Pyogenic granulomas are noncancerous growths that may appear on the skin following skin injury or hormonal changes. Treatment may only be necessary if they bleed or are in sensitive areas.

Pyogenic granulomas, also known as granuloma pyogenicum, are vascular growths. This means they start in the blood vessels. They can appear on the skin or mucous membranes.

Pyogenic granulomas are typically individual, smooth bumps. If bleeding occurs, they may also become crusted over or rough.

Read on to learn about pyogenic granulomas, including their symptoms and causes, how doctors diagnose them, possible treatments, and more.

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A pyogenic granuloma starts as a small, red papule. The bump may appear purplish or reddish brown.

The small papule grows at variable rates but may be rapid. The growth period can last for weeks to months.

Eventually, the bump will stabilize in size. A fully formed pyogenic granuloma ranges from a few millimeters (mm) to several centimeters (cm) in size. When fully grown, it appears polyp-like, often with a crusty base.

The growth often appears alone. However, satellite growths may sometimes appear nearby or in other areas of the body.


The papule is often easy to break. This can cause bleeding from the growth. Bleeding is a common symptom of pyogenic granulomas.


In adults, pyogenic granulomas typically occur on the trunk and upper extremities. They may also occur on the neck or head.

Children are more likely to have pyogenic granulomas on their neck or head. Less commonly, they may develop on their trunk or extremities.

When a pyogenic granuloma develops in a mucous membrane, common areas include the:

  • lips
  • gums
  • tongue
  • membrane covering the eye
  • nasal passages
  • vagina
  • cervix

In pregnant people, the growths more commonly occur on the inner cheeks and gums.

Pyogenic granulomas often mimic other lesions, tumors, or infections. A person should consider contacting a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if a growth develops on their skin or mucous membrane areas.

Learn more about bumps on the skin.

The exact cause of pyogenic granulomas is unclear.

For some people, they may develop after a minor injury or damage to the skin. This may be because skin injury causes a rapid creation of capillaries and other tissues necessary to repair the damage.

Hormones may also play a role in the development of pyogenic granulomas. Estrogen and other sex hormones may lead to pyogenic granulomas during pregnancy.

Certain medications may also cause pyogenic granulomas to occur. Examples include:

  • antiretrovirals, which are HIV medications
  • systemic and topical retinoids
  • immunosuppressive agents, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) antagonists
  • antineoplastics

Other possible causes include:

To assist in reaching an accurate diagnosis, a doctor will usually perform a physical exam and ask questions about symptoms.

During the examination, they may look for certain clinical markings on the growths.

For some people, they may remove a sample from the lesions and send it to a lab. This can help confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible causes.

There is currently no standard treatment for pyogenic granulomas. Healthcare professionals typically recommend treatment if the growth causes bleeding. A person may wish to have a doctor remove it if it is in a sensitive location.

Treatment often consists of either complete removal or shaving the growth off. Complete removal has a lower rate of recurrence compared with shaving it off.

Healthcare professionals may recommend shaving the growth followed by laser treatment for growths in sensitive areas or for pyogenic granulomas in children.

Doctors may also recommend topical or intralesional therapies, though current research into their benefits is limited.

Pyogenic granuloma can increase the risk of certain conditions. Some common complications can include:

  • excessive bleeding from the growth
  • ulceration
  • cosmetic disfigurement
  • secondary infections

There is also a high chance of recurrence of lesions following treatment.

The following sections provide answers to some frequently asked questions about pyogenic granulomas.

What triggers pyogenic granuloma?

Although the exact cause of pyogenic granulomas is unclear, they may develop due to injury or trauma to the skin, side effects of certain medications, or hormone changes.

What happens if people do not treat pyogenic granulomas?

Some pyogenic granuloma growths do not require treatment. They may heal on their own. Those in sensitive areas or that cause issues, such as excessive bleeding, may require treatment to help stop symptoms and reduce the risk of complications, such as disfigurement and secondary infection.

What can be mistaken for a pyogenic granuloma?

Several conditions can mimic a pyogenic granuloma. Some conditions a doctor may need to rule out include acquired digital fibrokeratoma, hemangiomas, irritated melanocytic nevi, warts, spitz nevus, glomus tumor, angiolymphoid hyperplasia with eosinophilia, and granulation tissue from scratching or minor trauma.

Pyogenic granulomas are a growth starting in blood vessels. They cause lumps or growths to appear on the skin or mucous membranes.

Pyogenic granulomas can grow in size for several weeks to months until they reach their full size. A person often only has one growth that may bleed.

Treatment may not always be necessary. When doctors do recommend treatment, it can involve surgically removing the growth or shaving it off.