Hard, Small, Red Lump on Penis shaft: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

It is common to have lumps and bumps on the skin. But when such lumps appear on the penis, one can’t help but get concerned.

The first thought that crosses one’s mind in the advent of a lump on the penis is the possibility of having contracted an STD. But as it happens, there are very many possible causes of penile lumps. Many have in fact nothing to do with sexual intercourse. As surprising as it may sound, cancer can start in the penis. It may also spread to the penis from other organs. Lump under armpit painful symptoms are common indications of spreading cancer.

Different treatment options are available, depending on the cause and the size of the lump. It is always best to learn how to tell the difference between a harmful and a harmless bump on the penis. This is because some require urgent medical treatments while others can be left to heal on their own or through treatment at home.

Lump on shaft of penis caused by Peyronie’s disease

Unlike benign tumors that can be left to heal on their own, Peyronie’s disease is one of those conditions that will not kill you but can be extremely challenging.

Peyronie’s disease causes difficulties in achieving a normal erection in men. This occurs when the fibrous tissue under the skin of the penis shaft recovers from an injury but abnormally. The penis shaft is comprised of erectile muscles which stretch to form an erection. In Peyronie’s disease patients, scar tissues that have formed abnormally prevent one side of the penis from stretching with the rest. This leads to a painful curved erection.

Much like a hard lump on wrist due to a ganglion cyst, it is not known what exactly causes Peyronie’s disease. However, activities that encourage damage to the tissues of the erectile muscles are mostly to blame. The disease is noted to occur more in men over 50 years of age. It has also been linked with hereditary factors, poor health and existing complications of the connective tissues.

Flat lumps that feel like a sheet of hard tissue under the skin of the penis shaft are the common indications of Peyronie’s disease. Other symptoms include pain in the penis, erectile dysfunction, bending and shortening of the penis.

In some cases, Peyronie’s disease will resolve on its own. This is not common however. Most cases call for medical treatment through surgery.

Other common causes of lump on penis

Any of the following may be responsible for a lump on the penis:

Pearly penile papules

Almost every man has pearly penile papules at the region where the penis shaft meets the glans (head). They are completely normal and not sexually transmitted. The papules take the color of skin, tend to fade on their own and do not produce pus.


Long lasting sexual activities, including masturbation, commonly lead to Lymphoceles. It is a condition that leads to formation of hard lump on penis shaft. Lymphoceles occurs when the lymphatic system under penis shaft skin gets blocked, in most cases after sex.  It is not a harmful condition and mostly resolves on its own soon enough.

Fordyce spots

Fordyce spots are common causes of bumps on inside of cheeks but can also occur on the penis shaft. They are white or yellowish in color. Under penis shaft skin, there are oil-secreting glands known as sebaceous glands. It is these glands that cause Fordyce cysts. They are very normal and with no need for specialized treatment.


Warts are sexually transmitted infections. They are very common and in most cases not harmless, unless infected. Warts are generally recognized from their tendency to take the appearance of a cauliflower.


All over the skin, there occur hundreds of hair follicles. Some, like on the skin of the penis shaft, are hard to see. Once in a while, the follicles can get inflamed, either individually or in clusters. Folliculitis results from the inflammation.

Lichen planus

If you notice small red lumps on the penis shaft that tend to form an itchy rash, you are likely dealing with lichen planus of the penis. This is an autoimmune body reaction. It is not infectious.


You can develop a sore on the penis shaft after sex or vigorous masturbation. A sore can also be caused by STDs such as syphilis and genital herpes. Sores on the penis are always painful and do require medical treatment.

Molluscum Contagiosum

This is a viral infection that leads to the formation of tiny clustered bumps on the skin. It can affect any part of the skin, including the penile shaft. Lumps due to this condition feel very firm to touch.


If you notice a little white lump under penis shaft, it could be caused by calcinosis. This will mostly happen if you have been engaging in activities that might injure the penile tissues. Calcinosis forms due to crystallization of calcium salts under the skin. It is not common however.

