Fordyce’s Condition

With Fordyce’s Condition an individual will have small and elevated yellow growths that can appear in groups on the lips, in the mouth, the tongue, cheeks, female labia and the penis. Although rare, it may also be found on the lower lip. An overgrowth of the sebaceous glands will cause the small yellow spots. These sebaceous glands usually don’t have a hair follicle. This condition is very common in young adults and is not a danger to them. There are no systemic conditions related to Fordyce’s Condition.

From childhood to adults, Fordyce’s Condition increases. Men are more likely to develop the condition with almost 90 percent of adult men having the condition. The condition can appear either as a single lesion or in a symmetrical group of up to fifty. The spots are typically two to five mm in diameter. The growth of the lesions will not affect surrounding tissue. The name of the lesion is derived from John Addison Fordyce who is the first person to write about it in 1896. When they appear on the genitals they may cause embarrassment, but they cannot be sexually transmitted and they are harmless. The lesions have no function in the mouth and do not have any associated pathologic changes.

Causes of Fordyce’s Condition

While there seems to be a generic link, the cause for this condition is still unknown. The condition isn’t contagious and it isn’t caused by any viruses. At birth the papules are present but they don’t become prevalent until a child reaches puberty.

Diagnosis of the Condition

Visual inspection is used for a doctor to diagnose the condition. It is sometimes called ectopic sebaceous glands and it is normally indicated by the yellow color of the papules and the location of the outbreak. Because of the vermilion border, Fordyce’s Condition is sometimes confused with warts. If the lesions appear on the genitals a doctor will take a biopsy or a blood sample since there are some sexually transmitted diseases that can look like Fordyce’s Condition.

Treatment Recommendations for the Appearance of the Yellow Papules

Although no treatment is required, you can choose to apply Tretinoin gel or cream to the affected areas each day. This can reverse the effects of the condition over time and prevent it from getting any worse. To get the best results from Tretinoin you should use it along with alpha hydroxy acid agents which are normally used to treat acne.

You can use Accutane if the condition persists. When you stop treatment the condition will reappear unless you continue to use Tretinoin gel or cream afterwards. There are several side-effects with Accutane that you should be aware of such as chapped lips, joint and muscle pains, temporary hair thinning, dry skin, itching, intestinal problems, nosebleed, irritation of the eyes, rash, urinary problems, poor night vision, depression and headaches. Accutane should not be used by pregnant women and it can also cause damage to the liver. Before using Accutane it is best to consult your doctor.

Sometimes a doctor will prescribe TCA chemical peels, although as soon as treatment is stopped Fordyce’s Condition will return. The condition can also be removed with laser vaporization. Diathermy or liquid nitrogen freezing can also sometimes be used to remove the condition. You should never pick or scratch the spots.

There is no reason to panic since Fordyce’s Condition is both harmless and occurs in many adults. Treatment is only needed if the lesions become ugly or cause real embarrassment. Since they are painless they shouldn’t interfere with lovemaking. Sometimes young boys are likely to panic and thing they have done something wrong, but a doctor’s visit will often set them at ease. Treatment will be in order once the exact causes of these yellow spots is known. Sometimes the condition can be confused with other skin diseases.

Specific diet or vitamin supplements can’t be recommended since the cause of the condition is still unknown. Although good oral hygiene and a balanced diet of folic acid, Vitamins C, A, D, E, K and B Complex is always important. The immune system is built up with the help of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant. Any bacteria in the bloodstream and the mouth can be killed with the help of garlic and normal metabolism is helped along by folic acid. While proper skin care around the genital areas is important it isn’t related to the appearance of the condition. The condition normally clears up on its own, but in severe cases treatment may be needed.

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