Skin tags , also called skin tags, are benign skin lesions that usually develop in skin folds such as the genitals, groin, neck, eyelids, and armpits. They are made up of loose collagen fibers (skin proteins) and sometimes contain blood vessels.
Skin tags are common and appear in 25-50% or more of adults. They are especially common in people over the age of 60 and can be passed down in families. Although they are relatively harmless, they can cause pain, itching, and irritation. Skin tags on the genitals can often be removed by a healthcare professional.
Symptoms of genital skin tags
Skin tags on the genitals usually do not cause symptoms, but if so, symptoms may include:
- Pain and irritation from rubbing against clothing.
- Pain from scratching
- Bleeding from the scratches
- Pain from twisting
If the skin tag is crooked, a painful blood clot can form underneath. Skin tags appear in your 20s and rarely increase after 70.
Skin tag vs wart
Distinguishing skin tags from warts can be quite simple.
- At first, it looks like a small smooth bump on the skin, but then it turns into an expanded piece of skin, embedded in the surface of the skin with a thin stem of skin.
- Fast growing, with an average size of 2 to 5 mm, but can grow up to several centimeters.
- They do not tend to change over time when they reach their maximum size.
- It starts with the color of the skin, but can change to a darker brown color.
- They are usually skin-colored, brown or pink.
- Sit against your skin
- Flat or uneven
Warts are not cancerous, but they can indicate an infection or a virus, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) . These warts can come and go over time, reappearing in other places. Sometimes the clumps form several clustered warts. Some people describe them as visually similar to cauliflower.
While researchers are not entirely sure what causes skin tags, they are more likely to occur where the skin folds. Since you have skin folds in the genital area, they can appear there.
They are not contagious or sexually transmitted. Certain conditions can increase your chances of developing skin tags, for example:
- Family history of skin tags
- Insulin resistance
- The pregnancy
- Acromegaly (a disorder of excess growth hormone)
- Diabetes mellitus type 2
- Rubbing the skin
- Aging and loss of elastic skin tissue.
- Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome
Any unusual phenomenon in the area of your genitals should be corrected by a doctor as soon as possible. Correct diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Skin tags usually grow in dry, folded areas around the vagina and penis, and where underwear or other clothing rubs against the skin.
Your healthcare provider will take a history, including a family history of skin tags, and will likely ask you questions about your sexual activity. They may ask if you would like to have an STI blood test. You will then be asked to undress to examine your skin.
Skin cancer or skin tag?
Some cancers can look like spots on the skin, but health professionals can usually tell if their growth is a patch on the skin of your genitals or not by their appearance.
Talk to your healthcare professional if you notice a mark on your skin:
- Solid and cannot be moved easily
- Change color or multicolor
- Contains soggy or bleeding areas
If your healthcare provider cannot determine if your skin growth is a mark on your skin, a biopsy may be ordered, which means that a small piece of skin will be removed and examined in a laboratory.
Skin tags on the genitals are harmless, but if you want to remove them due to their appearance or discomfort, you should leave it to a professional. Home treatment or removal of skin tags in the genital area is risky because the skin is very sensitive and can cause infection, pain, and scarring.
There are options for professional genital skin tag removal, including:
- Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze growth. A small blister may form at the site of nitrogen application, but scarring is rare.
- A scalpel or surgical scissors are used for removal . For this procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic that may burn or burn for a moment.
- Moxibustion uses an electrical current through a wire to burn the skin tag in the leg. The heat from the wire helps limit bleeding in this area.
All three options are outpatient procedures, which means you can have them done in the doctor's office and then leave. You may be able to remove multiple skin tags at once, but you should consult your doctor beforehand.
Does insurance cover skin tag removal?
Insurance rarely covers skin tag removal as it is considered a cosmetic problem rather than a health risk.
From a medical point of view, you don't need to worry about skin tags. If you decide to remove them, keep in mind that removal does not prevent skin tags from forming in the future, and you should professionally check any changes to your skin in the genital area.
Get the word of drug information
Any skin growth can be worrisome and genital skin growth can be embarrassing or concerning for possible infections. However, genital skin tags are relatively harmless and can be professionally removed. They are not contagious or sexually transmitted, but it is still worth checking for any changes in your genital area to be sure.