Skin tags are harmless growths that generally appear on your body where the skin has folds. The medical term for them is acrochordons. They are brown and beige in color and can appear on your eyes, neck, face, armpits, and genitals. They occur in almost 25% of the adult population (1). However, are genital skin tags the same as regular skin tags? Let’s find out.
What Is A Genital Skin Tag?
A genital skin tag is the same as a regular skin tag. Just because it appears on your genital area, it is called as such. Genital skin tags are harmless and do not cause you any pain unless you pull or pinch them. They may cause you some irritation and itching if you keep rubbing them.
In men, tags on genitals are found on the scrotum and in very rare cases on the penis (2). And in women, genital skin tags are found near the pubic region, vulva, and labia majora. These tags are generally 2-5mm in size and are harmless (3).
In the next section, let us look at some of the symptoms of genital skin tags.
Symptoms Of Genital Skin Tags
Genital skin tags have the same symptoms as regular skin tags.
- They appear as a tiny bump on the skin that is soft to touch.
- Over a period of time, it grows into a flesh-colored piece of skin attached to the surface of the skin by a stalk.
- You can develop blood clots and a painful sensation if you twist the stalk of the skin tag (4).
Now that you’ve understood the symptoms of genital skin tags, you are likely to be more careful with them. In the next section, let us look at some of the causes of genital skin tags.
What Causes Genital Skin Tags To Appear?
There are no definite reasons as to what causes skin tags to appear. Researchers suspect that when clusters of collagen and blood get trapped inside a piece of skin, skin tags appear. They also tend to appear commonly in areas where your skin folds, like your armpits, under your neck, and genital areas (4).
Now let’s see genital skin tags are diagnosed.
How Are Genital Skin Tags Diagnosed?
If you notice any sort of bumps or anything out of the ordinary in your genital area, you should consult your doctor. Women can consult their OBGYN and men can consult their general physician.
During your consultation, the doctor will ask a few questions regarding your sexual history and sexual activity. This is to help in determining if it’s a genital skin tag, an STD, or a potential risk factor.
Once you have answered these questions, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and the doctor examines the bump. If it is a harmless skin tag, you won’t require further tests and you will be given an option for its removal.
When diagnosing vaginal skin tags, your doctor will perform a pelvic examination. During the examination, they may collect cultures of the tissue to understand if other factors are causing this growth.
After your diagnosis is complete, you are given the option to remove your genital skin tag. The next section explains the different procedures that you can choose from.
What Are The Treatment Options Available For Genital Skin Tags?
Genital skin tags are harmless and don’t cause you any trouble. However, some people may want to remove them because of aesthetic reasons. Sometimes they may at times interfere during sexual intercourse and may cause skin irritation. People with skin tags may choose to remove them for cosmetic reasons.
There are 4 procedures that you can choose from to remove genital skin tags.
This is a non-invasive procedure where the doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the genital skin tag. It generally falls off on its own within a week.
In this process, the doctor burns the genital skin tag and it drops off after a couple of treatments.
A surgical thread is tied to the genital skin tag to cut off blood flow, causing it to gradually fall off.
In this process, the doctor uses a surgical knife to cut the skin tag. A local anesthetic is applied if the tag is too big.
Are you wondering if genital skin tags can be prevented? Let us find out in the next section.
How To Prevent Genital Skin Tags?
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent genital skin tags as the reason for their appearance is not fully known. Some studies have suggested that being obese or diabetic can cause genital skin tags to appear (4). You can however minimize the chances of their appearance by following a few of these tips.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes and undergarments.
- Exercise regularly for 30 minutes to keep your weight in check
- Avoid sugary foods.
It is important to understand that following these tips may help in minimizing the chances, but, there is no scientific evidence to back these up.
In the next section, we will see how you may be able to get rid of genital skin tags.
How To Get Rid Of Genital Skin Tags?
To remove skin tags near the genital region, people try many over-the-counter medications and home remedies that are not recommended by doctors. Household ingredients like Tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and iodine are some of the items known to be used at home for skin tags. However, it’s always recommended to not self-treat such conditions and seek medical assistance for a safer and easier approach.
In conclusion, skin tags and genital skin tags are the same – they are benign lesions and are not a skin disease. The reason for their occurrence is not clearly known but some studies suggest that collagen and blood vessels being trapped in the skin may be the cause. Although you cannot prevent genital skin tags, if left alone, they cause no harm. Rubbing them and twisting them may cause irritation and even bleeding. You can remove them permanently with the help of a doctor.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How do you get rid of genital skin tags naturally?
There are a few home remedies like using tea tree oil, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar to weaken the genital skin tag, but these are not recommended by doctors.
How long do skin tags last?
Skin tags can last till you remove them. They do not go away on their own.
Can you cut off skin tags yourself?
No, you must not cut off skin tags yourself as it may lead to tissue damage and infections.
Do skin tags bleed when picked?
Picking them can cause them to bleed and itch. It is unsafe and you may end up hurting yourself.
Why do I suddenly have genital skin tags?
There is no clear reason as to why they appear. It could be due to the clothes rubbing against your skin, obesity, or diabetes (5).
How do you get rid of male genital skin tags?
You can get rid of them by undergoing any of these 4 procedures: cryotherapy, cauterization, ligation, and excision
How do I know if it’s a wart or skin tag?
You can differentiate between a skin tag and a wart by looking at their appearance. Skin tags appear on the surface of the skin attached to a stalk. Warts on the other hand are moist and appear like tiny cauliflowers.
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