So, you had a sexual encounter in which a.) you weren’t as safe as you should have been or b.) shit just happens and now you are wondering if these bumps on your skin are something a little bit more serious than just bumps.
Now while this may sound dire, not all HPV strains show symptoms, and while there are actually more than 100 subtypes of HPV only about 30 of them specifically affect the genitals and show up through genital warts.
I’m sure your head is spinning, you’re feeling nervous, and are a little scared to hear the truth of what you may have, but here’s the thing: genital warts are one of the most common STDs out there these days.
In fact, it has been stated that 50% of the sexually active population will have come into contact with HPV, within their lifetime.
So what should you be looking for in genital warts symptoms? Well, keep reading because we are about to break it all down for you.
Genital Warts Symptoms
When one has contracted genital warts they usually notice small pink, white, and sometimes grey lumps, or even larger cauliflower-shaped lumps on or around their genital area.
And while it can vary case by case, usually these warts appear on or around the penis, scrotum, anus, or even thighs on men. As for women, well, they usually notice lumps around their vulva, inside their vagina, or even on their cervix which may cause some bleeding or, very rarely, an off-coloured vaginal discharge.
You may expect to see clusters of warts, but sometimes they can appear singly, making them hard to spot and confusing some sufferers as they are expecting a big outbreak. However, in severe cases it is possible for genital warts to spread to your anus area, even if you have never had anal sex.
Luckily, genital warts are usually painless, but they can get a little itchy in certain cases.
It should also be mentioned that occasionally some people can confuse other skin problems with genital warts. This can scare a lot of people because they mistake perfectly normal, and non-infectious, skin lumps and bumps for genital warts symptoms.
So what lumps and bumps are NOT caused by genital warts?
Skin Conditions That May Be Mistaken For Genital Warts
Fortunately, not all skin lumps and bumps are as severe as genital warts, or even require genital warts treatments, and some may not even be contagious. So how do you tell them apart? Well, it is usually best to check with your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic, as they will be able to tell you with absolute certainty what skin condition you have, but common mistakes are usually centered around:
Pearly penile papules
These are small white, or skin coloured bumps that can appear in a ring around the edge of the head of the penis. And while they usually occur in men, they can be spotted, more rarely, on women around their vulva.
These spots are usually bright red or purple in colour and can look a little like blood blisters.
Also commonly referred to as Fordyce spots, these little bumps are usually hard and have a white, yellowish, or even skin tone colour to them and can be found all over the skin of the penis and scrotum, or the vulva in women, and even on areas such as our lips.
And while they may sound scary, these glands actually produce a substance called sebum which helps to keep your skin healthy.
Pimples and spots
It’s actually quite common for pimples or skin spots to show up around our genital area, just like they do on our face. And while they may feel sore or look inflamed, they are relatively harmless.
What Should I Do About My Genital Warts Symptoms?
If you have read through our list, and still think you may have genital warts then it is probably best you go see a doctor or book an appointment at a sexual health clinic so you can find out for sure if you have contracted genital warts.
Whichever way you decide to deal with your situation, just make sure you take action so you can start adjusting your lifestyle to living and dealing with genital warts.
Now we want to hear from you. Do you think you might have genital warts, or have you been living with them for some time now? Share your thoughts, experiences, questions, or even advice in the comment section below. If discretion is important to you, you don’t have to list your name and no one can see your email address. It is important for us to share our experiences and our feelings with each other as we each try to navigate this new stage in our lives. So don’t be shy, speak up!