Why Is There a Lump on My Penis?

Medically Reviewed By Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP
Was this helpful?
4

Lumps on the penis are common, and most of them are harmless. Reasons for a lump on your penis can include ingrown hairs and sexually transmitted diseases. Most people with a penis may spot a lump on it at some point. Most lumps are not a cause for concern, are harmless, and will most likely disappear within a couple of weeks.

This article will explain the possible causes of lumps on the penis, whether those conditions are harmful, how to treat them, and when you should consider contacting your doctor.

What does a lump on the penis mean?

glittery banana
Yaroslav Danylchenko/Stocksy United

There are different types of lumps that may appear on your penis. Most of the time, you do not have to worry about it because the lump will just go away on its own.

However, you should contact your doctor if the lump you have on your penis:

  • is painful
  • leaks clear fluid or pus
  • swells up

What can cause a lump on the penis?

A lump may appear on the penis for many reasons. Pimples, sebaceous glands, ingrown hairs, and other types of harmless lumps may appear on your penis just like they might on other parts of your body. Most of the time, this is not a cause for concern.

Certain types of lumps may be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), cancer, or Peyronie’s disease. These types of bumps require an examination from your doctor.

Read more about STIs and Peyronie’s disease.

Blemishes

Blemishes can occur anywhere in your body, as well as on your penis, 2019 research reports. These blemishes include pimples, ingrown hairs, and cysts.

Cysts are firm to the touch. They can be a hard lump on a penis.

According to 2022 research, you can recognize a cyst if it:

  • matches the texture and color of the surrounding skin
  • is not painful if you touch it
  • does not change shape but does get bigger over time

Cysts do not need treatment, and they usually go away in a few weeks.

Pimples happen if oil or dirt remains trapped in a skin pore, causing bacteria and pus to build up. Ingrown hairs may happen after hair curves back into its follicle while growing.

Ingrown hairs symptoms include:

  • itchiness
  • a spot filled with pus or fluid
  • irritation
  • a dark spot in the affected area

Fordyce spots

Fordyce spots are tiny bumps that may appear on your penis or its surrounding tissue. They tend to look yellowish and sometimes form in clusters.

Fordyce spots do not just affect the penis but can happen in all people. About 70–80% of all adults are born with Fordyce spots, which usually get bigger and more visible during puberty. They can occur in all people, regardless Fordyce spots do not need treatment, and they usually go away with time.

Read more about Fordyce spots.

Angiokeratomas

Angiokeratomas are bright, red, tiny bumps. They usually appear in small clusters when the blood vessels enlarge or dilate. They might get thicker over time.

Hypertension and other similar conditions that can affect your blood vessels might be the origin of angiokeratomas, according to 2022 research.

Pearly penile papules

Pearly penile papules are tiny bumps that are shiny and have the same color as the skin of your penis. They are harmless, and experts do not yet know what causes them.

Read more about pearly penile papules.

Moles

A mole may appear anywhere on your body, including your penis. Skin cells that produce too much melanin can cause a mole. It is harmless and not a cause for concern.

If your mole grows larger or changes, you should contact your doctor. Moles may become cancerous.

STIs or STDs

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause lumps to appear on your penis or in its surrounding area.

STIs and STDs that can cause lumps or bumps on your penis include:

  • Genital warts: This is a viral infection. When the wart grows, it appears bumpy. The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes it. You can treat it with topical antibiotics, or doctors can remove it surgically.
  • Genital herpes: This is a viral infection. It causes itchy and infected blisters. The herpes simplex virus causes it, and you can treat it with antiviral medication to reduce its outbreak.
  • Molluscum contagiosum: This is a viral infection. The virus creates small, shiny, smooth bumps filled with a substance similar to wax. Doctors can treat it with surgical removal.
  • Syphilis: This is a type of bacterial infection. It may produce a rash and some painful sores on your penis. You can treat it by taking antibiotics or a penicillin injection.

Learn 8 surprising facts about STDs.

Peyronie’s disease

Peyronie’s disease happens when scar tissue forms on the penis and causes a hard lump of tissue, according to a 2015 research review. It usually appears as a lump on the penis shaft.

Treatment for Peyronie’s disease may include:

  • penile traction devices
  • vacuum devices to straighten your penis
  • surgery

Lymphoceles

Lymphoceles refer to lumps that appear on your penis after sex or masturbation. This is the result of a blockage in your lymph channels. These lumps usually go away shortly after they appear, and they do not need any treatment.

