observe these signs and symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible. 

  1. Why Should PPP Patients Seek Medical Advice?

Men without additional signs and symptoms ignore the whitish papules without affecting their self-esteem and sexual function. However, if PPP includes discomfort, pain, and other signs and symptoms, many patients want to remove the papules. But some are shy to seek medical treatment. Hence, they choose to treat themselves without consulting a doctor.

It’s important to seek prompt medical attention when seeing unusual characteristics on your private organ. Whether you suspect PPP or any other health condition, only a licensed and experienced doctor can diagnose your medical condition. 

The doctor will obtain your complete medical history, perform a visual inspection and physical examination, and request diagnostic procedures, such as a biopsy, to confirm the diagnosis. Furthermore, your doctor can prescribe pain and other medications to reduce discomfort and prevent complications.

  1. Are PPP Contagious?

The simple answer is no. PPP aren’t contagious. Bacteria, viruses, or fungi don’t cause bumps. Therefore, the whitish spots aren’t transmissible even through direct contact, such as touching and sexual intercourse. But if neglected, bumps can become infected and harbor bacteria, possibly causing infection.

Because PPP aren’t contagious, partners of men with this condition gain peace of mind. That’s why proper patient education is a crucial aspect of PPP management. The health practitioner can refer married couples to a psychologist to undergo counseling to tackle the psychological impacts of this reproductive health condition on the intimate life and overall relationship.


Although this article intends to answer the most common questions about PPP, if you suspect you have PPP, see a doctor for proper assessment and medical intervention. Don’t hesitate to ask relevant questions to clarify any concerns for your and your partner’s peace of mind. While PPP may seem bothersome, many people live a normal life because it’s usually asymptomatic, and no treatment is necessary.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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