The conditions that can occur on the skin are varied, but there are areas of great aesthetic sensitivity for men, such as the penis.

There is a lot of misinformation that exists in both genders, regarding certain unusual formations in this part of the male reproductive organ, specifically between the glans penis and the balanopreputial groove. One of them is the Tyson glands.

In the following article, we give you all the information about these glands, why they originate and their removal in case of risks.

What are Tyson’s glands?

Tyson ‘s glands, preputial glands or pearly papules ( hirsuties papillaris genitalis ), are modified and exocrine sebaceous glands that are located in the genitalia of mammals, in order to produce pheromones and smegma.

Note: The appearance of these sebaceous glands is not related to personal hygiene, it is not a sexually transmitted disease like the human papilloma virus (HPV), it does not represent a danger of contagion and it is not of carcinogenic origin, but it does consist of a cause for concern among men. (1)

They are located symmetrically on the sides of the balanopreputial groove, they occur in pairs on the sides of the frenulum or in the area where the prepuce meets the glans. Its growth is due to hypertrophy of the glands . A scientific article describes Tyson’s glands as benign tumors. (two)

Functions of Tyson’s glands

In the scientific literature there is no exact consensus on the functions of this gland, however, we describe the most mentioned:

1. Lubricate the penis

One of the functions of Tyson’s glands is to produce a sebaceous secretion during intercourse, which is intended to lubricate the penis. The appearance of this secretion is related to periods of male excitability, before and during intercourse.

2. Produce smegma

Smegma is the combination of accumulation of secretions from Tyson’s glands, with dead skin cells, hormones, secretions from the prostate and white blood cells, as well as bacteria. It appears under the foreskin and has a whitish consistency, with an unpleasant odor.

Note: In a scientific study, the common bacteria found in smegma were identified (3) , however it is important to clarify that smegma does not describe the individual’s state of hygiene , since it is formed as a result of the body’s detoxification process. .

3. Release pheromones

Pheromones are chemical substances secreted by living beings, in order to provoke specific behaviors in other individuals of the same species. In this sense, it has been linked to the Tyson glands in the production of male pheromones.

In man, this pheromone is secreted through the sweat glands and is called androsterone . Literature has described that Tyson’s glands also have this function of secreting this pheromone, however, there is no scientific evidence to support it.

How are Tyson’s glands removed?

There are various procedures for the removal of these glands, if the patient requires it. Here we mention some of them:

1. Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a technique, which is based on the application of extreme cold on the specific lesion, causing freezing and destruction of the gland. Normally liquid nitrogen (-196ºC) is used through a spray system.

Note: Nitrogen causes freezing and destruction of the gland without harming healthy tissue surrounding the lesion. The process is relatively fast.

2. Cauterization

Cauterization is a treatment used in the removal of Tyson’s glands. It is performed more quickly and all the papules can be removed in a single session of half an hour. This procedure is performed with the application of local anesthesia.

There are two cauterization procedures used; one of them is electrocautery which is a surgical procedure, where the surgeon uses electricity to heat the tissue and remove the papule.

The other procedure consists of the use of CO2 laser , where a carbon dioxide laser beam is directed that vaporizes the lesion without affecting the adjacent tissue. According to a scientific study, laser therapy is an effective and well-tolerated method. (4)

3. Surgery

The traditional method has been the use of a scalpel to remove Tyson’s glands or pearly papules. In this procedure, the doctor applies local anesthesia and then uses a scalpel to remove the glands.

Note: This treatment is already rarely used , and it also depends on the amount of papules to be removed.

Key Findings

  • The appearance of Tyson’s glands is due to a hypertrophy of itself.
  • The production of smegma is related to a detoxification process of the organism.
  • They do not represent a health problem, since they are not contagious , nor are they caused by any sexually transmitted disease such as HPV.
  • In man it causes problems on an aesthetic level.
  • There are several surgical treatments at the outpatient level to eliminate them if necessary.

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