The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

Share this page with your friends

Bookmark and Share

Question

Question

Answer

Well, I have the pearl thing on my penis, but it itches. Does that mean it's mixed with something else? I'm a virgin.

Geoff (age 13)

Pearly Penile Papules only appear at the bottom edge of the glans (the head of your penis). They are distinguished by being in neat rows. See the question about pearly penile papules for more information. But one thing about them is that they do not itch.

If you have white bumps elsewhere on your penis, then most likely you have a cyst, which is a clogged gland -- mostly likely an oil gland. These can itch. As long as the bumps are small, most doctors prefer not to do anything. But if they are bothering you, you might want to get it checked out.

What if there are bumps under the head but still in neat rows? And if you have -- like it's hard to explain -- there are popped blisters on the inside of my thigh.

Geoff (age 13)

I understand the difficulty in explaining what you see in terms that another person can understand without seeing. Especially when it comes to skin problems you will find that the most common answer is to go and see a doctor. The reason is that a doctor is trained to look for clues and ask questions you might not thought of as being important. You can even see this in the Old Testament. People who had skin diseases had to present themselves to a priest who was given a long list of things to check (see Leviticus 13-14 for an example). Sometimes getting a clear, close-up picture of the problem helps, but nothing beats seeing a dermatologist.

Let's start with the problem on your inside thigh. I assume it itches badly. It sounds very much like folliculitis, which is when bacteria get into the hair follicles. Actually there are a number of diseases called folliculitis, depending on what bacteria or fungus has invaded the hair follicles, but they all have similar characteristics and treatment. If you can look really close at the blisters, you may see that there is a hair by each one. It may be hard to tell if your hair hasn't developed in that area yet. Some forms of folliculitis cause the follicles to "weep" and a yellow or orange tinted crust forms over the area.

You can get folliculitis from many places. Some common ones are by sitting in a hot tub that wasn't cleaned properly, wearing a bathing suit or wet suit that wasn't washed between uses, wearing something that rubbed the surface of the skin raw, or shaving. In the last case, the common name for folliculitis is "barber's rash."

Most folliculitis respond to antiseptics or antibiotic ointments. While the wounds are healing, wear loose clothing and avoid rubbing the area. Try not to scratch or you will spread the bacteria to other places on you skin. Make sure you change what you are wearing at least daily and make sure what you wear is washed thoroughly. You don't want to get rid of this disease and then bring it back by putting on clothing that has it again. You probably will want to wash your sheets frequently as well.

If it doesn't show signs of going away in a week or if it keeps coming back, you need to see a doctor to get an antibiotic specific for the bacteria you caught.

Pearly penile papules are most commonly found on the bottom edge of the glans (the head of the penis). However, they can appear on the shaft of the penis, usually just below the head. The distinguishing traits are that the bumps are skin colored and they are in neat rows, often forming a ring around the penis. I found an example with pictures of pearly penile papules on the shaft at: http://www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=1822&UID= Pearly penile papules don't itch, but since it appears you have folliculitis elsewhere, it is possible that the infection is also on your penis even though there usually isn't hair follicles in that region. Treat it along with the rest. The papules themselves will not go away, but hopefully the itching and redness will go away. If not, you need to see a doctor for a diagnosis.