Fordyce Spots on Penis- Should You be Worried?

Fordyce spots are extremely common skin lesion occurring in around 80% to 95% of the total population. Although they are totally harmless, one may concern about its cosmetic appearance and wondering how to get rid of Fordyce spots. While others might be worried about the resemblance of fordyce spots on penis to other sexually transmitted disease and might affect ones social life.

Fordyce spots are usually multiple small, pinhead, painless, yellowish or whitish focally grouped macules or papules usually seen on the lips, oral or genital mucosa and occasionally on breast areola. They may be around to 2 to 3 mm in size. Genital lesion may occur on penile shaft, especially on ventral surface (glans penis, shaft of penis and scrotum) and sometimes might get inflamed and can be a major concern for the peoples. They are common in both males and females and incidence increases with age. The lesions are usually asymptomatic but in few cases, itching and irritation may occur.

Fordyce spots may not be visible during childhood until after puberty, although they may be present histologically. Fordyce spots are sebaceous glands containing neutral lipids but are not associated with hair follicles. They may be more prominent in males with greasy skin and in elderly and might be increased with patients with rheumatic disorder.

Fordyce spots are totally harmless and they are not infectious so, no treatment is required. Usually, they are not associated with any illness or disease, but one may be worried about their presentation and being misdiagnosed as lichen planus or thrush or leukoplakia. Further more males may be concerned about sexually transmitted disease, especially genital warts or any cancerous changes, when fordyce spots appear on penis.

There are few times when some sexually transmitted disease may mimic the lesion just like Fordyce spots on penis or it may appear with other sexually transmitted disease, so it is necessary to consult a dermatologist or any experts for proper diagnosis and management. If it is associated with any other sexually transmitted disease, it should be treated accordingly. Talk to your doctor if you suspect any changes in the lesion.

Although, Fordyce spots don’t require any treatment, one may have discomfort especially about fordyce spots on lips and even more worried when there is fordyce spots on penis which might affect the sexual life too. There are several treatment approach but none of the treatment methods are reliable or with 100% success rate. Oral isotretinoin has been tried with little success, but no data confirm about its success rate and recurrence. Co2 laser treatment, electro desiccation, liquid nitrogen freezing and 5-aminolaevulinic acid-photodynamic therapy have been with some success rate but chances of recurrence and scarring is still a major concern. Pulse Dye lasers are expensive but chances of scarring is less.

Fordyce spots are extremely common in general population and are non-cancerous. Although they don’t require any treatment, it is advised to visit a dermatologist or any experts to rule out any other medical possibility if the lesion becomes itchy and irritated. Always remember, scratching and squeezing the spots might lead to further complications so, never scratch or squeeze those spots.