A cyst on your penis usually isn’t a cause for concern. But, in some cases it could indicate other health problems, like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you have a skin cyst on your penis, it’s important to schedule a visit with your healthcare provider. They can find out what caused the bump and determine whether treatment is necessary.
Cysts are fluid-filled bumps. They can appear anywhere on your body, including your penis.
Most of the time, penile cysts are harmless. Still, if you develop a skin cyst on your penis head, shaft or base, you should have it checked by your healthcare provider. They can determine what caused the cyst on your penis and recommend treatment to ease your symptoms.
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While some types of penile bumps are quite common, actual cysts on the penis don’t develop often. Penile cysts are usually no cause for concern. Still, it’s never a bad idea to see your healthcare provider.
It’s important to know the difference between cysts and bumps caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
In general, cysts are:
STD-related bumps usually:
Causes and symptoms can vary depending on the type of cyst you have on your penis:
An epidermoid cyst on your penis is usually harmless. These cysts are filled with keratin — a protein found in skin, hair and nails. Epidermoid cysts form when skin cells move deeper into your skin instead of sloughing off. Symptoms may include:
Epidermoid cysts are more likely to develop on your scrotum, but they can appear on your penis as well.
These cysts occur when your sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) become damaged or blocked. Sebaceous cysts usually aren’t painful, but if they become inflamed, they may be tender. Symptoms may include:
Epidermal inclusion cysts are common overall, but they rarely appear on the penis. When they do occur, they’re generally a complication of circumcision. Symptoms may include:
These rare cysts are congenital (present at birth). They develop when tissue becomes trapped near the median raphe nerve in your penis.
Median raphe cysts usually don’t cause problems, but some people may develop symptoms later on in life, including:
A true cyst isn’t contagious and can’t spread. However, if you have STD-related bumps, they can spread through sexual contact.
If you have an STD-related bump, it’s important to tell your sexual partners so they can have testing.
Most of the time, a cyst on your penis doesn’t cause pain. However, if the bump becomes inflamed or irritated, it can be tender to the touch.
In most cases, a cyst on your penis will go away on its own. However, if the cyst continues to be problematic, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment. Options could include:
Though it may be tempting, you should never squeeze a cyst or attempt to pop it. This can actually send bacteria deeper into your skin, resulting in the formation of more cysts.
While there’s no way to completely prevent cysts on your penis, avoiding certain risk factors can reduce your chance of developing them. For example, you should:
If you notice a cyst on your penis, you should see your healthcare provider right away. They’ll determine what caused the cyst and tell you whether treatment is necessary.
Yes, a cyst can go away on its own eventually. In most cases, simply keeping the area clean and applying a warm compress can help ease symptoms while your cyst is healing.
Most of the time, a cyst should go away on its own within one month. However, if the cyst becomes inflamed or irritated, it could last longer.
Anytime you notice a lump or bump on your penis, you should have it assessed by your healthcare provider. Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. But, it’s important to figure out what caused it so you can treat it properly.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Finding a cyst on your penis can be alarming. Most of the time, it’s not a cause for concern. However, to rule out STDs or other underlying conditions, it’s important to have the bump examined by your healthcare provider. If it’s not causing painful symptoms, you may not need to do anything. But there are several treatment options available should it become problematic.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/18/2022.
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