Medical Specialty >> Urology

Doctors Lounge - Urology Answers

Back to Urology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 8/13/2017.

Forum Name: Urology Topics

Question: Painful Glans

 Polymer - Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:29 am

Just turned 25, male, uncircumcised, no prior sexual history. No pre-existing medical conditions or past pharmaceutical treatment, including no surgery, major or otherwise.

Haven't had any problems with my penis until recently. Discovered two white bumps on the left side of my frenulum and one on the right side. They appear to be more pronounced pearly penile papules, in relation to a more inchoate formation of papules lining the base of my corona. They stand apart however, (noticed them a few months ago) and as mentioned, experienced no prior problems with them.

Since a week there seems to be a constant irritation and sensitivity situated around the two white bumps on the left side of my frenulum. In the following days I've noted that the entire corona has become more-or-less sore, painful and sensitive. The area around the two white bumps has become inflamed; red. (The right-side of the frenulum has also turned red.)

My only recourse so far has been rinsing it twice or more a day with lukewarm water and gently & delicately rubbing it clean with my fingertips. Tried keeping it dry, by dabbing it with a towel afterwards, but this caused a painful sensation when pulling back the prepuce. (normally I leave it moist to a slight degree, after showering.)

What could be the problem? Haven't performed any unusual 'activities' on them. It could be that I'm causing the spread of the sensitivity and soreness by 'cleansing' it so steadily. Heretofore I have kept my glans mostly covered in light of its sensitivity, being an uncircumcised male. Albeit this does not account for the original source of the 'soreness', the area surrounding the two white bumps. (The soreness seems to radiate outward to the left of my glans, though my frenulum is also unusually sensitive.) When aroused the sensations in the glans are also different.

Any thoughts? Couldn't be an STD, nor do I use unclean towels used by others. Scoured the internet for info and did read that an early form of penile cancer, when situated on the glans, manifests itself in small white bumps, before ulcerating. But I also have a typical, though undeveloped formation of PPP on the corona of my glans. PPP is supposed to be asymptomatic right, but can cause enhanced sensitivity?

Haven't yet visited a physician.

(Would they mind if I just photograph the 'areas'? Not too keen on a physical examination. Unless of course they want to take swabs or whatever.) Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:02 pm

User avatar Hi Polymer,

You may have a fungal infection of the skin. This is prone to occurring in the genital region because it is generally moist.

Seeing a doctor is a good idea. If it is a fungal infection there are some topical treatments that can help. If it turns out to be something else you can get the right treatment for that.

I'm not sure your doctor would be comfortable with just looking at pictures. Direct examination is probably needed.

Best wishes.
 Polymer - Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:43 am

Finally made that appointment, but they couldn't schedule me in until Monday. Switched my approach towards keeping it religiously clean and fully dry, as was suggested by various sites to address a fungal infection, however it did not ameliorate the problem. At first it served to attenuate the intensity of the soreness, but then I used a shower head with a compressed stream to rinse it more thoroughly, which actually seemed to exacerbate the inflammation in the area.

Any tips, hints? (Don't use the shower head again?) lol This sucks.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:18 pm

User avatar Good hygiene is very important to helping fungal infections but sometimes they have set in enough that this alone won't get rid of them.

Since you have a doctor's appointment in a few days I would recommend not using any anti-fungal or other medicated ointments until you see your doctor. This way the area isn't partially treated which can make diagnosis harder.

Best wishes.
 Polymer - Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:16 am

My physician settled for the pictures, it was a 10 minute appointment, she didn't think they were pearly penile papules in light of them not being skin-coloured. (disagreed on that point) Can't remember what she called them, presumably they could be related to the infection, for which she prescribed an ointment/cream.

She ruled out STD's, genital warts or anything of that sort based on my history. Don't know, kind of ambivalent to the proceedings. She didn't think it was penile cancer because that usually manifests itself as a sore, though the medical definition found online also lists papules. Of course I'm 25, so it's unlikely to begin with.

I'll give the cream a try, thanks for the info, will see if it clears up.
 Polymer - Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:47 am

The over-the-counter anti-fungal cream (lamisil) hasn't exactly worked. The infection seems to diffuse itself wherever I haven't applied any of the cream. (though now it just weathers through any meticulously applied anti-fungal treatment.)

Started out with applying the cream on the entire base of the corona, which seemed to work at first, however the infection spread to the prepuce. (figured that one out 10 days ago.) Which I've subsequently began to treat as well, to some avail, albeit the infection has now spread across the corona unto the glans itself. The soreness/burning sensation vacillates from one region to the other. This is beginning to get extremely frustrating. Plus, it has already been a month, the treatment should have worked within 14 days. Hadn't contacted my physician earlier, because I was using the cream-- as it turns out, too squeamishly at first. (or so I figure) Significantly used more cream during the course of this 'treatment', which might have actually contributed to a certain resistance within the fungus to the anti-fungal cream? (slow, gradual exposure to increased amounts of Lamisil. Any thoughts on this matter?)

Basically I either applied the cream two or three times a day, rinsing each time with warm running water before applying the cream on the glans and prepuce.(see above)

- somewhat rubbed the skin clean, though there wasn't any build-up or anything.)

- Used no soap during the entire month. (until today out of frustration.)

Could this have anything to do with the tenacity of this fungal infection?

Made another appointment, but they couldn't schedule me in until next week Tuesday.

My only consolation, to some extent anyway, is that the region with the two pearly bumps is consistently asymptomatic at the moment, at both sides of the frenulum and has been for two weeks or so. (Occasionally it becomes tender when I direct my thought to the region, but in all likelihood the sensations of the nearby afflicted regions contaminate the area.) Though I've constituted that one of them has increased in size in the last month. (Out of curiosity, I'd also attempted to 'rub' one of them off, with no negative consequences. Just to make sure it wouldn't ulcerate, or whatever.)



- Soap, will it have any positive effect?

- Has the fungal infection build up a resistance to the cream? And if so, will any additional treatment with Lamisil help?

- Rubbing the furrow of the corona clean during rinsing, has it any negative effects?

Anyway, you have my gratitude for offering a place to vent.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:25 pm

User avatar Fungal skin infections can be very difficult to treat. It can take many weeks of treatment. It still may be a fungal infection based on your description.

Seeing your doctor again is a good idea, though, to help be sure you're still dealing with a fungal issue.

Using soap can help as long as the soap is mild. Some soaps can irritate the skin further. The soap can help kill the fungus. Gentle washing is OK. Don't do anything too vigorous or it makes it more likely the soap will irritate. Washing the edge of the corona is OK as well.

Best wishes.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us