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Dermatology/Tiny bumps on penile head.


Side view
Side view  

Overhead view
Overhead view  

I recently discovered these about a week ago, though they seem to have multiplied in number over the past few days (though I may just be imagining that as I have been checking constantly due to my worry. I am a 21 year old male who has had only one (oral) sexual interaction in his life, which was approximately 8 months ago. Though I did ask ahead of time and used protection, I fear that this development may be related to that event. I am aware that there are numerous afflictions that could cause symptoms like these and that as a circumsized make even friction could be a factor, but I would like a professional opinion on what they actually are.. They do not seem to have bothered me until very recently but I believe that may be a cause of my rubbing the area/checking it constantly. They also appear to be more visible when I'm erect.

Other information that could possibly be valuable is that I have fordyce spots on my scrotum and shaft and have had them since my early teens, though I don't know if that has anything to do with this... The bumps are primarily on the left hand side but I am paranoid that their may also be some affected areas on the right....

Thank you ahead of time,

You have a condition called Balanitis.

Balanitis is swelling (inflammation) of the foreskin and head of the penis.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Balanitis is usually caused by poor hygiene.Other possible causes include:

Diseases such as reactive arthritis and lichen sclerosis et atrophicus
Harsh soaps
Not rinsing soap off properly while bathing
Uncontrolled diabetes
Trauma from sex or other
Skin irritation

Redness of foreskin or penis
Other rashes on the head of the penis
Foul-smelling discharge
Painful penis and foreskin
Signs and tests

Your health care provider may be able to diagnose your balanitis by examination alone. However, you may need skin tests for viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Sometimes, a skin biopsy is needed.


Treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. For example, balanitis that is caused by bacteria may be treated with antibiotic pills or creams. Balanitis that occurs with skin diseases may respond to steroid creams. Anti-fungal creams will be prescribed if it is due to a fungus. In your case you most likely need an OTC cortisone cream like Cortaid but if this is not effective see your local doctor.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most cases of balanitis can be controlled with medicated creams and good hygiene.


Long-term inflammation or infection can:

Lead to severe infections
Cause more irritation or inflammation

Calling your health care provider

Tell your health care provider if you have any signs of balanitis, including swelling of the foreskin or pain.


Good hygiene can prevent most cases of balanitis.  


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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>


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