Hirsuties coronae glandis
|Hirsuties coronae glandis|
|Other names||hirsutoid papillomas, pearly penile papules|
|Glans penis with hirsuties papillaris glandis|
Hirsuties coronae glandis (also known as hirsutoid papillomas and pearly penile papules; PPP) are small protuberances that may form on the ridge of the glans of the human penis. They are a form of acral angiofibromas. They are a normal anatomical variation in humans and are sometimes described as vestigial remnants of penile spines, sensitive features found in the same location in other primates. In species in which penile spines are expressed, as well as in humans who have them, the spines are thought to contribute to sexual pleasure and quicker orgasms. It has been theorized that pearly penile papules stimulate the vagina during sexual intercourse. In addition, pearly penile papules secrete oil that moistens the glans of the penis.
The papules appear as one or several rows of small, pearly or flesh-colored, smooth, dome-topped bumps situated circumferentially around the corona or sulcus of the glans. They may range in size from less than 1 mm to 3 mm. As of 1999, different studies have produced estimates of incidence ranging from 8 to 48 percent of all men. Studies suggest that it occurs more often on younger men and those who have not been circumcised. One study found them in 33.3% of uncircumcised males and 7.1% of circumcised males.
A similar expression, vestibular papillomatosis of the vulva or "hirsuties papillaris vulvae", occurs in females and similarly can be misinterpreted as an HPV infection. Like hirsuties papillaris genitalis, it is a normal variation on human anatomy.
While hirsuties papillaris genitalis poses no risk to a person's health, some individuals or their sexual partners may consider them aesthetically displeasing. There are several medical ways to remove them. Like any elective medical procedure, there is always some risk of unexpected consequences, so doctors advise against their removal unless they are causing a patient serious problems.
One of the available treatments is performed by a dermatologist, using a CO2 laser to vaporise the papules. This normally takes only a few minutes to perform. It is simple and does not normally require a hospital stay; discomfort should be minimal and the expected recovery time is one to two weeks. Another procedure involves electrosurgery performed with a hyfrecator and should take less than an hour to perform.
Both procedures should be out-patient procedures if no complications arise.
Myths and misunderstandings
Although it is not related to any pathological condition, hirsuties papillaris genitalis is occasionally mistaken for HPV warts. There are also home remedies for "curing" it, despite the fact that the papules are neither infectious nor detrimental to one's health and may have beneficial functions. Some of the "home remedies" found on the Internet and elsewhere use mild ointments or creams to soften the papules, but others are physically dangerous techniques for papule removal which can result in permanent genital mutilation.
Rapini et al. advise that, since dermatologists have safe, effective ways to remove the papules if desired, home remedies involving corrosive substances or self-surgery should be avoided, since they can permanently damage sexual functioning. Rapini et al. further state that removal should only be performed by a physician using proven medical techniques.
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