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Dr Phil: Penis Part 2: Lumps, bumps & STIs (video)

Related articles:  Discharge from the penis; Genital warts; Genital infections; Lumps on genitals in men; Odd looking patch on the penis; Red, sore and itchy penis; Doc Spot - Lumps on the penis; Dr Phil - Genital infections

Hello there, I’m Dr Phil Hammond and welcome to and The Penis Trilogy – Part 2: Lumps, bumps & STIs.

In The Penis Trilogy – Part 1: The foreskin, my first film, I was talking about circumcision, problems with the foreskin and infections around the glans of the penis. I probably should have mentioned that if you do decide that you need to have a circumcision make sure that you go to someone [as with all surgery] who does lots of them and does them well, because you don’t want anyone chopping off slightly more than you need to. Also you want to reduce your risk of getting infections and bleeding afterwards and generally that happens if you go to someone who does a lot of them. However, as I said in my first film, in most cases of a tight foreskin, in time, with gentle easing in the bath in just ordinary bath water with no soap or detergent, the foreskin will come back and it will sort itself out. 

So let’s talk about lumps and bumps on the penis, what's normal and what isn’t.

Pearly penile papules

Around the glans - the bit that looks like Darth Vader’s helmet - a lot of men notice a little row of tiny little pimples, very regular, almost like pretty maids all in a row. Sometimes they can go down onto the shaft as well, up the edge and in the mid line, but often they happen around the edge of the helmet. A lot of boys and men worry that they have picked up something like genital warts. In fact, these things are perfectly normal. They are called ‘pearly penile papules’. You can tell they are normal because they look small and regular and they occur usually in beautiful lines. They are perfectly normal papules that occur on the penis that help with lubrication. Please don’t try to remove them! I’ve seen some men who get very obsessed who try to shave them off with a cheese grater. That can only cause more harm - you should look after your penis.


Never try to treat your own infections. I’ve seen men who put shower gel down the hole, pipe cleaners and all sorts of things because they want to try DIY treatment. That never works out.

In men more than women you are more likely to know if you have picked up a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Women often don’t have any symptoms at all. It seems odd that the commonest symptom of an STI can be no symptoms at all. That applies to men as well, but men sometimes do have symptoms. It can be a slight change in sensation when you are peeing - it doesn’t have to be that you are peeing razor blades, it can just be ‘ooohh that’s a little bit uncomfortable', or you can feel like you're peeing razor blades. Sometimes you notice that when you ejaculate it just doesn’t feel quite the same, not quite as pleasurable, as there is a slight numbing of the nerves ... and sometimes you notice a great big lump of pus dripping out of your penis.

Extraordinary as it may seem, there are some men who I would describe as ‘genitally unaware’ who walk around dripping with pus, who don’t seem to realize there is any problem at all, and this can go on for weeks. So always have a look at your penis. If there is something there that is milky and white, that isn’t cum, it’s just appeared for no reason or if it’s particularly yellow or green, you need to get that checked out and you need to get it checked out urgently! Rather obviously, don’t have sex with anyone, even with a condom, if you find that you have got some sort of discharge or undiagnosed lump or bump. It is really, really important that you go down to your local STI clinic, GUM clinic or sexual health clinic. The beauty of these clinics is that they are all totally confidential, in the sense that your notes won’t be sent to anyone without your permission. So your GP doesn’t know about it, your mum doesn’t know about it, nobody knows about it. These infections generally won’t go away unless you get them treated and of course you could pass them on to other people.

So those are the common things you will notice:

  • a discharge from the end of the penis
  • pain when passing your urine
  • a slightly odd feeling in your penis or when you ejaculate.

Genital warts

Of course you can get lumps and bumps on the penis. We have talked about the ‘PPPs’ – the pearly penile papules, which are normal. Genital warts tend to be more roughened and irregular like warts that you get elsewhere on your body. Sometimes they can be almost like little flat warts and sometimes they can come out on a stalk. Either way, they occur all over in an irregular basis on the penis, and they look pretty unsightly, and you think ‘OMG, what are they?’ Generally, they are not going to go away unless you get them treated. Treatment can be a bit fiddly. There is an antiviral paint, which can be applied to the penis that treats the HPV virus, or you can have them frozen off. Sometimes you have to have more than one treatment, it is a bit fiddly and can be a bit distressing, but generally they do go away in time.


