Fordyce Spots

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Images of Fordyce Spots

Overview

Fordyce spots are small yellow-pink bumps that may appear on the lips, gums, vulva, and penis that are caused by overgrowth of the normal oil glands. They are entirely normal, are not contagious, and are not related to any cancers. Fordyce spots are neither itchy nor painful. Popping or squeezing the bumps will not cause them to go away and will only irritate them. Although Fordyce spots can be found on the genitals, they are not considered a sexually transmitted disease.

Who's at risk?

Fordyce spots can appear at any point in life, but they usually become noticeable after the teenage years and are most commonly found in elderly people.

Signs and Symptoms

  • The most common location for Fordyce spots is at the border of the lips, especially near the corners of the mouth. Other locations include the back portions of the inner cheeks and inside the mouth, including the tonsils. The head of the penis and inner portion of the foreskin may be affected as well.
  • Multiple (usually less than 10) 1–2 mm, painless, yellowish spots are seen.

Self-Care Guidelines

None necessary.

When to Seek Medical Care

Fordyce spots are normal and noncancerous (benign), but seek medical evaluation if they become itchy or irritated.

If you are worried about any abnormal bumps, it is important to show them to your doctor so you can be reassured and perhaps treated.

Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe

If irritation is noted, a mild topical steroid may be prescribed for relief, but it should be used with caution. While there is no certain treatment for Fordyce sports, in some cases, treatment with a laser can make them less noticeable.

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.1656. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp.672, 786, 805. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.