STDs Expert Forum
Can genital warts change colors from day to day?
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Can genital warts change colors from day to day?

Hi,

I have scoured the forums for the answer to this question so I truly hope its not a repeat!

Can a genital wart change COLORS from one day to the next? I have a flat, smooth circular bump on my outer labia. It doesn't look like a classic wart, but its been there for about 6 weeks so I am wondering more each day if it could possibly be an hpv wart. I've seen other answers by Dr. Handsfield (link: www.medhelp.org/forums/STD/messages/135.html ) assure that a genital wart could NOT change SIZE from one day to the next.  Could a genital wart go from pimple-red to pale pink in a day? And then do the same again a few weeks later? Or does that suggest its some other irritation?

Thank you very much.
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I would not expect warts to change colors, and therefore I suspect your flat lesion is not a wart.  There are only a couple ways a skin lesion can change color, at least on an hour by hour or day by day basis:  the blood flow may vary; or fine scales may develop on the surface and later be rubbed off, later to be replaced.  The apparent color (not the real color) may also vary with the lighting, angle of viewing, and so on.  If there are other ways this can happen I can't think of them; perhaps a dermatologist would have additional ideas.

In any case, warts do not have superficial blood vessels and do not develop scale.  However, several common skin conditions, including ones that often affect the genitals, have exactly these features and often can appear in a patch like you describe.  Two that come immediatly to mind are lichen planus, a kind of fungal infection; and psoriasis.  There are many others as well.

As a matter of policy, Dr. Hook and I do not examine posted photos of skin lesions.   We are not dermatologists and are not interested in looking at things we likely would not understand; and to our mind this also comes too close to practicing medicine from a distance, by tempting us to make a specific diagnosis -- which we never do.

You could ask the same question on the Dermagology forum, where Dr. Rockoff often is willing to look at photos.  Or just skip the middle man.  No matter what the lesion looks like, Dr. Rockoff undoubtedly will agree with my main advice:  see a health care provider about it, preferably a dermatologist.  But in the meantime, I doubt it's an HPV infection.  (When you get a final diagnosis, please return to this forum and report what you have.)

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
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