Another STI that you can get is herpes. When you have herpes for the first time it can be quite uncomfortable. It’s not as bad as you think - it’s just a cold sore gone south, a little bit like having chicken pox on your knob (they are similar viruses). But the first time you get it you can feel pretty awful, it can be quite painful and sometimes you will have an obvious blister; you may also feel generally unwell. The good news with herpes is that if you do get other attacks they tend to be less severe. The other good news with herpes is that we have fantastic antiviral medications now, such as Acyclovir. If you take them in a large dose early on they can rapidly reduce the length of the infection and reduce your risk of getting subsequent infections too. So there is lots of good news, but only if you get help.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis

STIs like chlamydia are pretty common, you may just have a slight discomfort when ejaculating or passing urine. With gonorrhea, often you will get a more profound discharge. With syphilis, which is making a bit of a come back, you may get a sore on the penis. So it is worth when doing your daily foreskin hygiene, i.e. you are washing behind the foreskin, removing the smegma, giving it a bit of an MOT (you are not polishing and buffing it with detergents and nail scissors or anything, just gently washing it with water - see Penis Part 1, The Foreskin), if you notice anything that wasn’t there yesterday, or notice anything you are at all concerned about then get it checked out.


There is a certain group of men that we call ‘squeezers’ who get it into their head that they have definitely got a discharge. They squeeze the glans, they squeeze the glans and they squeeze the glans and they almost give themselves an irritation through too much squeezing. You don’t need to do that, you just need to go and get it checked out. These days they don’t put an umbrella down the end of your penis or any of that nonsense. Generally you just pee in a pot. Most STIs can now be diagnosed very cleverly with testing of urine samples. So it’s not traumatic and it’s done in confidence, you get sorted and you do some contact tracing, which is really important. A health visitor will come in or a specialist tracing nurse will come and talk about people you have had sex with and will trace them all so they can all be treated. If you don’t, you will get treatment and then you will just pass it around again.


We tend not to call them STIs anymore. We try to call them ‘sexually shared infections’. You share pleasure, occasionally you share bugs, and if you share bugs you share treatment and you all get sorted and you carry on having fun. Of course this can all be dramatically reduced if you learn how to put a condom on. Not always easy, but worth having a go. Instructions are in the packet. You have got to get the rolled edge on the outside so that it goes down over the penis. Put it on well before you insert. At the end hold onto the base quickly before your penis shrinks down again, and withdraw holding on to it. If you learn to use a condom every time then your risk of getting any sort of lump or bump or sore on your penis is dramatically reduced. 

For more advice, take a look at the relevant sections on this website. If you want to check me out then go to

In The Penis: Part Three we are going to be talking about erection difficulties and do you have a bend in yours? A lot of people do… See you later.

Written by: Dr Phil Hammond
Edited by: Dr Phil Hammond
Last updated: Friday, October 20th 2017

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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 19/09/2017 at 12:56

I am twenty-three about six weeks ago i had sexwith my partner but she had primrose oil in here vagina to help with inducing labor after having sex i notice two white bumps on the shaft of my dick they dont hurt or anything and they have been there for 6 weeks havent gotten worse just there but the head of my penis feel a bit sensitive lately.

Posted by Optional on 01/09/2017 at 03:09

I have a few bumps around my penis and my testicles so does my wife we recently had a baby and she ask her doctor about them and he said it was nothing to worry about but we both have them which seems weird they are pimple like bumps that won't pop or go away and idea what it could be?

Posted by Optional on 19/08/2017 at 08:27

I have small Skin colored pimples on the foreskin where it connects the main shaft.They dont pose any pain or ueasiness during intercourse even.They have developed only recently.Earlier it was one or two n now the number is 4.kindly advise

Posted by Tenzin on 18/01/2017 at 12:13

I got few lumps on top of penis foreskin ,like little rough pimples. Which looks very odd for me and I did tried to remove it like squeeze and even tried to cut by sharp object. Now its been few months , from the beginning I thought it will vanish by it self but it is still there and looks more permanent now. I know I got this due to unsafe sex and didn't wash my penis after sex. Please help me how can I rid this off.

