I have five bumps on the upper shaft of my penis, three on one side and two on the other. They resemble the pearly penile papule bumps, but they're located just below the head of my penis on the underside and are fairly symmetrical. They're always the same in size and appearance and never cause any discomfort. Any idea what these might be?
Jason (age 25)
While pearly penile papules most often occur around the corona (the edge) of the glans, they can appear on the shaft of the penis as well. The most distinguishing characteristic is that they appear in rows. I suppose that if you had just a few it might be difficult to tell if they are in a row or not. I found one medical site that discusses a case similar to yours, including photographs which you might want to take a look at: http://www.nomorepapules.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Before-21.jpeg. My guess, from what you describe and not seeing it, is that this is what you have.
The main concern is not to confuse pearly penile papules with genital warts (also called HPV after the name of the virus that causes the warts). Genital warts usually appear singularly or in clusters. Each bump is not similar to the other bumps in shape or size. They tend to have a flat top and a cauliflower texture on the top (you might have to get a magnifying glass to see it.
Pearly penile papules tend to show up on men in their teens and twenties and fade as they get into their forties. They cause no harm, they just look odd.
Genital warts have been associated with cancers later in life. As a result, it is important to have them removed by a doctor.