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When lumps appear in the male genital area (penis and scrotum), everyone first thinks of a sexually transmitted disease. However, STDs are not always the cause and in many cases, lumps turn out to be common and harmless.

The location of the lump, its size, and its color will help your doctor determine exactly what it is.

Ingrown hairs

No hair grows within in the penis itself, so an ingrown hair is an extremely unlikely possibility. However, ingrown hairs are common in the scrotum area and at the base of the shaft of the penis. They are more likely to occur after using a razor for hair removal. They are tiny nodules beneath the skin, usually similar to each other. Ingrown hairs can sometimes get infected, causing redness, pain and pus in the affected area. With time, the ingrown hair finds its own way to get out, but when the pain gets worse, when the lump increases in size, and when a great amount of puss is collected in that area, a medical examination is necessary.

Scrotal cysts

These appear as small, pea sized nodules. They can be solitary or multiple and filled with cheesy material. Scrotal cysts usually don't get infected and require no treatment. However, in some cases, they may require surgical removal.


Angiofibromas are more likely to occur in uncircumcised men. They are usually small jagged bumps in the glans area of the penis. Angiofibromas require no treatment.


Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by red patches with a well defined border. These red patches can be seen also in other parts of the body. Psoriasis of the genital area is treated with steroid creams.

Genital Warts

Genital warts are caused by Human Papilloma Virus, HPV. They cause a cauliflower-shaped bump usually with the same color as the skin. They may appear anywhere in the genital area and are one of the most sexually transmitted diseases. Genital warts require treatment because they have a potential of causing cancer in women.

Herpes simplex

Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, usually caused by HSV2. Herpes simplex is characterized by small blisters that eventually will turn into very painful ulcers. These ulcers can be localized anywhere in the genital area. The infection is accompanied by fever and severe pain. Herpes simplex is a recurrent genital infection, but recurrences can be milder.

Primary Syphilis

This is characterized by a round-shaped painless ulcer. Ulcers can appear on the penis or scrotum. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause serious complications when left untreated. The ulcers usually resolve after a few weeks, but this doesn't mean that the disease is cured. The infection persists in the bloodstream, appearing later in time or maybe causing complications in other body organs.

Penile Cancer

Penile cancer is characterized by a single, irregular genital ulcer which doesn't heal. Penile cancer usually appears on the foreskin or glans. When diagnosed and treated on time, most penile cancers can be cured. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of penile cancer.

These are just a few possible causes of lumps and bumps in the genital area. It is very important to seek medical help when a lump or a bump is noticed in the genital area. It is not smart to self diagnose and self treat it at home. Sometimes only clinical tests can properly diagnose a certain condition. Even though they might be harmful, in some cases, they can be contagious or even dangerous.

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