Posted by Optional on 13/12/2016 at 11:36

Hi Doctor, I have lumps on my penis as a result of silicone injections. Is there a way to remove the lumps without surgery? Please help.

Posted by Optional on 27/11/2016 at 09:05

Great website. Very non technical thanks for the info. Figure I should read up after my doctor said just check my penis. From time to time been married 6 years dr said all is in good working order.

Posted by Optional on 19/11/2016 at 12:28

some small yellowish bumps appeared on the penis after sex and the foreskin is gettin trouble to go back can u help me please need some advice

Posted by Josh on 16/10/2016 at 02:53

Hey so I've had these little dots on my penis and balls for around 1 year and I don't know what they are. They are small bumps so when ever I touch it, I can hardly feel them. My mom has herpes, but I haven't had any sexual interaction with her. Please help!

Posted by Optional on 17/03/2016 at 05:30

I have little dots near the end of my Penis and I don't know what they are I haven't been circumcised yet also I've got a lump with a red line leading down to near where the pubes are I really need help I don't know what it is

Posted by Optional on 16/11/2015 at 02:24

I have a small colored like bump on my penis,it's not paInful at all what could it be???

Posted by Optional on 02/11/2015 at 07:31

Can PPP occur on the foreskin??

Posted by Optional on 01/11/2015 at 02:47

I have bumps on my foreskin and I'm confused

Posted by Optional on 17/07/2015 at 05:11

I have 2 red bumps about halfway up my penis, I've never had sex before and haven't done oral either. I've had the one for about 2 months and the other judt recently. They don't cause any pain at all.

Posted by user on 17/06/2015 at 02:30

Hi, I just read the article briefly I have some bumps that I never saw in my life before. I have always used condoms never on oral. I am bit concern, but by reading all this it doesn't seem that even with having bumps I am in any dangers, but I feel I am. I have no pains I have notice they leave and come back. I hope I can get an answer would appreciate.

Posted by scared of the truth on 27/03/2015 at 05:57

Red bump with a whiteish yellow head does not hurt, but it's hard need to know what it is

Posted by Optional on 03/02/2015 at 09:34

I have two small Lil bumps on the shaft of my penis The bumps cause no pain no blisters no itching I had the bumps about 1 year in 1/2.

Posted by Optional on 22/01/2015 at 05:35

Got a small pimple looking bug bite on the tip of my penis, only have unprotected sex with my girlfriend and we're both faithful to each other, it's quite itchy and a little bit sore from the itching, please help

Posted by unknown on 20/01/2015 at 09:54

Iam 24 years old ...i have some problem with my penis ,on my peniss sone red and pumples are comming some tine it will disappeared and appear please help me do i get any suggestion from you, i think so. These problem has 2 months iam facing please tell me the solution. Thank you

Posted by Alex on 19/01/2015 at 12:29

Small bumps on the penis are common, and in most cases are not a sign of anything wrong. It's always wise to get them checked out to be sure, but normal penis care is usually all that is needed. Practice good hygiene and use a penis health creme for overall good health of the manhood.

Posted by Optional on 21/12/2014 at 02:47

I have a group of small clear fill blistetr on the shaft Of my penis dont hurt dont inch just there and not spreading help what are they

Posted by Optional on 16/12/2014 at 06:15

Thank you so much, for a second i thought i had herpes and now im good, me and my girlfriend just started to get intimate and i didnt want to sacrifice that

Posted by Optional on 10/12/2014 at 07:43

I get big lumps on penis shaft almost like pimples. They don't itch or anything. It's just there and it will disappear and come back. Might cause some pain if touch hard only

Posted by Optional on 21/11/2014 at 05:40

I have these bumps that appear if I don't wash my penis the night before. What are they

Posted by Optional on 21/11/2014 at 07:39

I have a bunch of blqck purpleish bumps underneath the skin on the head of my penis. They do not hurt itch nor is it a blister. Any ideas?

