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What Are Genital Skin Tags?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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Genital skin tags are abnormal growths of skin that extend from the genitals in a stick, pouch, or finger-like projection. Though these growths are benign, which means they are not cancerous, people are often alarmed to find them and dislike their appearance. Fortunately, however, skin tags are not contagious and can be treated by a healthcare professional, often with freezing techniques or minor surgery. While a person awaits treatment, the growths are unlikely to cause any serious issues, though they can sometimes become uncomfortable and even bleed.

In general, skin tags are small growths of skin that project from a stalk-like piece of tissue. They are usually benign and can appear on just about any patch of skin, but they are more likely to develop where the skin has a good deal of friction, like the genital area. These growths are no different from those that develop on any other part of the body, however, and are not contagious. Despite this fact, many people find them disturbing, no matter how tiny they are, and prefer to have them removed.

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When a woman gets genital skin tags, they often develop on the outer part of the vagina, which is referred to as the vulva. A woman may prove more prone to developing skin tags on her genitals and other parts of her body when she is pregnant, although they can appear at other times as well. Additionally, some women notice that their skin tags appear to change in relation to their menstrual periods. When this occurs, the growths often swell during the menstrual period and then return to normal after it's over.

Men can develop skin tags on the penile shaft. They are most likely to develop on men who are sexually active because of the friction against the penis during sex. Sometimes, children may develop on them on the penis in relation to circumcision, though they can also develop for no apparent reason.

Genital skin tags do not usually cause harm, and a person does not have to seek treatment. They can, however, catch on clothing, get irritated, or bleed in response to friction. In such a case, the affected person may experience discomfort.

There is no proven effective home remedy for skin tags. A patient will typically need to see a healthcare professional for help, and medical treatment options often include minor surgery or freezing the skin tag using liquid nitrogen. A healthcare professional can also burn off skin tags, but this may prove less attractive to those seeking treatment in the genital area.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 3

@anamur-- Are you sure that it's a skin tag? HPV genital warts can look a lot like skin tags. You should get it diagnosed first.

ysmina
Post 2

@anamur-- No, don't do that, that's a bad idea. The skin on the genitals is very sensitive and there are a lot of blood vessels there. You could cause bleeding and infection if you try to get rid of genital skin tags on your own.

I had a skin tag in the genital area as well and I had my doctor remove it. The doctor numbed the area, so I didn't feel anything. It was done in just a few minutes.

So don't take any risks and see your doctor about it.

serenesurface
Post 1

Can the removal methods used for skin tags on other parts of the body, also be used for skin tags in he genital area?

For example, I know that many people remove skin tags with the thread method-- tying a thread at the root of the skin tag so that it dries off. But is that safe to do for vaginal skin tags?

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