Inspect Your Package
How to Inspect Yourself for Genital Warts
Are you getting genital wart treatment? How do you know you are treating them all? Are you sexually active and think you may have been exposed? How do you know unless you have given yourself a thorough self-examination?
Many genital warts are hidden from view. If you can’t find them all then you can’t treat them all! This article will teach you how to do a simple 5-minute self-examination so you and your partner can have peace of mind.
We will also teach you about your genital wart treatment options including a new highly effective genital wart treatment with a 95% cure rate in 1-2 weeks.
My name is Steven Leon MS, PA-C. I am a dermatology physician assistant who has been treating genital warts for 15 years. Recently I co-founded a telemedicine company called Fixwarts.com.
When we opened our virtual doors, I expected to see some cases of male genital warts but didn’t expect a huge number of cases that appeared! Many had never been treated before and many had failed multiple treatments.
Self Examination Works For our Patients
We give detailed instructions and encouraged our patients to give themselves a thorough self-examination of genital warts. Many uncovered lesions that they didn’t’ know they had!
These self-examination skills are also key to spotting new genital warts so they can be treated as soon as they arise. These simple self-examination skills are key to both successful wart treatment and early detection of new genital warts.
HPV Testing and Treatment Focuses on Women, not Men
Genital warts in men transfer to women, but only women get regular exams to detect and treat HPV. The fact than men have no screening for HPV doesn’t make much sense when men are the source of genital warts (HPV) that spread to women (of course, it is a cycle with men getting HPV from sex as well).
Men get no regular screenings for HPV, not at their yearly physical, and not at the dermatologist. HPV associated penile cancer is very low; therefore, the medical rationale is that men don’t need regular HPV screening.
HPV caused cervical cancer rates are much higher than penile cancer; therefore, women get regular PAP smears to detect it early. We are only screening for 1/2 of the transmission cycle, women! This is flawed medical logic.
Shocker: Men Don’t Like Going to the Doctor
When men see their warts, we expect them to go to the doctor to have them treated. There are two problems with that approach.
- Genital warts can be hard to see. Men can spread genital wart without even knowing it. Warts hide in areas that are difficult to see, like the pubic hair and the front of the scrotum.
- Men hate going to the doctor, especially for embarrassing things. Men are masters of many things, including procrastination. The proof of that is that the majority of men we see at Fixwarts.com have not had their warts treated before and feel more comfortable with an online rather than in-person consultation.
Penis Warts are not the only type of Male Genital Warts
Condoms don’t completely stop the spread of genital warts because not all genital warts are on the penis. There still may be genital warts present in places like your scrotum, the base of the penis and groin. These are all the places that come in contact during sex.
You may be thinking, “Well, I don’t have genital warts,” and if you are a virgin, then I believe you. But for everyone else, how do you know unless you’ve looked? I mean really looked.
Part of the reason why genital warts are so widespread is that they are hard to see. They hide in the pubic hair, crevices or folds, or under the foreskin. A casual inspection in the mirror will often miss them.
Examine Yourself and Get Peace of Mind
If you are feeling a little concerned right now, the good news is that you can quickly and easily do a self-examination and have some peace of mind. Remember, what’s on your junk is your responsibility! Genital warts can do real damage to yourself and your partner.
It’s time to man up and look down to inspect yourself for genital warts. In this article, I will explain how.
Genital Warts in Men are Much More Common than You Think!
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation reports, at least 75% of the population of reproductive-age has been exposed to sexually transmitted HPV. This was proven by antibody tests.
Right now, 15% of Americans ages 15 to 49 are estimated to be infected. You are at higher risk the more sex partners you’ve had. Other risk factors include a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), early first intercourse, a weakened immune system, and the presence of HIV.
Even if you have been in a monogamous relationship for years, there is still a chance that genital warts can pop up. For HPV, incubation generally lasts roughly one to eight months, although much longer periods, up to several years or even decades, have been observed.
A previous relationship could have exposed you to genital warts years ago. You can transfer a genital wart to your partner that has been hiding in your pubic hair for months or years.
Who Gave it to Who? It’s Not Always Easy to Tell
Conversely, your partner may have hidden genital warts either externally or in the vaginal canal or anus, not know it, and spread them to you. For men, there are no routine exams for HPV. You have to examine yourself. The good news is that in less than five minutes, you can inspect your package for genital warts. Here is how to do it.
How to Inspect your Package: Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Know what you are looking for
Follow this link to see what typical male genital warts commonly look like https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441884/figure/article-22202.image.f1/
Step 2: Get naked!
If you are having your partner help you, have them keep their clothes on. Let’s stay focused here!
Step 3: Initial package inspection
Stand in front of a mirror and look at your penis, your scrotum, and your groin. These are the places that come in contact during sex. Retract your foreskin if you were not circumcised.
It’s common for genital warts to hide under the foreskin. Uncircumcised men, a history of HPV, and smoking are all risk factors for penile cancer. Luckily it is very rare.
Step 4: Take a closer look
With a mirror, or your cell phone camera or video (make sure to delete afterward), take a close look and make sure to move things around. Warts hide in the pubic hair, to do a good exam, you may have to do some manscaping.