Posted by needadvise on 13/11/2014 at 03:15

I also have a lump on my penis. It looks like a vein and disappears when i am fully erect, then back when my penis shrinks. it doesn't hurt but it feels hard when i touch it. Help please!!what can i do? its been 3 weeks

Posted by Justin on 28/10/2014 at 11:30

I have Pearly Penile Papules and just now whenever i shower and wash the tip of my penis, it stings when water comes into contact with the back area of my penis head where the little pimple is and it only seems to sting when water comes into contact with that pimple.

Posted by no name on 23/10/2014 at 03:33

I'm 13 and I have white spots on my penis idk what they are I need answers I got them at age 10 I haven't told no one about it I'm looing for website and they all say its normal but I just want to know for sure its normal

Posted by Dino on 15/10/2014 at 09:17

Ok I have little black dots on my penis no irritation just dots. I shave down there frequently and I get a lot of hair bumps and I pop them. I have a baby on the way and I've been with the same girl for 5 months! These bumps just started showing up like a month ago as I can remember. Is it and std? It doesn't look like herpes and I don't have a burning sensation. My sexdrive is just different.

Posted by Ads on 12/10/2014 at 11:19

I had a small rice grain like lump under the tip of my shaft it was there for maybe a year and just tonight it felt sensitive. I went to the bathroom and there was a little hole. I tried squeezing a little gentle and puss came out form where that lump was. I don't know what to think I'm freaking out! The lump is almost gone but no more puss is coming out. I can kind of feel the lump still there but it's real soft now as if it's a little swollen from when the puss was there also the puss that came out hardened and it felt pretty hard solid after a few seconds. Also a little blood came out with the puss

Posted by Optional on 03/10/2014 at 02:29

Have like 7 little white bumps down below on the side of it yesterday.. Now today the white bumps have a black head on it it dont hurt when i pee the bumps only hurt when i touch or hit them im scared and nerves

Posted by Mwangi on 03/06/2014 at 09:00

I have itch on my whole body . no rashes except for some pimples which are hard. and burst out to remove puss. They are located below the genitals and on the buttocks. i am so worried bout this please advice as soon as headaches no other symptomps

Posted by Themba on 03/06/2014 at 04:18

Much thanks its displayed what bothering me (the pearly penile papules) and another problem im circumcised and sometimes my penis develops watery lumps

Posted by Optional on 21/05/2014 at 05:29

i have a couplemof blacka nd purple spots on the head of my penis also itches alot and smells alot what can i do thanks very scared what can it be

Posted by Optional on 26/11/2013 at 02:53

I have around 10 pin head sized bumps on my penis shaft. They seem to be able to pop but its not pus inside then. They have been there since last February. What are they

Posted by Optional on 07/11/2013 at 04:46

Small white pussy looking bumps around foreskin (not circumcised). Tender when moving foreskin to pee. What is it?

Posted by Optional on 14/06/2013 at 07:07

Recently I have had some lumps come up on the outer foreskin area, two around the top and a few more have appeared within the last week. Some others have appeared on my ball sack too. Theta are not particularly itchy, sometimes at night. The main one had a black dot it the centre which I have picked out and it ha left a pit in the centre. As I am in Australia the cost of going to see a doctor would be of a considerable amount if he just told me that nothing was wrong so hopefully. I have recently had scabies and used a cream to get rid of them using all over my body including the genitals. I thought this could be a reason for them coming up but since then their have been a few more appear. Hope someone can help with this. Thanks

Posted by Optional on 06/05/2013 at 09:49

i have a small lump on my pennis whole looks like a small vein from my inside of the pennis. When i get erected it disappears nd i only manage one round in bed and it never last long i also want to enquire about enlargement is real that i can do it or is a perception

Posted by embarrassed and scared... on 24/09/2012 at 05:01

I was showing this morning and cleaning my 'you know what' and noticed that there is a light white colored spot on the underside of the tip...its approx 2 cm long and 1/2 cm scared and would like to know what it is...and also it does't irritate me or feels uncomfortable at all...not at the moment i would like to know what it may be...any help would be appreciated...signed embarrassed and scared.

Posted by mike on 11/08/2011 at 01:28

foreskin growing over the penis head since botched op. 20 year ago cannot pull it back.