[Question #5988] HPV Warts Length

19 months ago
Hello,

I was recently was told by my partner that she has tested positive for HPV with Genitle warts..  We had been dating just over a year..  Once she told me I have checked every square inch of my scrotum area and have noticed a few small bumps which I'm going to get checked..  My question is how long would a wart(s) stay on your scrotum area before going away if they have not been diagnosed?  Is it possible that it could be years before they go away or could they stay there forever? Do skin tags and warts look they same? I have had a skin tag (dermatologist diagnosed) on on scrotum for years but wondering if this could have been a wart the whole time? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
19 months ago
Welcome to the Forum and thanks for your question.  I happened to be on the site when it arrived so you are receiving a response a bit more quickly than is typical.  Before I address your specific questions, a few more general comments.  I'm going to presume that your partner has had other sexual partners in her life.  If so, the question of whether or not she got her warts from you (which I presume is part of the basis for your question) is not one that can be easily answered.  Within 6 months of beginning to have sex (even with just a single partner) over 60% of women will have HPV of who many of those infections will be manifest as warts.  Further, in many instances, it is difficult to determine how long warts have been present, once discovered. This is also partially because the infections are asymptomatic and can very easily be missed during routine examinations.   With that as background:

1. How long would a wart(s) stay on your scrotum area before going away if they have not been diagnosed?
The scrotum is an irregular surface with many visible irregularities.  Warts are easy to miss.  While most visible warts will go away without treatment over a period of 1-2 years, in some instances they can persist for years with little change.  

2.  Do skin tags and warts look they same?
Yes, they may certainly resemble one another and be mistaken for each other.  Given that you have had skin tags in the past, I might reverse your question and instead ask could what your partner noted by skin tags or some other, non-HPV skin condition.  On occasion, without realizing how upsetting a HPV diagnosis might be to a patient (and, in out opinion, a diagnosis of HPV should NOT be a concern in persons who have not had the HPV vaccine- nearly all HPV infections are a nuisance, nothing more), many health care providers may not differentiate warts from other skin lesions since most are amenable to the treatment for warts as well.

I hope that this information is helpful to you.  EWH
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19 months ago
Thank you for quick response back.. So it's possible that a wart could stay on your private area for for 10+ years? I'm concerned that my skin tag could have been a wart this whole time..  My skin tag is fleshy looking, shaded a bit brown, quite large and hangs below my scrotum area but the size hasn't changed for many years..  Could a wart have the same characteristics as this? 
18 months ago
Looking for your input regarding my last question form a couple weeks ago..  Is it possible for a wart to stay on your privates for over 10+ years? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
Warts can certainly persist for 10+ years.  The significance of this is unclear.  You have been examined by trained professionals who feels that your lesions are skin tags. The only way to have a better assessment is to have the lesion biopsied.  As already explained in your other question, even if this is a wart, the likelihood of meaningful consequence is miniscule.  EWH---