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27 HPVfree until now

Completely terrified here. I first contracted HPV 27-28 years ago. Clearly a lot less was known about it at the time and I was young, uninformed and no internet existed for easy answers. My MD diagnosed me with HPV, I had an abnormal pap, then a colposcopy and finally, received cryotherapy. To my recollection I had external warts but they were raised/hard in the center more like pimples. That’s what I always thought warts would be like. After treatment, I went for regular paps every 6 months, had maybe one unusual result, but otherwise all others were normal. I’ve had 2 normal vaginal deliveries, no problems with outbreaks or babies. I’ve been married 14 years and only had sex with my husband for 18 years.

I stopped remembering I had ever been diagnosed with HPV. Until this month. I can’t even remember when but within a month or so ago I felt 2 bumps on my inner labia when I was showering. Having felt bumps before, freaked out, run to the GYN only to be told they were nothing or clogged sebaceous glands from sweating, I ignored them.

Stupid me.

Here’s a few things that happened that now just run together in my memory. In the past month, I decided to get my first ever partial binkini wax. I’m nearly certain that I felt the bumps before the waxing. But seriously my memory is foggy. As I continued to research other locations for waxing, I decided to take a look at my vagina and the bumps I remembered having. Well. I was pretty freaked out by them. But thought they 1) looked like skin tags (floppy and pendular in appearance) and 2) did not feel like my warts from 27 years ago.

Nevertheless, I went to a GYN the next day. It was not my regular GYN. I could not get an appt with my regular GYN until the following week. This new GYN declared them genital warts upon first sight. I was beside myself. How? How was this even possible? She treated them with TCA. And 1 day later they turned white. 2 days later they seem flatter, but I have little hope they will disappear quickly. They are still prettt big bumps.

So many questions I’m looking for guidance and maybe some are just silly:
1) WTF? 27 years. Could this actually be dormant? Or was I active on and off and passing back and forth with my husband and never realized it? Admittedly he has many skin tags on his nether regions which have been declared skin tags by doctors who have refused to remove them because it’s ‘cosmetic’. I really don’t even know how to put my thoughts into questions.
2) A big issue is - I never told him about my diagnosis. Frankly we started dating 9 years after my diagnosis. I thought I was in the clear. Currently I am not of the state of mind to disclose to him. And will just refrain from sex until I figure it out. I’ve searched for help on how to discuss this with him at this juncture so I’m not asking for help with this.
3) I have an appointment with my regular GYN in 2 days. I’m going to beg her to treat again. What’s the normal course of treatment in the US? Is it every week? Every two weeks? I’ve looked and cannot find consensus. Honestly I’d prefer her to take a more aggressive course of action like cryo, but who knows of my insurance will cover it.
4) I saw on another post that a Canadian treatment was a cocktail including salicylic acid. Why is it that in the US over the counter salicylic acid is not recommended as treatment for genital warts? I cannot find an answer to this question. The best I can deduce is the FDA has not approved it as treatment and the pharmaceutical companies don’t want such a cheap treatment to be available. On the other hand I wonder if it’s protection against misuse and potential overuse/burning of sensitive tissue by people rather than see MD. I’m seriously debating just going out and buying some Compound W to get rid of these buggers if my regular GYN declines my request.

Any feedback will be so greatly appreciated. I’m going out of my mind and cannot concentrate on even the simplest of tasks. I have 2 kids, full time job, husband, and it’s like I’ve completely withdrawn from normality. I feel like I’m just an observer in the ‘before’ part of a major change in my life - before I tell my husband.
Thanks!
2 Responses
1306047 tn?1333243591


Ok.  Help me out here.  This month, your GYN told you they were clogged sebaceous glands.  Then, also this past month, but after your GYN visit, your waxing research lead you to analyze anew these two bumps?  There are only two?  Are you saying they have changed since your GYN visit and what they look like now?  Have you researched clogged sebaceous glands?  Are there internet pics to compare?  Def there are skin tag pics to compare.  You're saying they look like skin tags now?  I've never been treated with TCA so I don't know what to expect.  I've only had mine electro cauterized or (mostly) frozen off with liquid nitrogen.  Both methods always very effective with immediate destruction of the wart.  

Before I go on, I'll just say that there is only one definitive way to know for sure if it's warts or not.  You must have them biopsied.  I've been to many nurses at planned parenthood, dermatologists, and doctors over the years, and I've found that, unless they happen to be purposefully knowledgeable about HPV, they may not be fully qualified to pronounce judgement.  Biopsy, biopsy, biopsy.  

