I have a new found passion. I have never studied Classics, but was recommended to discover the complexity of the great Greek philosophers, who shaped the world and democracy we know today.
I started to learn about Socrates, the classical Athenian philosopher, best known for laying the foundations of western philosophy.
This enigmatic figure was often known through the accounts of classical writings and antiquity, as the hidden behind his best disciple, Plato.
“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realise how little we understand about life, ourselves and the world around us” Socrates famously said. He also highlighted: “Wisdom begins in wonder.”
I agree with this philosophy. Self-reflection is the only way for us to have a better insight of our own wisdom.
In the field of medicine, one would have thought all the great minds over the centuries have worked out the anatomy and physiology of functioning bodies.
Contrary to common beliefs, we actually know very little about body parts, and continue to explore the wonders of the human anatomy.
On that note, let us deal with one reader’s conundrum on the mysterious troubling lumps that appear on his manhood.
Dear Dr G,
I have been meaning to write to you about my problem, but have been too embarrassed to do so. My problem is now getting worse, and I can no longer ignore them. I need help!
I began to notice some white lumps appearing on the underside of my glans penis about three years after I started a sexual relationship.
I am now 26 years old and have been severely bothered by these smooth ugly nodules that had formed in one row. They are painless but are prominent at the underside of my penis.
I have discussed with my mates and they said these might be due to poor hygiene, as I am not circumcised.
I confess, I am not the cleanest guy in the planet, but I have tried cleaning myself repeatedly, but do not seem to be able to get better.
I have also looked at certain websites and the pictures that look as if it is a sexually transmitted disease. I am really worried this might be syphilis or herpes.
I have confronted my girlfriend, and needless to say, she did not take it well, and we have split up since. I then had the tests and it turned out negative!
I have been to a family practitioner and he suggested I should have biopsy to ensure this is not cancer.
Seriously? cancer? Please tell me I do not have cancer of my manhood! This is truly a nightmare!
I am desperate. I think these lumps are unsightly and they have negative impact on my self-image, and I am too scared to engage in another sexual relationship.
Can the biopsy get rid of all of them? Can you help?
When any lumps appear on the vital organ of manhood, the guilt conscious of a man will kick in. I guess it is only natural for a man to consider the possibility of their sexual mischiefs coming to haunt them.
The reality is, not all lumps appearing in the penis is a consequence of misbehavior. Infected hair follicles or sebaceous cysts, for example, often mimic the horror of a sexually transmitted infection and creating nightmares for many men.
The other form of benign lumps that appear on the surface of the penis may be Pearly Penile Papules (PPP). These are also well known to cause problems to an innocent sufferer like John.
PPP is also known as Hirsuties Papillaris Genitalis. This is characterised by a row of small flesh skin coloured lesions typically encircle the underside of the glans penis, or the corona. They do not cause any secretion or pain.
However, for some men, PPP causes constant skin irritations. Although a number of researches had focused on such lesions, the true function and the etiology of PPP are completely unknown.
PPP is common and reportedly affects one in four men. Some studies even reported prevalence as high as 50%. With such observations, most clinicians would agree that PPP is a harmless condition affecting some men. Interestingly, uncircumcised men are more prone to PPP compared to men without foreskin.
The bumps usually emerge on men in their 20s and 30s, and such lesions diminish after the age of 40. Such age related patterns had prompted the speculation on PPP’s association with testosterone.
However, the correlation is largely baseless. Although nothing much is known about PPP, there is no evidence to suggest such condition as contagious.
It is unrelated to sexually transmitted infections or cancer. Sadly, due to lack of awareness, PPP has been misdiagnosed as genital warts, herpes, syphilis and even cancer. Such “mistaken-identity” and connotation had caused heightened anxiety and many broken relationships (sorry, John).
PPP can be very embarrassing and stressful for the sufferers as it is cosmetically unacceptable.
Many men used lotions that have no impact on the lesions, but cause significant irritations and scaring to the penis. Some reports suggest the use of steroids or laser to get rid of the bumps, but the outcome may not be optimal for some men.
My second Greek philosopher hero is Pythagoras. This great mathematician had made influential contributions to philosophy and religion.
He once said: “It is better wither to be silent, or to say things of more value than silence, sooner throw a pearl at hazard than idle or useless word; and do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.”
Although, only few words can be said about PPP, as not much is known about it, however, seeking help from your doctor for your pearl of wisdom may reveal the bumps on the manhood, may just be nothing but “pearls” in the pants.
> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.
Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. This column is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at firstname.lastname@example.org