If you see a bump on the penis, it could be because of a few different causes. Some bumps are normal, but others can be signs of a problem, such as an STD or STI. It's important to be physically evaluated by a doctor if you notice a bump on the penis or on the testicles, and not diagnose yourself at home.
This article is meant to be informational, and not a replacement for medical advice. Please speak with your doctor before making any decisions about your health.
Non-STD Causes for Penis Bumps
Blemish or Pimple
A pimple or blemish is possible, particularly if the bump is on the tip of the penis. These are common, particularly in men with oily skin. These can be caused by friction from sweaty clothing, or from rubbing against the sheets. Because it's a pimple, it can be popped or squeezed, though you should avoid doing this until you know what it is. A doctor can determine the cause and determine if popping it is necessary.
Blemishes and pimples look alike, but a pimple is redder and almost always has a white or yellow head. If you squeeze a pimple, a small amount of clear fluid will come out. A blemish is a whitish or yellowish bump, and it can be popped, but will not have a white or yellow head.
A mole is a common skin growth. Moles can appear anywhere on the body, and most people have them. They're not necessarily a concern, and you can have moles removed if they bother you. A mole can be a wide variety of colors, and can appear anywhere on the body, even on the penis. If the mole changes color or shape, see a doctor immediately.
You should not attempt to remove a mole on your own.
An ingrown hair is a common skin condition and a common cause of bumps on the penis. Ingrown hairs appear when a hair curls back and grows into the skin, trapping itself. Ingrown hairs are more common in men with thicker hair. They appear as a red or pink bump on the skin, which is quite painful. Most ingrown hairs are not serious, though some can become infected, and contain pus. Ingrown hairs can appear anywhere on the body, including the penis.
When you shave, this causes most ingrown hairs. If you have thick body hair, this can also be a problem. If you suspect you have an ingrown hair, press a warm water cloth to the area and see if this causes a bump to come to a head. This may cause the ingrown hair to pop out. If this causes a bump to form, it is likely an ingrown hair. If this does not cause a bump to appear, it may be something else.
A cyst is an abnormal sac that forms in the skin or in the mucus membrane. A cyst can occur anywhere on the body, including the penis, and most cysts are not serious. Cysts are filled with fluid and can appear in different sizes. Cysts in the penis are generally small, and not painful. They can sometimes have a small, pinched appearance. A large cyst can be painful and may require a doctor to remove it. A doctor can determine the cause of a cyst, and if a cyst is a concern.
Do not attempt to lance a cyst on your own. If you lance a cyst, and you don't know what it is, you can cause damage to the penis and scrotum. If you have a cyst, see your physician.
Fordyce spots are another common condition, which is harmless. They are small, raised bumps that are usually red or pink. They can be found anywhere on the body, including the penis. They are usually found on the head of the penis, but can also appear anywhere on the shaft. Fordyce spots are caused by a buildup of oils and dead skin cells under the skin. They are more common in men with oily skin.
Fordyce spots are harmless, and are mostly an annoyance. They are not caused by an STD or STI. If you have them, you are not alone. They are simply a cosmetic difference and are no reason to be concerned.
Both men and women can get Fordyce spots. They don't need to be removed, and don’t require medical attention.
Peyronie’s disease is a condition in which the penis develops an abnormal bend or curve, and in some cases, can cause a bump to develop on the penis. While this is not common, it is a real condition that can be identified by your doctor. The medical community is still researching Peyronie’s disease, and the causes are unknown.
Treatment for Peyronie’s disease can include changing sexual positions, steroid injections, and surgery. In some cases, the condition will resolve on its own.
If you suspect you have Peyronie’s disease, see your primary care physician.
Lymphoceles are a common cause of bumps on the penis. Lymphoceles are caused by inflammation of the lymph nodes, which are located in the groin area. Lymphoceles are not serious and usually go away on their own. They often occur after masturbation, due to the lymph nodes becoming swollen and irritated.
If they do not go away on their own, see a medical professional.
A very common virus, molluscum contagiosum is characterized by small, round growths on the skin. These growths are raised and have a white center with a small depression in the middle. Molluscum contagiosum is highly contagious and is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. It can be spread through towels if they are not washed after use. Molluscum contagiosum is a benign virus, and does not cause any serious problems.
It can go away on its own or can be removed by a doctor. If you have molluscum contagiosum, you should avoid sexual contact until it is gone, and see a physician.
STD Causes for Penis Bumps
For each of the reasons below, you’ll want to see a medical professional as soon as possible.
Genital Herpes is a common STD that is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It can cause open wounds, blisters, and even genital warts that can spread to other parts of the body. The blisters may be filled with a fluid that looks like pus. They can break, leaving tender, red sores that can take two weeks to heal. Herpes is very common, and there is no cure, but there are medications that can help with the symptoms.
Genital warts are very common and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear on the penis, and also on the testicles, scrotum, and around the anus. They can appear as a single bump, or many bumps. They can appear flat and smooth, or bumpy and uneven, like a cauliflower. The bumps can be small, or up to 3 inches in diameter. Genital warts can be painful, and the bumps can bleed if they are bumped or scratched.
Syphilis is caused by the Treponema pallidum bacteria, and is common in both men and women. It can cause open sores, and also rashes, and other symptoms. It's passed through direct contact and can be cured with antibiotics.
Scabies is a skin infection that is caused by a tiny mite that burrows into the skin and lays eggs. The mites are passed from person to person by direct contact with the infected person. Scabies can cause a lot of itching, and the bumps can be extremely itchy. Scabies can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
Scrotal Abscesses are caused by infections of the scrotum and are very painful. They are caused by bacteria and are often sexually transmitted. They are red, swollen, and hot, and can cause a fever. A scrotal abscess can be treated with antibiotics and drained with a needle.
Bumps should always be addressed by a medical professional. Although it can be anxiety-inducing, it’s important. Remember that doctors see these issues multiple times a day and that you are in charge of your physical health. You should always see a doctor rather than attempt to self-diagnose.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.