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HPV Diagnosis

Fourteen weeks ago, I experienced the death of a loved one. I had a physical reaction with vomiting and diarrhea for about two weeks. After this time I ended up with very bad constipation. Meanwhile, five weeks after this person passed I noticed two like growths near the rim of my anus behind my vagina.

I went to the doctor and asked her to give me an anal exam, look at the growths and give me a pap smear. She told me I had genital warts. She told me nothing else was wrong with my anus and sent me on my way - with a prescription for aldara. I started using the aldara that night (friday). A week later I was still having difficulties and went to another doctor. This doctor gave me a thorough exam. He found two large fissures at the entrance of my anus and prescribed a cream to help them heal, he also told me to increase fibre. I asked him to look at the warts - he told me there was no evidence whatsoever of warts. He then gave me thorough vaginal and anal exams. He could see hair folicles growing where I had get waxed (I get a Brazillian). He advised me to stop using the aldara immediately. He told me everything else looked healthy and normal.

I used the aldara as instructed. I saw my first doctor on Friday and used it that night - then Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. The growths got longer and thinner by the third application and were barely present by the fourth.

I know HPV can take a while to ferment in our bodies and that I can have a negative Pap and still have external warts. I’ve been blood tested for Herpes as well as tested for all other STDs, these tests are all negative. I have not had sex for over six months and had waited the appropriate time before testing.

This is my timeline.

Week one: Loved one passed away. Diarrhea and vomiting starts
Week three: Vomiting and Diarrhea stops, constipation starts
Week five: Still constipated, I notice growths near my anus
Week nine: I head to the doctor and am diagnosed with warts. I start using  Aldara using it Friday, Sunday, Tuesday.
Week ten: Use Aldara on Friday. On Saturday, I see the second doctor and am diagnosed with two large anal fissures and he sees no evidence of warts or any kind of abnormal growth on my vaginal/anal areas.

It is now four weeks later and the growths have not reappeared, my constipation is gone.

Could I have been misdiagnosed with warts?
Does Aldara work that fast?
Also - from a lifestyle perspective, how do I look at this now?
What do I say to future partners?

5 Responses
300980 tn?1194933000
I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one.  Please accept my condolences.

As for the warts, indeed Aldara can work fast.  It is tough for me, without examining you (or for that matter, even if I were to examine you) to know whether the lesions you had noticed, which have now resolved, were warts or not.  In addition, to be honest, it is immaterial.  If you had them, they are gone now and HPV infections are so common that virtually everyone will have infection at some time in their life.

As for whether you should tell your future partners that you might have had warts, the answer is no. the infection is so widespread and there is so little to be done about them, that there really is little to be gained by discussing an infection that you MIGHT have had in the past.  

If you are less than 26 years of age, you may want to discuss receipt of the HPV vaccine with your doctors.

In general, the topic of HPV and genital warts is a complex one.   For addition information on this most common of STDs, I would suggest search for other HPV- and wart-related Q&A on this site, as well seeking addition information on sites such as the American Social health Association web-site (disclosure, Dr. Handsfield and I are both on the Board of ASHA)..

Hope this helps.  EWH

Avatar universal
I just wanted to add a pre-emptive thanks for the response
Avatar universal
G'day Dr. Hook.

Thank you for your response. And for your condolences.

I have a couple more questions, I hope you do not mind...

I am 29, so too old for the vaccine.

I have probably had HPV before - at 27, being told this after an abnormal pap - however, the smear had just low risk changes so a further investigation was not made - I was monitored again last year and again this year via a smear and both times (smear at 28 and smear at 29) things look be back to normal...

I know most of us get HPV.

If these two little bumps I had recently were warts, then the HPV virus has been in my system for at least six months (I have had no sexual contact during the last six months) and the Aldara worked super fast - indeed - a mere four treatments. When should I assume I am all dormant and things are clear? They have been gone for a month now. I appreciate your advice on partners, especially since I am confused by what my two doctors said -  but do want to reduce possibility of passing this on... Condoms are a must, obviously, but I know they aren't 100%. I know I shouldn't have sex with a partner if they are present - but when do you rekon it will be safe for me to feel dormant?

Also - can you just clarify, just because a person gets exposed or indeed HAS the virus - that doesn't necessarily mean they will get symptoms... right?

And finally, in the future, if I sleep with a partner and he then gets warts - do I assume it was me that gave it to him, even considering I don't know for certain thats what they were?

I really do appreciate your advice. My first doctor told me she didn't need to see the growths again - just to use the cream until they were gone. She was dismissive when I asked questions about it all too - to the point of rolling her eyes. It was a pretty bad all round experience, this is a great service - which I greatly appreciate. I feel a bit confused - you are certainly helping me sort my brain out on this, so thank you.
300980 tn?1194933000
If they were warts, they could recur.  In fact, following treatment of any sort, recurrences occur in 10-30% of persons.  In general we state that persons should wait 3-6 months following clearance to feel confident that their treatment was effective in getting rid of their warts.  Six months is more conservative and probably safer.

Most HPV infections are actually asymptomatic, meaning thatthere are no abnormal sensations occurring becasue of them. In additon, most infections are also inapparent meaning that they are not noticed by the peole who have them.  That is part of the reason these infections are so very common.

Proving cause and effect (or, exposure and infection) is very, very difficult. That said, if you are in a mutually monogomous sexual relationship in the future and your partner gets warts, odds are that they came from you.  

I think your doctor was dismissive because many persons get concerned about HPV infection out of proportion to what is appropriate (I am not suggesting you are in this group).  For instance, I was recently asked, "Having recently been told I have HPV, is this a death sentence?" - no joke.   HPV infectrions are an untoward part of sex and sexuality for the moment.  They are also manageable.  I hope the comments above will be helpful to you. Use the web site I suggested.  No further questions please.  EWH

p.s.  you are not "too old" for the vaccine but you would have to pay for it yourself.  The cost is about $360 for the vaccine alone.  Many women over 26 have received it.  If you are about to re-enter the dating scene, you may wish to consider it.   EWH
Avatar universal
Hello Doctor,

Thanks again for your response. I have gone and had a look at the website you recommended, very informative.

Thank you.
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