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Pimple-like Bumps on Testicles and Penis

Everyone is familiar with pimples, condition that effects the oil glands of the skin. We are not worried if pimple occurs on our nose or cheeks, but what if pimple pops up on penis or testicle? Is that still normal? What to do then? Call a doctor or wait until the pimple subsides?

What are pimples?

Pimple is actually a result of a blockage of the skin's pore and it can happen anywhere on the body: face, back, legs, even genitals and elsewhere. Pimples is a common and frequent condition that effects the oil glands of the skin. Oil glands are found in every hair follicle and when they become clogged or inflamed, they can lead to pimples breakouts.

Are pimples on penis and testicles normal?

Yes and no. Some types of so-called pimples (bumps,...) are normal and represent very common condition, but in some cases those bumps can be dangerous and demand prompt medical attention. Pimples on penis or testicles typically occur in teenage years, but it is also possible men will experience pimples at some time later in their life. Statistics claim that eight out of ten men will experience pimples on penis and/ or testicles at some time in their life. Most of the time penis and testicle pimples go away as person grows, or if they occur later in life, they subside in a matter of week or two. But the fact is that if they don't, it is not wise to sit at home miserable, hoping they will go away. If you notice any new lumps or bumps, ask your doctor to check, or go to a genitourinary medicine clinic. I know it can be suffering, not to mention the psychological effect pimples on genitals can cause.

What spots are normal on penis?

  • So called (and looking like) pimples are normal. They are pearly penile papules, small in size (approximately 1-2 mm) and they look just like pimples, but are not pimples. They are actually tinny glands, and you shouldn't pick on them. They occur around the margin of the penis head, and can be seen when foreskin is pulled back. They usually develop in teenage years, but may occur up to the age of 40. They are visible in some men, while in others are less noticeable. Around 10% of men is affected by pearly penile papules.
  • After masturbation or sexual intercourse hard swelling might appear near the foreskin, in the shaft of the head of the penis. This swelling is called lymphocele, and is caused by temporary blockage of the lymphatic channels at the area described. This condition is also normal and goes away on its own without any after-effects.

What spots on penis are not normal?
  • Ulcers
Ulcers. If ulcer develops, you must immediately visit your doctor. Ulcers appear as craters on the skin and represent a full-thickness loss of skin (epidermis). Typically of ulcer is crust, clear liquid (serum) or pus in the crater. Ulcers may occur due to genital herpes, infection, virus or may even be form of skin cancer.
  • Papules
Papules are small lumps (less than than 1 cm), raised above the skin surface. Most penile papules do not have a serious cause (pearly penile papules for example), but some are infectious and may lead to more serious conditions.

Types of papules:

Molluscum contagiosum is form of papules, which is very common, but must be supervised by doctor. They are pinkish-white round lumps, each about 1–5 mm in diameter, and are caused by a virus.

Hair follicles are a normal and are usually found on the underside of penile shaft. They may be visible or only felt as small lumps in the skin. They are recognized by having a hair arising from them.Pearly penile papules (described above as very normal condition)

Fordyce spots are small (1-5mm) bright red or purple papules that can appear on the penis or testicles. They usually affect younger men, and appear in crops. They are painless and not itchy, but are embarrassing because of their appearance.

Genital warts are very common and are caused by a virus. In case of genital warts seek medical help.
  • Plaques
Plaques are raised, flat-topped lesions, greater than 1cm in diameter. Usually they do not have a serious cause, but some are infectious and others may develop into more serious conditions, such as Erythroplasia of Queyrat, lichen sclerosis and balanitis xerotica obliterans, which may lead to the development of penile cancer

Erythroplasia of Queyrat appears as a sharply demarcated bright red plaque with a velvety surface. Disease is not infectious, but needs prompt medical attention since it represents an early manifestation of penile cancer. Treatment usually involves excision of the affected area.

Lichen sclerosis looks like white plaques on the glans, foreskin or shaft of the penis. The severe form of lichen sclerosis is balanitis xerotica obliterans, and it occurs on the opening of the foreskin, which becomes white and firm. Both conditions may lead to penile cancer, but rarely. Medical care is necessary.

What spots are normal on testicles?
  • Chicken-skin: it is normal that the skin on testicles looks similar to the skin of plucked chicken.
  • Sebaceous cysts: they are swollen, blocked grease glands that look like yellowish pimples. They occur in dozens or more. If they become infected, they can be treated.
  • Angiokeratoma of Fordyce: tiny, bright-red blood-blisters; can be itchy, but are otherwise harmless. 
What spots are not normal on testicles?
  • Genital warts
  • Varicoceles, which are caused by the swelling of veins; are more noticeable when standing. Approximately 15% men have this condition, and usually occurs on left side.
  • Lump(s) in the testicles, which usually isn't visible, but can be felt through the skin. In most cases these lumps are armless cysts, but they may develop into testis cancer. Consult your doctor if you find a lump in your testicle.


Men are understandably concerned when they notice spots on the penis. So, what is best to do in this case?

First of all- do not make the situation worse! For that reason do not try to squeeze anything! Squeezing might cause an additional inflammation, which can spread the bacteria that caused pimple, which leads to spreading pimples and possible scarring. Clean your skin several times daily with pH neutral soap, but do not exaggerate, since this could lead to other problems. If you suffer from swelling, apply ice pack, which should reduce swelling, redness and pain. However, if you feel your condition isn't just pimples, it is highly recommended to see doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible.

[Tania T/Men's Health]

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