[Question #1485] Genital warts

45 months ago
Dr. Please help.  I have been married over 15 years to my wife and she has always had normal paps/tests. Even as recent as early this year. We are both over 40 now.  About 6 years ago, while going through tough times,  I know we both had some outside sexual contact. We've both been in good health.  Just recently,  I've been going through a great deal of stress (new job position,  health issues,  etc..) Actually been having several panic attacks and depression lately on top of it. I haven't been exercising or eating that great either.  Anyway,  this past week I've found what looks to be 2 genital warts on my scrotum. One on the skin between the base of the shaft and scrotum and the other is the crease where the scrotum starts. Both are toward the right side. Neither one of us has ever had any before.  Could this be an hpv infection possibly from 6 years ago from one of us? Or could this go further back even? I read that the virus could lay dormant for quite some time and also depends on your immune system. Could this virus be activated from the all the stress I've been going through lately? Does this mean that I acquired it? What does this mean for her? Will this go away on its own? This has definitely made me panic even more. please help!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
45 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

The first thing is to stop panicking and see a doctor, ideally a dermatologist. There are several causes of skin bumps that can look like warts to the untrained eye. And the locations you describe are not particularly common sites for genital warts; the penis is more common. It's a good bet you have something else.

And if you have warts, there is no cause for panic. Warts aren't pleasant, but they are a generally a mild inconvenience, not an important health threat. The HPV types that cause warts are different than the ones that cause cancer. Sometimes warts can appear years after acquiring HPV -- if you indeed have warts, that's what probably happened here. When it does, it almost never indicates a seriously impaired immune system. And what does it mean for your wife? Probably nothing. If you have genital HPV, then she has also been infected all these years and probably her immune system has controlled it and she'll never notice anything wrong. In the slight chance she is found to have warts someday, they can be treated to resolve them, just as yours can.

Sotry to stop worrying. See a doctor to confirm what you do or don't have, then feel free to return and let me know how it turns out. But stay mello int he meantime. Even if you have genital warts, this isn't a big deal.

I hope these comments have helped. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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45 months ago

Thank you Dr, Handsfield for your response. It has helped and I really appreciate it. I'm very scared and I know that I'm my own worst enemy with this stuff.

So after looking more closely at it, the one spot looks to be more on the base of the shaft of the penis on the right side (erect). The other is still more in the crease where the penis and scrotum start. They are between 1.5 to 2cm away from each other. They are both in areas where I have some hair.  Anyway, 2 days ago, I started applying Apple Cider Vinegar to the spots a few times a day. It's been 48 hours now of doing this. The one spot that's in the crease last night developed what looked to be some pus (like a pimple) for a bit. I placed more ACV on it and the pus looking top was gone and then looked to have a hole in the center of  it. Today it just looks like a pinkish spot with a center dot in it (from the hole). It is definitely harder to see than my other spot. The other spot (base shaft) is developing a dark center now like a scab after the ACV. I don't know if that means anything to you.  Both of these spots started out more as bumps but seem to have become flatter. They are still slightly raised. Also, I do see a small pink bump now further in the middle of the penis also on the right side now, but it is smaller.  Not sure if this is related. All these spots are on the right side however. I'm so stressed out and embarrassed over this.

I was looking more things up and came across something called Molluscum Contagiosum.  Could this be a possibility? I'm just trying to figure out what this is and how I have this. I guess what I'm wondering is with applying ACV for 48 hours, does one (MC) react faster or different than the other (GW)? Does any of my descriptions help on what this could be?

One last question, I'm not sure if this is any relation but for the last year or so, my skin down there has been more sticky. Especially after a shower. I have to thoroughly dry off.  I've been having to put powder down and around there or it gets very uncomfortable.  Any idea if this is a real concern?

Anyway, I'm sorry for being such a pain. I'm just really paranoid and terrified about all this. I really appreciate your time. Thank you very much for your help again Dr. Handsfield.

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
45 months ago
You're not being a "pain" at all. However, self treatment with acetic acid was mistake. Acetic acid won't cure warts, despite what you seem to think you have learned, perhaps on line. And the altered appearance from treatment will make it more dificult for a physician to accurately diagnose it.

Warts don't "flatten out" when the skin is stretched. My guess is you are overly focused on normal skin variations. Molluscum contagiosum lesions also won't flatten, and MC is very rare beyond age 20 or thereabouts. (And for what it's worth, it would imply recent sexual acquisition, meaning you or your wife would have had to have other partners in the past couple of months.)

Your preceptions of "sticky" skin are unrelated and not likely abnormal -- just anxiety again affecting your perceptions.

It is irrational to be "terrified" about this. What are you scared about? Whatever you have, it's nothing dangerous, and probably has nothing to do with your past sexual exposures. Stop treating yourself with acetic acid or anything else and see a doctor. I'll be happy to comment further after you have seen a doctor and have a diagnosis to report. But I won't have more to say unless and until you do that.

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