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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Community
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Avatar universal

Skin Tags or Genital Warts

A year or so ago, I noticed a few growths in the fold of skin between my groin and shaft. I had recently gained some weight, so there is a lot more skin rubbing going on down there, so I simply assumed them to be skin tags. They extended up from the stalk, and could be moved around without any pain.

However, whenever I had became aroused, the skin would stretch enough so that two of them were right at the base of my penis, and thus every time I had sex with my girlfriend they would become irritated from the friction.  Once again, assuming they were simply skin tags, I cleaned and snipped them as close to the skin as I could. There were still slightly raised bumps, but no longer were they long enough to get irritated. They healed very quickly.

A few months ago, my girlfriend went to get a pap smear. she hadn't received one in several years, and lo' and behold, HPV. She herself did not have any warts, and still does not.  However, obviously if she has HPV, then I have HPV. She believes she contracted it from her ex-husband (I have not dated anyone previously who had HPV).

I still didn't really think much about it. I simply assumed they were skin tags, as I originally thought.

This is where I point out that I have severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder, as well as Panic Attack Disorder, both of which quickly turn into hypochondriasis without any provocation.

So I was looking at them in the mirror while grooming myself and for whatever reason they caught my attention, and upon further investigation I am now worried that they have been warts this entire time.

Few things to note.

As I said, these are literally in between the base of my penis and my groin, and the skin of my groin over hangs and does a lot of rubbing. This is why I initially believed them to be skin tags.

My girlfriend as not shown any signs of warts, not during her vaginal examination and pap smear nor on the visible area around her vagina. We use oral birth control and do not use condoms.

As I said, I have also cut these in the past when I thought they were simply skin tags. So they no longer appear as what I originally saw them as and instead of stalks they are now just slightly raised, rough bumps. They have not regrown or spread in any way.

Compared to my surrounding skin, they have more of a pinkish hue to them. They are smaller than an eraser.

I have been with my girlfriend for 3 years and I didn't show these growths until roughly a year ago (maybe a bit less). I am unaware of what strain of HPV she was diagnosed with, but I do know that it is one of the strains that increases her likely hood of contracting cervical cancer.
11 Responses
1067212 tn?1353964002
So your girlfriend has high risk HPV which is a different strain to the suspected HPV you may have - low risk HPV.

The description you give makes them sound like skin tags, and the fact you've been having unprotected sex with your girlfriend for so long and she hasn't developed any symptoms suggest that they are not warts. Warts are highly contagious so it'd be highly unlikely for her not to of got them. Of course she may be asymptomatic, but in my opinion, they aren't warts.

Go get yourself seen by a professional
Avatar universal
Thank you for your reply. I am going to make an appointment.

In a high-resolution picture I took, they appear more scaly than "cauliflower".
Avatar universal
Is there anywhere to post such a picture to get opinions?
1067212 tn?1353964002
You can upload some to your profile, but people on here don't like it when explicit photos are uploaded in a post. If you do take a pic make sure you cannot see any of the genitalia, just zoom in on the bit of skin you are worried about
Avatar universal
I have a pic that doesn't show anything x-rated, or even pg-13. But I thought it was against zee rules.
1067212 tn?1353964002
It's against the rules but people still do it. So it's up to you guys
Avatar universal
No sense now. They were warts. Blurg. Attempting not to be violently angry. I suppose its not that huge of a deal. At least they are small and I should be able to clear them up. And it's not going to kill me.
1067212 tn?1353964002
Just try to stay positive, obviously you will feel emotional, angry, whatever but with time it gets better and it does end up feeling like less of a big deal
Avatar universal
I was in such a hurry to get out of the office that I didn't really think about questions that I should have asked. So here i present them.


#1: I am already infected, obviously. But can I transfer warts from one part of my body to another part of the body? For example, if I scratch the area without thinking then happen to scratch somewhere else in my groin area, will that spread them?  I have severe anxiety problems, and am on a lot of medication for those. Part of the problem is I am really bad about picking things on my skin. Most of the time I don't even realize it. I really don't want to end up covered in these things when I only have a few right now.

Or like, when I take a shower. I was my front area with the sponge and then clean my backside. Could I spread them there just by washing? Ugh.

#2: I am using Aldara. Does anyone have any experience using it? How quickly should I notice any change? I'm terribly impatient (again, anxiety thing). It literally is driving me crazy as I sit here. I wish I could just go get them all cut off right now. I hate having these things on me now that I know what they are.  I know I have 16 weeks worth of medication, and in theory it could take every bit of it to get rid of them. I guess I just want to know that I'm going to notice at least SOME change in the short term.

That's it for now. I'm just having a real hard time with this. I know it's not the end of the world. But I have severe bipolar disorder and several diagnosed anxiety disorders and right now I am not handling the situation very well. I really appreciate the help, though. Thank you.
1067212 tn?1353964002
1) If you have genital warts, they will stay in the genital area. However the whole area that is infected is thought to be the area which would be covered by boxer shorts, so don't be suprised if you discover a new wart in a different place in your genitals. It'd be unlikely to spread them via touching a wart and then scratching an area on your groin. Also you cannot transmit the virus to another part of your body, say fingers for example. Warts found on other parts of the body are usually common warts which are entirely different from genital warts. You won't spread them via washing.

2) Aldara isn't for everyone. The truth is we all react differently to medications, what works for me, won't necesarily work for you. People usually start to notice a change after around 6 weeks (it should say the precise time frame in the instructions) and I know 6 weeks sounds a long time, but when I used aldara it literally took me about 2 weeks (Which I didn't think was possible) it also took my partner around that time too. However remember what I said about bodies reacting differently.

You are bound to feel the way you do. I was borderline distraught when I was diagnosed, but now it is such a casual thing in my life. That is how it will be for you too. 90 percent of people clear of the virus in 6-24 months - so this isn't a life sentence like HIV. Also, one bit of advise is please try to stay calm. You are naturally an anxiouse person but stress is just about the worst thing to be right now, as stress aggrivates HPV by reducing immune system defence. The immune system is incredibly important in the clearing of HPV so you really have to be keeping healthy and just as importantly - happy. Don't let this control your life. Carry on living and become stronger for it.
Avatar universal
I've had it for three years (that is when I began dating the woman I contracted it from) and I did not get the warts until six-eight months ago.

Thanks for your help. You've provided some great information and I am trying to just relax about the whole thing, per your advice.
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