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HPV Warts, almost two years on?
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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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HPV Warts, almost two years on?

Hello Drs.-

Either or both of you might recall a question I posted several months ago regarding my struggles with persistent HPV warts.

I am a 29 year old, otherwise healthy male.  I first noticed strange bumps around the base of my penis and on my groin in March of 2009, and finally went to my university doctor in June of 2009.  He quickly diagnosed me with HPV warts, and proceeded to use bichlorocetic acid to burn them off.  He then told me that most people have "a few" treatments, and then the warts stop.  I have probably visited him 10-14 times now, with decreasing regularity.

August 2010 is the last time I had a treatment for what my doc diagnosed as a GW.  2-3 weeks ago though, I thought I had a new one on one of my testicles (first time for that for me), but my doc said it was not a wart (said it looked more like an oil gland.)  He treated it anyway, just to be on the safe side.  He used a magnifying device that shiend bright light where he was looking and said I was all clear everywhere else too.

Yesterday, I took a light and shined it on mysekf at different angles, and noticed two very small bumps where my groin meets my leg.  They don't look like other warts I've had: other warts had been clearly raised and easy to find, whereas these are just very slightly raised and are small (pin head size), and they are a bit shiny like much of the skin around them.

1) I know you can not diagnose from afar, but since I have been four months without a diagnosed wart and they look different, do they sound like warts to you?

2) If they are warts, does the fact that they are SO small and that they occur with lessening frequency mean that my body is killing it off?  I asked the same thing before, but I really am losing hope now.  It's been 18 months since I first began treatment and I'm beginning to fear I may never rid myself of this, especially since everything I read has said that most clear in less than two years.
Tags: HPV/warts, HPV
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239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome back to the forum.

Your previous thread ended with my questioning whether the remaining bumps were really warts, or scar tissue from previous wart treatment, or something else entirely, and obviously the scrotal lesion you found 3 weeks ago isn't a wart.  Genital warts are not very common in the groin; based on that plus the different appearance, most likely your newest finding is something other that warts.

However, you are correct that I cannot make any definite diagnosis.  The only way to sort this out for sure is to see your doctor once again.  But my guess is that your wart problem is over (and has been over for a long time, probably longer than 4 months, based on our discussion last May).  The scrotum bump 2-3 weeks ago clearly wasn't a wart, and my guess is that both that lesion and the current one are nothing abnormal at all, merely the result of your heightened anxiety and compulsive self examination, which is revealing normal anatomic variants that anybody would notice if they looked closely enough.

If you doctor confirms that these newest groin bumps are not warts, my advice is that you accept that the wart problem is gone, and then make a new year resolution to not examine your genitals again for at least 6 months.  Anything you don't notice in simple day to day genital activities -- going to the toilet, casual observation in the shower, etc -- isn't worth worrying about.

Regards--  HHH, MD
6 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your prompt response... which is certainly reassuring. I'm in the process of trying to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to take a look (rather than my univ doc), and I hope that my inspecting and subsequent worry is the result of something else.

That something else being that I've met someone that I am interested in.  We've had two physical encounters (oral), and before they happened I asked my doctor if he thought I was clear for sexual activity without risk for transmitting.  I promised myself that I wouldn't engage in anything until my doctor gave me the all clear.  He gave me the go ahead to pursue a sexual relationship with blessings, and the added (adamant) verification that at this point, considering me four (possibly more) months clear, there was no need to notify her or any other future partners.  

Like a bunch of other people on the forum, I just want to pursue a healthy, sexual relationship with someone with this HPV business in the rearview mirror without having to divulge.  I suppose that with the prospect looming, it's possible that I've gotten anxious...I do hope that you're right and that this problem is gone.

One last follow-up, what are the "recovery times" of wart treatments?  I know with BCA that the wound usually turns white, then heals up within about a week... do the other treatment options (if I do, in fact, need treatment from my derm) have differing recovery times or side effects?  My doc told me that laser removal or freezing can cause scarring and damage the "equipment" down there.  Is that true?
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Avatar_m_tn
Dr.-

I should also clarify that by saying I found the new possible growth "where my groin meets my leg", I mean the area above my testicles, like to the right of the base of my penis-- the area you cannot see unless you stretch the skin on the testicles down and stretch the pubic region up.  I have been treated for GW in the same spot on the left, but not very often at all on the right (maybe once or twice).   I'm not sure if that changes your insight at all, but I figured I should let you know in case that changes your opinion about the likelihood of its status as being (or not being) a potential wart.
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Avatar_m_tn
Dr. Handsfield-

My apologies for the thread bump, but I wonder if you could address my subsequent points above?  Normally I wouldn't press, but I hope to get a dermatologist appointment soon (in the next day or two, I am thinking of telling them about the huge psychological strain I'm feeling to get a faster appointment- I've been a complete depressed wreck the last few days), and I want to be able to go in equipped with the best information possible in the instance I will need more treatment. I'm really, really hoping I don't.

Thanks again.
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239123_tn?1267651214
This location also isn't typical, regardless of whether you previously had warts in more or less the same place on the other side.

Your dermatologist is a much better judge of the pros and cons of various options for wart treatment, their side effects and healing time, etc.  In general, though, none of them cause permanent scarring.
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Avatar_m_tn
Once again, I apologize for the thread bump, but rest assured that this will be my last series of questions related to this episode (I am making a conscious effort to try to accept that my wart problem is behind me and I realize that there are limits to number of posts allowed).

As an update, I went to my GP and a dermatologist about the lesions I found where my groin meets my leg.  You were correct.  My GP said that they were nothing and the dermatologist said that they were almost surely not warts.  This gave me a huge amount of relief.

Fast forward to two weeks ago- I found a single very small, barely raised bump about 1cm or 2cm to the right of my urethra opening.  I went to my university doctor who said that it wasn't a wart.  I accepted what he said and I felt better for about a week, but a week later I went back to him to check again and (being very supportive) he said again, it doesn't look like a wart (when the skin around it is stretched, the small bump stretches along with it and virtually disappears...no cauliflower appearance).  He seemed to think it may be a skin tag or irritation from masturbation or friction with underwear and that it could take months to resolve.  Still, I can't seem to shake my fear of it being a reccurence despite how often he says he deals with warts (apparently college kids get them quite a bit).

Questions:
1) I have absolutely never had a wart even near this location since I started getting them (March, 2009).  Would it be strange to have one crop up there now? Does my description of the lesion sound like a wart to you?

2) Is it normal for patients to have trouble moving on after an extended episode like I, and many on these forums, have had?
2a) Do you have any suggestions for how to move on and accept that the likelihood of being in a tiny minority that deals with warts for more than a year is small?  (I've started seeing a counselor about it.)

3) I was last treated for a diagnosed wart in mid-August.  How often do you see recurrences more than six months after the warts have gone without new lesions?

Thanks again for all your help, Doctor.  I'm doing my best to not check/convince myself that this problem is ongoing and that I may be nearing its end.
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239123_tn?1267651214
1) No, I doubt your new bump is a wart.

2) Warts sometimes keep recurreing despite treatment; i.e. yes, there can be trouble in getting rid of the problem.  However, this appears to not be your problem.  All evidence suggests you do not have genital warts.  And no, I don't know how to get you beyond your obsession with this problem.

3) It happens.  I cannot give a frequency.

That's all for this thread.  I definitely will have nothing more to say.
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