So many questions I’m looking for guidance and maybe some are just silly:
1) WTF? 27 years. Could this actually be dormant? Or was I active on and off and passing back and forth with my husband and never realized it? Admittedly he has many skin tags on his nether regions which have been declared skin tags by doctors who have refused to remove them because it’s ‘cosmetic’. I really don’t even know how to put my thoughts into questions.

*  27 years is indeed a long time.  I don't really know what to tell you there.  Were you ping ponging warts back and forth?  Again, not sure.  The experts who used to answer in the Expert sections seemed to frown on this scenario if I remember correctly.  Perhaps try researching their old answers.  

2) A big issue is - I never told him about my diagnosis. Frankly we started dating 9 years after my diagnosis. I thought I was in the clear. Currently I am not of the state of mind to disclose to him. And will just refrain from sex until I figure it out. I’ve searched for help on how to discuss this with him at this juncture so I’m not asking for help with this.

*  You should be able to tell him without any freak out on his part especially once he understand the nature of the virus.  Nobody would tell a partner about HPV after 9 years!  I'd just tell him, let him have his initial reaction, then get down to business of discussing it rationally with the facts that are known today.  If your marriage is good and you're in no danger of splitting up, having HPV warts is really a non-issue.  

3) I have an appointment with my regular GYN in 2 days. I’m going to beg her to treat again. What’s the normal course of treatment in the US? Is it every week? Every two weeks? I’ve looked and cannot find consensus. Honestly I’d prefer her to take a more aggressive course of action like cryo, but who knows of my insurance will cover it.

*  My insurance is a $25 copay and there is no additional charge.  Just call your provider Monday and see.  Since there are many methods of treatment, the course of action depends on the method chosen.  Like you said, aggressive is better in my opinion, too, because then it's just over and done with no addition treatments needed (unless it is indeed more warts in which case they may break out again in the coming months.  Although your situation is unique if indeed you have warts again so nothing for sure can be declared).  Again, if you can still biopsy, DO IT!  

4) I saw on another post that a Canadian treatment was a cocktail including salicylic acid. Why is it that in the US over the counter salicylic acid is not recommended as treatment for genital warts? I cannot find an answer to this question. The best I can deduce is the FDA has not approved it as treatment and the pharmaceutical companies don’t want such a cheap treatment to be available. On the other hand I wonder if it’s protection against misuse and potential overuse/burning of sensitive tissue by people rather than see MD. I’m seriously debating just going out and buying some Compound W to get rid of these buggers if my regular GYN declines my request.

*  Go with an aggressive treatment that is one and done. That's my recommendation and what I've always done.  

Any feedback will be so greatly appreciated. I’m going out of my mind and cannot concentrate on even the simplest of tasks. I have 2 kids, full time job, husband, and it’s like I’ve completely withdrawn from normality. I feel like I’m just an observer in the ‘before’ part of a major change in my life - before I tell my husband.

*  Your biggest issue right now is your understandable drastic reaction to these new bumps.  I get it.  But, having had warts three times since 2010, I can tell you it's really not a big deal.  There is no health risk, and they do subside and go away.  If you're out in the dating world, they can throw a wrench in the moral persons process, but if married, it's really not an issue at all.  Understanding the stigma around HPV warts, a person's initial reaction is okay, but once they calm down and think about it with the facts, then a continued paranoid, scared, doomsday approach is unhelpful and not correlative with reality.  Therefore, in my opinion, it's best just to open up about it.  You do you, though!  
6 Comments
Thanks so much.
To clarify. The clogged glands and don’t worry about it’s were from years ago with a different gyn (different insurance plan) and those bumps did go away. Because over the years I’ve had *different* bumps, freaked out, run to gyn, been told I’m worrying about nothing, I started to brush off when I’d feel new bumps.

THIS time, I again brushed off, figures I’ll ask if they don’t go away over time. So this is why my memory is kinda cloudy about when I first noticed them.

I appreciate your response that the MD experts here were not of the opinion that a monogamous couple could pass them back and forth. Of course that just confuses me even more {sigh}.

Again - thank you for responding!

So yeah I noticed 2 bumps by touch, did not look. Ignored. This was 1-2 Months ago.

Decided to get a wax for first time 1 week ago. Afterwards, actually looked at the bumps. I promise you I looked at every photo I could find on the internet about skin tags, warts, even molluscum contagiosum worrying it may have come from the wax. I’m worried there was double dipping.