Use hair clippers or the long hair trimmer of your electric razor. Use scissors at your own risk. Avoid using a razor as it can cut the skin and spread warts. Clipping the hair short will give you a good look.
This takes 5 minutes and will give you and your partner peace of mind.
What To Do If You Find Warts? What Else Could You Find?
Genital warts are the most common thing to find, but there are a few other things you may encounter during your self-examination.
Molluscum Contagiosum: This is the second most common diagnosis behind genital warts. Another type of virus causes these dome-shaped small bumps, not HPV. They have no cancerous potential and are simply a nuisance.
This viral outbreak can last about ten months before disappearing on its own. Most people want them treated. The treatments for molluscum are similar to those for genital warts.
Seborrheic Keratosis: These tan to dark lesions look very similar to genital warts but have a harder crustier appearance and feel. The groin and pubic areas are common areas they can form. They are less common on the scrotum and penis (where genital warts are more common by far).
They are hereditary and start to grow after the age of thirty slowly. They are much more likely to be a single lesion, while with genital warts, you typically have more than one. Removing these is optional as they cannot turn cancerous.
Pearly Penile Papules: Yes, that’s actually what they’re called. On the coronal ring (the raised edge of the head of the penis), some people naturally have a ring of visible bumps that are oil glands. Oil glands usually are not visible because they are below the surface, but in some men, they are. They are often misdiagnosed as genital warts. They are normal for the minority of people that have them.
Lichen Simplex Chronicus: If you have a raised, thickened patch of skin on your genitals that is the itchiest thing you have ever had and you have been scratching it for months or years, I have good news. With proper treatment, this can be cured with topical steroids. It is a chronic form of eczema that gets so itchy that nobody can stop scratching it.
I Think I Found Genital Warts. What are my Genital Wart Treatment Options?
Now you need to get effective genital warts treatment and tell your partner(s). I’m not talking about applying a home remedy for genital warts like apple cider vinegar and definitely not duct tape (ouch) or sending a cryptic text.
You may be worried that you have infected your partner, but maybe your partner has undetected genital warts in their vagina or anus. They may have given it to you without knowing it? I know it can hurt your brain just to think about the ways genital warts can spread!
The best policy here is that you tell your sexual partners so that everyone can be examined and treated if necessary.
Online consultation for genital wart treatment is now an option! This is an ideal way for patients who are embarrassed and would prefer to get treatment online and treat themselves in the privacy of their own homes.
Whatever your choice, there is no reason to put it off! Let’s examine how to get rid of genital warts.
Genital Wart Treatment
Yes, there some treatments that work, and there are also many that don’t. Here is the breakdown:
Highly Effective Treatments
Compounded Prescription medication with salicylic acid/5-Fluorouracil: Regular prescription medication takes weeks or months to “work.” They irritate the skin and have low cure rates. This is why the wart wizards at one of America’s top compounding pharmacies created a topical wart treatment that really does work!
We have seen a 95% cure rate in one week or less for male genital warts. It is the best choice for most patients. It is also well-tolerated and affordable. Most doctors don’t know about this treatment, and we are the only experts in its use and have published peer-reviewed articles to prove it. You can learn more about this medication by clicking here.
Cautery: This is when a medical provider uses an electric cautery or heat cautery to completely and precisely destroy the wart. It requires a numbing injection. Yes, the shots hurt. If your medical provider is nice, they will use topical numbing medication first, which greatly reduces the pain of the shot. Lasers fall into this category as well.
Pro’s: Genial wart removal in one treatment.
Con’s: Requires in-person visits and injections. It can be expensive even with insurance.Mildly Effective
Freezing: Whether you are freezing genital warts at home or at the doctor’s office and is not very effective. Freezing looks like it is doing something. The wart turns white, it hurts, it blisters or at least turns red, but most of the time it is not cured.
This is because they are not completely destroyed. Warts are like tumors. If they are not completely destroyed they grow right back. If they have frozen harder, the chances of killing the entire wart go up, but so does the recovery pain and risk of scarring.
Insurance usually covers it. Most medical providers know how to do it, but if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t have it done again. If it doesn’t hurt, they are likely not doing it hard enough to destroy the entire wart. OTC products are sometimes successful but are very weak. If you have a few small warts they may be worth a try.
Not Very Effective with Long Treatment Times
Topical medications: Aldara (Imiquimod), Veregen, Podofilox: While these medications can work for some, but few people are happy with the experience or the results. You typically have to use them for at least a month to three months, and they can be very irritating to sensitive genital skin. If you are very consistent and are in no rush to get rid of your warts, these could be worth a try.
Inspect yourself, get treated, and let your partner(s) know. Like most things you have been putting off, you will feel better once you have done it, and it won’t be as bad as you think!
Steven Leon MS, PA-C, is the founder of FixWarts.com is a dermatology physician assistant with 15 years of experience and 17 nationally published articles. He Currently practices at Dermatology and Laser Center of Simi Valley.
The fine print! This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. It’s always best to talk to a doctor.