I have lots of little bumps (almost like goosebumps or whiteheads) on my penis. Is this a sign that something is wrong?
If you've never had sex, little white bumps on the shaft of the penis may be pimples or ingrown hairs. These are common and they're nothing to worry about. Another condition that's normal and no cause for concern is pearly penile papules. These whitish bumps appear on the glans (head) of the penis or along the edge of the glans in many guys.
If you are having sex or have had sex in the past, bumps on the penis may be signs of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Painful blisters, bumps, or ulcers may be herpes. Another STD, genital warts (HPV), can show up as bumps on the penis. Sometimes these are irregular in shape or even barely seen, and they're not painful. Some other STDs, like syphilis, also can show up as painless ulcers on the penis. Although the bumps associated with STDs may not be painful, they could put your health and your partner's health at risk if they are not treated quickly and properly.
Of course, the skin on the penis — like the skin anywhere else on a person's body — can get irritated. And it's often hard to distinguish normal bumps from those caused by an STD. So the only way to really know what your bumps are is to be examined by a doctor.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2009
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