I tried to see my regular gyn but that appt has not happened yet. I saw a different gyn at a different practice. No MD until then had seen the bumps. The new GYN (actually a midwife) said without a doubt they were HPV. I grilled her - asked her why she thought that? Was it just because of my history of HPV that I’d given (I honestly debated admitting it to see if it would make a difference). She was adamant. No question in her mind and offered to bring in another clinician for second opinion. I was pressed for time and just said ok I believe you just want to know why that's your dx. She was very adamant that on visual inspection they were low risk GW. With TCA they are now white, less pendular, but still visually obvious. I can ‘feel’ that they are there like ‘vaginally feel’ - I’m constantly aware of their sensation when I sit, stand, walk. It’s overbearing.  So I’m just looking for how to get rid of them now.
Unless you or your husband cheated I would seriously doubt those are warts after 27 years. Read the old posts on here. One doc said in an old post that he doubted a woman had developed warts after 4 years.

The CDC website has some good info. And I googled some scientific publications that indicate the virus is undetectable in most after 2-3 years.

I would see your regular gyne for a second opinion before freaking out further.
I should add: my friend got diagnosed with warts here in Canada. Family GP. She got them frozen off.
But she didnt have sex with her bf in 4-5 years (he was cheating though). After reading posts here im skeptical she even had warts after that long. Her doc said its possible to have the virus and warts shows up years later. But even the CDC website and scientific publications say otherwise.

I personally think hpv/warts are misdiagnosed a lot and many docs have conflicting info.
Thank you. I need some common sense down to earth advice such as you provided. I’m seeing my regular gyn tomorrow. Keep telling myself - 24 more hours just chill....
Lucky I gotta wait 2 weeks to see mine! I was told by one doc skin tags and the other said i dunno, maybe warts.

If you google hpv clearance rates you will find some great papers where they tested swabs for hpv DNA with PCR. Not sure how well versed you are in biology/forensics but basically PCR detects and amplifies trace amounts of DNA. After 2-3 years nearly everyone had no/undetectable DNA.

Now maybe the virus is still in your system? Maybe its gone forever? Who knows but i would feel pretty confident if they couldnt detect the DNA levels anymore.
Avatar universal
How did it go today?
4 Comments
Would really appreciate if people would leave us something back... a reply of their development of sort... it’s either they have a devastating result or decided not to bother us anymore due to some good news.
The old posts are full of people asking if they could have hpv after x years. Lol Its more likely someone cheated if warts show up after a really long time. The CDC site says cervical cells can show it after a while but warts specifically are less common after a while.

My friends husband denied it constantly and said it was from his ex 10 years prior. He finally broke down and admitted to cheating with strippers, massage ladies, different girls every month.
I should add: a second friend told me she had them years ago too. She had an abnormal pap about 1 year after sex, then warts about 2 years after sex. She got treated and that was it.

So not sure why she developed warts so late? Or maybe she had an outbreak that went away and didnt notice until it re-occurred? But basically after the 2 year mark she was ok.
Well, reinfection or being re-exposed is highly likely, since there are so many strains out there... and it seems that people who had GW from before are more susceptible in contracting the same viral strain or other strains... ive read a research that, older men had lesser hpv viral load than young men... either older men are already exposed to developed anti bodies against a lot of  hpv strains than the younger male...
In my own understanding, its either you clear the virus or your immune system kept the virus in latent state...
If your immune system is compromised, thats a different story...
Another research is saying that natural immunity is actually weak and in fact you can get “reinfected” with the same strain if you get re-exposed to it..
Major risk factor here is actually having mutliple sexual partners after getting treated with GW...
But then again, a lot of this researches are actually sponsored by big pharma companies to promote vaccinations, scaring people is a major motivation.
In my opinion, they should be putting more money on treatment than vaccinations (which does not provide 100% protection)..
Although, vaccination against hpv 16 and 18’(cancer causing type) that most people have a hard time “clearing” is a big help...
Experts, doctors and researchers are still having contradicting understanding of this virus... some believe it stays in your body until your immune system is compromised, some believe that you can clear it...
The way i look at it now is... you can never be sure, so just move on with life and treat symptoms if they appear or if they come back.. same logic with flu, you can never rid of flu virus in your body, the virus will reactivate at some point and it will make you sick.. you treat the symptoms right away and get better...
As of to date, i dont think “experts” genuinely understand how the virus really works...
The most they can do is develope better vaccine and therapeutic treatment in the near future, understanding and developing a cure would be much much more helpful rather than trying to understand the virus and give false hopes to some people...
Reading through the internet and researches kinda give me an idea of to what “extent” do experts understand about the virus and its limitations and how people are trying to exploit the epidemic...
Overall, just stay healthy, either you clear the virus or keep the virus at bay, preventing or lessening future outbreaks if any.

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