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I’ve been getting questions lately from people worried about lumps and bumps on and around their genitals (penis, vagina, and anal area). To put you all at ease I asked a good colleague, Dr Chris Bourne, a Staff Specialist at Sydney Sexual Health Centre, to answer all your questions. Over to Chris…

“Spots, marks and rashes on genitals are what I get asked about the most. Luckily, most are not STIs (Sexually Transmissible Infections) but are just skin irritations caused by sex or over washing.

So, you’ve found a lump on your genitals. Gone online and seen gross pictures that look nothing like what you have? Before you freak out or think you’ve nothing to worry about, see your Doctor.

Anything talked about with a Doctor is strictly confidential. So you don’t have to worry about anyone else finding out.

Genital warts can be mistaken for harmless things like moles, skin tags, or penile pearly papules (small bumps found around the edge of the head of the penis and also the entrance of the vagina). These things aren’t infections. They’re just normal parts of you. Remember, no genital skin is perfectly smooth or even in colour.

Facts about genital warts:

  • They’re lumpy, painless, uneven fleshy looking things caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
  • HPV is very common. More than 75% of guys and girls will have this type of infection at one point of their life.
  • Once a Doctor confirms that you really have genital warts, a home DIY treatment will be prescribed. It involves using a small cotton bud to dab a chemical solution to the lumps. The solution makes them tingle and fall off. They can also be frozen off.
  • Treatment isn’t a cure. The wart will disappear, but the HPV remains in the base layers of the skin. So warts may reappear again one day.
  • HPV can be spread to others during sex from skin to skin contact. Using a condom when having sex can reduce the risk of catching or spreading genital warts.
  • Condoms don’t cover all the areas where genital warts can be found. So getting regular STI check-ups is important too.

And, just to let you know, vaccinating against HPV is another way to protect against genital warts and HPV-related cancers. The HPV vaccine is being provided in schools for free. That’s right. FREE! Visit the Commonwealth HPV website for more info.

If you have any more questions about HPV, genital warts or other lumps and bumps, please drop me a line. Or, you can call Nurse Nettie. She’s available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday at 1800 451 624. It’s always confidential and free if you call from a landline.

 

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