White bumps on scrotum

Originally Published: October 1, 1994 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: August 03, 2012
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Dear Alice,

I have these little white bumps on my scrotum. The last time I had sex was three months ago. I'm afraid they may be the result of a S.T.D. Please reply. Thank you.

Dear White Bumps,

Kudos for taking an active part in your health and trying to learn more about the “white bumps.” Bumps and lumps “down there” may be a completely harmless part of the general landscape of your penis and scrotum. They may also be symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI — synonymous with sexually transmitted disease). The best way to know is to see a health care provider, who would be able to provide you with more detailed information and a plan for dealing with them.

When it comes to bumps on the penis and scrotum, a number of possible causes exist, such as genital warts, pearly penile papules, and ingrown or inflamed hair follicles or sweat glands. Many of these may become more noticeable during times such as cold temperatures or during an erection. A whole range of additional possibilities may be found in the responses to White spots on penis and tight foreskin and Bumps/lumps on penis in the Sexual & Reproductive Health archive.

You seem worried that the white bumps may be a result of an STI that you may have contracted during the last time you had sex.  For future reference, using a condom, in most cases, helps protect against STI transmission, but there are some instances in which STI transmission does occur even with condom use. For more information, you may want to check out the responses to An explanation of condom failure rates, How to use a condom properly — avoid breakage or slippage, and My partner's condom keeps coming off inside me — why? in the Go Ask Alice! archives.

To help you gain a full understanding of your “white bumps” and some peace of mind, you may want to see a health care provider. If you are a student at Columbia, you can make an appointment to see a healthcare provider by either calling x4-2284 or by logging in to Open Communicator. If you are not at Columbia you can make an appointment with your primary care provider.  For other options in New York City you can visit any one of the free and confidential NYC STI testing centers. If you live outside of NYC, you can visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Sexually Transmitted Diseases website to find an STI testing location nearest to you.

Although you may be worried about the “white bumps,” keep in mind that knowing more about what they may be can help you feel a lot less anxious. All the best!