What is this lump on my penis?

3 min read

Worried about a spot, lump or growth on your penis? Here are some possible causes.

If you're worried, see a doctor 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 don't cause symptoms and don't require treatment.

Fordyce spots

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 don't 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 won't cause any permanent problems.

Lichen planus

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

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

, 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

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.

Molluscum contagiosum

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.

Quick Quiz

Genital warts are caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI). True or false?

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.