Worried about a spot, lump or growth on your penis? Here are some possible causes.
If you're worried, see a GP or visit a local sexual health clinic.
Pearly penile papules
These are small flesh-coloured lumps normally found on the head of the penis. They usually go all the way around the penis head in 1 or 2 rows.
These lumps are normal. They're not sexually transmitted or caused by bad hygiene. They do not cause symptoms and do not require treatment.
Fordyce spots are small yellowish or white spots on the head or shaft of the penis. Fordyce spots are sebaceous glands (tiny glands found near the surface of your skin) without hair follicles.
They can also appear on the inside of the cheeks or on the lips, and are present in 80 to 95% of adults. Fordyce spots are generally harmless and do not need treatment.
This is a hard swelling that suddenly appears on the shaft of the penis after sex or masturbation.
It happens when the lymph channels in your penis are temporarily blocked. Lymph is a clear fluid that forms part of the body's immune system.
The swelling should soon subside and will not cause any permanent problems.
Lichen planus is a non-infectious itchy rash of purple-red bumps that can affect many areas of the body, including the penis.
Genital warts are small fleshy growths or bumps that can appear on the shaft, and sometimes head, of the penis or under the foreskin.
They're caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Sores or ulcers
A painful blister or sore on your penis could be caused by herpes, which is an STI caused by the herpes simplex virus.
A painless sore or ulcer on your penis could be caused by syphilis (another STI).
Peyronie's disease is an uncommon condition that causes a thickened area or hard lump (plaque) in the shaft of the penis. This can cause the penis to become curved when it's erect.
For more information, read Is it normal to have a curved penis?
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection. It causes small firm, raised spots on the skin, which usually form in little clusters.
They can affect the penis and general groin area, in which case it's considered an STI.
Cancer of the penis
Penile cancer is a rare type of cancer that can cause a sore or lump on the penis, most commonly on the head of the penis.
Page last reviewed: 20 April 2021
Next review due: 20 April 2024