Penile cancer

Cases of penile cancer are rarely reported. When it occurs, a hard lump on penis shaft or head is likely to from. It is not always that a lump will develop. It could be a tiny spot that persists and causes other signs of malignancy, including breast lumps in men.

How to identify a hard cancer lump on penis

Cancer of the penis is extremely rare. All the same, cancer cells can form on any part of the body. It is therefore important to know how to identify a hard lump on the penis due to cancer.

The first sign involves changes on the skin of the penis. The glans or tip of the penis is mostly affected. The changes will soon be observed on the shaft and on the foreskin.

The affected skin region may thicken or become a bit scaly. Before long, it will change in color. This may be accompanied by a red rash.

Like all cancers, penile cancer is likely to lead to the formation of a hard lump on the penis. The lump can occur anywhere on the penis, but mostly on the tip or shaft. Cancerous lumps are usually firm and fixed to the tissue they are attached to. They also tend to gain mass indefinitely. In most cases, the lumps will not be painful at first.

Ulcers on the penis are likely to be among the signs of penile cancer that will manifest. The ulcers will take longer than normal to heal and are not as painful as expected of normal sores. Other signs that may occur include:

  • Discharge from under penis skin that has a foul odor
  • Brown growths on the penis shaft
  • General swelling of the penis

If the cancer spreads to the lymphatic system, patients will experience symptoms such as lump in throat when swallowing, hard painful lump in armpit and in the groin region. This is because of swollen lymph nodes.

Cancer cells keep spreading in the body. If not tamed, they will attack other body parts such as the lungs, stomach, brain or even the testicles. In fact, penile cancer may be accompanied by small lump on testicle, a common sign of testicular cancer.

Diagnosis for lump on penis

Diagnosis can be done at home or in a hospital by a doctor. At home, try comparing with online pictures for the different possible causes of penile lumps. Symptoms will guide you on where to start.

It is very important that you be certain about what is causing the lumps. If not, have your doctor perform a medical diagnosis. This can be done through a physical examination.

Signs of infection are checked through blood tests. They are important when experiencing red lumps or sores due to an STD.

Ultrasound may be used to reveal if a lump on penis is cancerous or due to benign tumors such as cysts and lipoma. If symptoms of cancer are to persist, it will be important to perform a biopsy. Biopsies are very accurate diagnostic tools for cancerous cells.

Diagnosis at home is only recommended for lumps that are not causing other suspicious symptoms. For example, If the lump is not painful, doesn’t prompt the lymph nodes in groin to swell, is not accompanied by fever, is not evolving and such, it can be left on its own. All the same, any doctor will advise you to have the diagnosis confirmed in a clinic or hospital.

Treatment for lump on shaft of penis

There are very many treatment options for penile lumps. The best option depends on the cause and how large the lump is.

Pearly penile papules are normal and do not require treatment. Lymphoceles resolves on its own soon enough. It will however help if you can stay away from sex until it resolves. Fordyce cysts rarely call for treatment. Warm compress treatment may help.

Warts can be treated at home with home remedies such as apple cider vinegar. They can also be treated with topical salicylic acid medications. Antiviral medications will be necessary to control recurrent flares.

Folliculitis will resolve on its own. Pain and inflammation can however be eased through warm compressing. Warm compress will also help with hard lump behind ear, in armpit or in groin area. Such lumps are commonly caused by swollen lymph nodes.  Some home remedies such as aloe Vera, tea tree oil, turmeric and honey can also help. If the condition is very itchy, you can try antihistamines.

Lichen planus is not infectious. It resolves on its own with time. If too extreme, it can be treated with immune modulators.

Sores due to physical injuries such as after sex will heal normally. The healing process can be fastened with home remedies or topical creams. Antibiotics will help avoid infection. Sores due to infections should be treated with antiviral medications or antibiotics.

Penile cancer should only be treated in a hospital. Chemotherapy and radiation are commonly considered for treatment. For a big lump caused by cancer of the penis, surgery will be the better option.