What’s the Difference between Genital Warts And Skin Tags?
Dr. Angel Rivera
Benign skin growths can look quite similar, so it can be difficult to tell them apart. In fact, they may look virtually identical to the untrained eye, but there are some quick and easy ways to make this important distinction between genital warts and skin tags.
One way is to seek the opinion of a doctor, but that can be embarrassing. It’s likely to be something that you want to avoid until you know what is wrong. Do not despair, though, as you can find out the difference between skin tags and genital warts.
What does an accurate diagnosis mean regarding treatment? Well, getting rid of skin tags is simple with one of many proven over-the-counter (OTC) methods. If you have genital warts, however, you should seek advice from a doctor.
You could just have a wart, but it could also be something that needs medical attention, such as a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It’s not possible to clear that up on your own, so you’ll need a prescription and proper medical treatment from a doctor to remove the HPV virus from your body.
Someone who has never had a skin tag might assume that they have genital warts, or vice-versa. In this article, we will discuss the difference between the two types of skin growths. We’ll also explain the causes and how each condition can be removed.
Possible Causes of Genital Skin Tags
While the exact causes of genital skin tags are unknown, there are many different assumed causes including:
- Too much friction and skin-to-skin contact which is often the result of being overweight
- Hormonal changes that are common with pregnancy
- Those with Type 2 Diabetes and higher insulin levels
- Older people – typically above the age of sixty
- Genetics – a family history of skin tags
Understanding the Difference between a Skin Tag and Genital Wart
Even though they are both skin growths, there are a few major differences:
- A skin tag will grow out from the surface of the skin, attached to you by a narrow stalk.
- A genital wart will lay flat on the surface of the skin, or it can look like a raised bump.
- Genital warts are caused by a virus known as HPV (human papillomavirus) and are very contagious.
- Skin tags are not caused by HPV and are not contagious and rarely symptomatic.
What Is a Skin Tag?
Skin tags are a small piece of extra skin. These benign growths can appear almost anywhere on the body, and are usually flesh-colored, but can also be a bit darker. They are not cancerous, and you don’t need to go to a dermatologist to remove them, but it will make life easier.
Skin tags are rarely seen as a medical condition and are considered more cosmetic. They are typically painless and harmless skin growths and do not cause any adverse health effects.
Aggravating Factors for Genital Skin Tags
- The likely cause of skin tags is friction, which is inevitably going to occur during sexual intercourse. That’s why they commonly appear on the vagina and penis and can also grow on the anus. There are other reasons for anal skin tags, such as piles.
- Some people have found that genital skin tags appear after wearing tight underwear. The constant rubbing and friction of underwear can lead to genital skin tags.
- Piercings in the genital area are also believed to be a potential cause.
- They’re most common among overweight people, especially if you sweat a lot, because of the additional skin-related friction and skin-to-skin contact.
Removing Skin Tags on Genitals
Although skin tags aren’t that easy to prevent because we are still unsure of the exact causes, they’re much easier to remove than skin tags on the genitals. Here are some of the best treatments using skin tag removal products:
People experience high ratings of success when using the TagBand Device. Results are often seen within days, and this kit contains everything that you need for complete skin tag removal without having to purchase any items separately.
Although it is being advertised as a wart and mole removal product, it is also effective at safely removing skin tags. This herbal self-application kit guarantees results within twenty minutes of the initial applications and even says it is good for genital warts. However, you should see a doctor before self-treating this condition.
Tea tree essential oil can be applied to a skin tag using a cotton ball and it typically only takes a few drops of the oil for it to be an effective means of skin tag removalThe method of removal that’s right for you will depend on your pain tolerance, desire for fast results, and whether you want an all-natural remedy or an over-the-counter treatment.
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Try to avoid pulling at or twisting skin tags as this could lead to infection/further growth.
Signs of Genital Warts
Genital warts only grow on that specific part of the body, and they’re most common among young people who are aged 16 to 24. They can be different colors, such as brown or pink. You may only have one, or a small cluster.
The small bumps are often described as looking like a small cauliflower textured bump in the genital area, which is a visible way of distinguishing the two conditions. While skin tags are often smooth, genital warts appear to have more texture as described.
The Causes of Genital Warts
Genital warts are different to skin tags, and they need to be treated quickly. They can occur as a result of a sexually transmitted disease and be spread easily from person to person through sexual contact.
There are 30 variations of HPV that can affect the genital region, but 90% are caused by types 6 and 11. They’re the second most common type of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).
Women tend to find them on the walls of the vagina, or on the vulva and men usually get them on the top section of the penis.
Unlike skin tags, genital warts can be prevented by wearing condoms and practicing safe sex.
See a Doctor about Genital Wart Removal
If you have genital warts, there is a risk that you have an STD. If so, it will not go away on its own. They can be itchy, and if not treated, could become painful.
There is no over-the-counter treatment for an STD that works, so don’t use the wart creams that are typically used on fingers and hands.
Genital warts need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor as soon as possible. The likely method of removal or genital warts treatments the doctor will suggest is cryotherapy, which involves freezing off a genital wart.
Health insurance will usually cover any costs for the treatment of genital warts because it is a necessary medical procedure; unlike skin tags, which are considered to be just a cosmetic issue and are typically not cause for alarm.
In the meantime, avoid intercourse and oral sex until an accurate diagnosis has been made by your doctor. If you are infected, the condition must be cleared up, or else it will spread.
How are Skin Tags Mistaken for Genital Warts?
If you’ve never had warts or skin tags, then growths of skin in that area would be a bit unnerving. Genital warts are a disease and need to be treated. Skins tags can be left alone, but there’s a risk that they’ll become irritated or infected. They also don’t look particularly pleasant, and this could have implications for your self-confidence and personal relationships.
Since they can both grow either as one or in small clusters, it can be easy to make a misdiagnosis. Skin tags are not flat to the surface of the skin as they appear on the end of a stalk. Warts may look like a bump on the skin and have a cauliflower appearance.
Genital Wart Prevention
One of the most significant preventative measures you can take is discussing the HPV vaccine and your sexual health with your doctor. Most brands of this particular vaccine have been found to protect the recipient against some types of the virus that have been shown to cause the most cases of genital warts in patients.
When having sex, you should also be sure to always wear protection and never engage in any sexual activity if you or your partner have any visible warts.
Skin Tag Prevention
Since skin tags causes are still unknown, we can only assume that adopting a healthier diet losing some weight can help prevent future skin tags from forming. Losing weight will decrease the likelihood of skin folds and friction due to prolonged skin-to-skin contact.
If you are ever unsure of a visible bump or skin growth, or it becomes infected or bleeds, you should seek the advice of your doctor immediately to rule out any other serious medical conditions that require treatment.