Medical conditions such as cancer

Penile cancer is a rare type of cancer, and it involves the penis tissue and skin.

The most common symptom of penile cancer is the formation of an atypical lump of tissue on your penis that may grow larger. It also may look red, irritated, or infected.

The treatment for penile cancer depends on the stage, according to the American Cancer Society.

When should you contact a doctor?

You should reach out to your doctor if you notice a new spot, lump, or bump on your penis or if you had sex without without a condom, particularly after having sex with new partners for the first time.

How do you diagnose the cause of a lump on the penis

Your doctor will examine the lump on your penis and ask you about your medical history and any symptoms that you may have experienced since the lump appeared.

Your doctor may also suggest additional exams if they suspect you have an STI or STD.

Per the U.K. National Health Service (NIH), tests may include:

  • blood test
  • urine test
  • urethra swab

If your doctor suspects you have penile cancer, the American Cancer Society notes that they may also require:

How can you prevent lumps from forming on the penis?

In most cases, such as penile cancer, lymphoceles, or pearly penile papules, you cannot prevent lumps from forming on your penis.

However, you can prevent getting an STI or an STD, which may cause a lump, ulcer, and other mild to severe complications to your penis. Having sex while using protection, such as a condom, can significantly decrease the chance of getting STIs and STDs.

What are the complications of a lump on the penis?

Most of the lumps you may find on your penis are harmless. However, some conditions like STIs or penile cancer can cause health complications, the NIH advises.

If you have penile cancer, an early diagnosis may help to have a better outlook and more successful treatments. When diagnosed in its early stages, penile cancer has a high survival rate.

Summary

Usually, a lump or a bump on your penis is harmless, and you should not worry about it. Pimples, pearly penile papules, or common conditions such as Fordyce spots are typically the cause of the new lump you have spotted on your penis.

Sometimes a lump on your penis may also suggest ongoing and more serious conditions, such as penile cancer or an STI. If the lumps you have noticed persist for more than a couple of weeks, if they worsen, or if you start developing other symptoms, you should contact your doctor.

Was this helpful?
4
Medical Reviewer: Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP
Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 10
View All Men's Health Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Addoh, Q., et al. (2017). Safe sex self-efficacy and safe sex practice in a Southern United States college. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5350553/
  2. Aldahan, A. S., et al. (2018). Diagnosis and management of pearly penile papules. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987947/
  3. Badri, T., et al. (2022). Molluscum contagiosum. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441898/
  4. Bilgutay, A. N., et al. (2015). Peyronie's disease: A review of etiology, diagnosis, and management. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4535719/
  5. Chipollini, J. et al. (2019). Patient presentation, differential diagnosis, and management of penile lesions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6620174/
  6. Goßler, C., et al. (2021). Epidemiology and therapy of symptomatic lymphoceles after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7947462/
  7. How can men reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD)? (2021). https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menshealth/conditioninfo/risk
  8. Ivy, H. et al. (2022). Angiokeratoma circumscriptum. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549769/
  9. Leung, A. K. C, et al. (2018). Penile warts: An update on their evaluation and management. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6302884/
  10. Leung, A. K. C, et al. (2015). Fordyce spots. https://www.oatext.com/pdf/CCRR-1-140.pdf
  11. Luo, D. Q., et al. (2016). Ingrowing hair: A case report. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4902536/
  12. Martin, K., et al. (2021). Uptake of and factors associated with testing for sexually transmitted infections in community-based settings among youth in Zimbabwe: A mixed-methods study. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30335-7/fulltext
  13. Moles: Who gets and types. (n.d.). https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/moles-types
  14. Penile cancer. (n.d.). https://www.cancer.org/cancer/penile-cancer.html
  15. Penile cancer early detection, diagnosis, and staging. (2018). https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8785.00.pdf
  16. Penile curvature (Peyronie's disease). (2019). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/penile-curvature-peyronies-disease
  17. Sauerbrei A. (2016). Herpes genitalis: Diagnosis, treatment and prevention. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5177552/
  18. Sexually transmitted diseases. (2015). https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases
  19. Tudor, M. E., et al. (2022). Syphilis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534780/
  20. Visiting an STI clinic. (2018). https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/visiting-an-sti-clinic/
  21. What is this lump on my penis? (2021). https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/mens-health/what-is-this-lump-on-my-penis/
  22. What to expect during a male genital examination. (2021). https://www.healthymale.org.au/news/what-happens-during-male-genital-examination
  23. Zito, P. M., et al. (2022). Epidermoid cyst. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499974/