I have these bumps on my penis. I’m freaking out about it. What’s going on?
Take some deep breaths. It’s completely normal to be a bit freaked out about this, but it’s probably not a big deal.
Several different things could be going on. They could be a completely normal part of your penis. They could be pimples or ingrown hairs. They could be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The only way to find out for sure is to make an appointment with a health care provider. They can tell you what’s going on and, if necessary, treat any infection you have.
Sometimes, people feel weird talking about sex and their private parts. That’s normal, but remember that your doctor has seen and heard it all—there’s no reason to feel embarrassed. They’ll probably ask about your sexual history or whether you’ve been sexually active. Answering those questions honestly will help them diagnose and treat you, so be sure to tell the truth. What you talk about with your doctor is confidential. If you’re worried that your parents will find out about something you’re discussing, tell your doctor.
If you do have an STI, remember that it doesn’t say anything about who you are as a person. You’ll probably have to tell people you’ve had sex with before about your diagnosis. That may seem scary, but remember that you’re doing the right thing by telling them. We talk about ways to have that conversation here, but you can also ask your doctor for pamphlets and advice.
If you’re 10-22 years old and live in NYC, you can get free, confidential health care at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. No judgment, no charge.
A version of this article was originally published on our Medium page in November, 2015.