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Noticed white skin tag inside labia minora. How to remove this?

DOCTOR OF THE MONTH - Mar 2013
Mar 2013
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Practicing since : 1998
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Hi,
I just noticed large tags of flesh coloured skin on the inside of my vagina. Not on the labia, but inside Labia minora. There are four in total, ranging from a few millimeters long to about two centimeters. They all have white tips and white marks on them that can't be wiped off. I have had 3 children, the youngest it 4 years old.
Posted Sat, 23 Mar 2013 in Vaginal and Uterus Health
 
 
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 49 minutes later
Hello XXXXXXX
Thank you for your query.

What you describe sounds very much like skin tags or genital warts. I would explain the details of both to you, and you need a visit to a gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis between the two.

Vaginal skin tags commonly occur on the labia, but not usually on the labia minora. However the stalk might be attached to the vulva or labia majora, even though you perceive the growth is on the minora. This is a common health condition and known as acrochordon or skin tags.

Vaginal skin tags are soft and flesh coloured like other growths of this type. They are usually darker than the skin that surrounds them. The peduncle or stalk is the tissue that attaches the vaginal skin tags to the vulva. It is fleshy and flexible. Once these tissues grow on the vagina, they remain there till they are removed.

More than 45% of the total population is affected by vaginal skin tags. They are highly common and are caused when skin is rubbed against skin or clothes. Irritation on the vaginal area combined with weight gain as well as hormone changes during pregnancy lead to development of vaginal skin tags. Once these tags develop, they can get irritated by tight clothing, sanitary napkins and sexual activity.

Vaginal skin tags are not harmful but they can surely be embarrassing and unpleasant. Because of the size and location of these tags, at times they are mistaken for some sexually transmitted disease, or genital warts.

You need to consult your gynecologist for confirming whether these are innocuous skin tags or genital warts. Vaginal skin tags do not pose any risk to your health and you can choose to let them be there without the fear of any problem occurring. You may use liquid nitrogen to detach a tag from your body and this practice is known as cryosurgery. You may also go for electrocauterization, where a heated current is used to remove this undesired growth. You can also remove skin tags with the help of scalper, scissors or laser treatment.

There are ways in which you can remain healthy and hygienic and prevent the development of vaginal skin tags. Keeping your body clean will reduce the chances of skin tags appearing. Tags are known to appear at places where the skin is rubbed against skin or tight clothing, due to friction. Staying fit will help you keep your skin tight and it will not rub against skin. Making a few lifestyle alterations will help you remain fit. These changes include eating healthy and natural foods and exercising regularly. Consume more fruits, wholegrain breads and XXXXXXX vegetables. Try to hit the gym at least four times a week. This will make your body less susceptible to such unwanted growths. Keep the genital area dry and not moist. Avoid excessive cleansing / douching / perfumed or medicated product use on the area.

Regarding genital warts, they are one of the two most commonly spread sexually transmitted diseases (STD) caused by a virus. The other is genital herpes. Warts are caused by the Human Papillloma Virus or HPV.

The wart like lesions that appear with this STD are called condyloma acuminata. They look like small, flesh colored growths in the genital and anal region. Genital warts are spread through direct contact with an infected person during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact.

There are more than 100 different types of the human papilloma virus, and over 40 of these can infect the genitals through sexual contact. These specific strains of HPV are highly contagious. Because of the long incubation period, many people may be unaware that they are infected and continue to spread the virus through sexual contact.
Generally the warts are painless but might cause irritation and itching depending on their size and location. It is not uncommon to develop the warts in more than one area.

However, the lesions most commonly occur in the labia minora and around the vaginal opening. Many times no symptoms at all are experienced aside from the appearance of growths (warts). The location corresponds to the one you describe.

As is the case with most viruses, there is no genital warts treatment that will completely get rid of the lesions or the HPV. The warts can be controlled, but the viral infection cannot be not cured. Prescription medications and topical creams are the most frequently used methods of treatment.

Small warts can be removed by means of laser surgery, cryosurgery (freezing), or electrocautery (burning). Application of various acids and resins may also be used. These genital wart treatments require several sessions and removal is not a permanent solution since it cannot prevent spreading of the human papilloma virus. If genital warts are removed by any of these methods more lesions can still occur in the future.

The main complications of HPV infection are the development of cancerous lesions. Some forms of HPV can cause anal and/or penis cancer in men, and cervical cancer in women.

Research is currently being conducted on vaccines that may protect against infection of HPV infection and one vaccine (Gardisil) is now available for women. This vaccine protects aginst some of the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer but cannot treat genital warts or cervical cancer once they have developed.

The only sure way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, genital warts included, is to avoid direct contact with the causative organism, in this case the human papilloma virus.

For most STDs the use of a condom creates the barrier necessary to prevent the transmission of the pathogen. However, this appears not to be the case for genital warts as the virus can infect areas not covered by the condom. The Center for Disease Control advises that the only sure way to prevent HPV is to avoid all sexual activity.

Restricting sexual activity to a monogamous relationship with a person confirmed to be "hpv free" would be advisable.

I hope you have gained the necessary information.
Do see a doctor and let me know the follow ups if any.

Take care, and feel free to ask for further clarifications.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Noticed white skin tag inside labia minora. How to remove this? 31 minutes later
I looked up images of what you described. They don't look like warts. They do kind of look like the tags, but they are much bigger than the images I saw and with white patches on them. What would the white patches be? My vaginal opening is quiet stretched from the 3 natural childbirths, so they are almost inside the opening, kind of like the inside of the labia minora. They are also quiet large, bigger than my thumb nail, and flat.

I'm not sure how long they have been there, but at my last menstrual period I noticed them.

I have made an appointment with my GP as per your suggestion, but I can't get in for 3 weeks.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 2 minutes later
Hi again,
Its strange, given the size you describe, that you didnt find them out earlier.
Would you able to attach the pictures of the lesions, since without having a look, you can understand that I cannot opine specifically.
White patches could be because of local dryness or local yeast infection.
Sometimes, the skin tags undergo changes of atrophy and dryness leading to whitish patches on them, same as skin tags anywhere else on the body.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Noticed white skin tag inside labia minora. How to remove this? 20 minutes later
It is difficult to take pictures. The quality of my camera didn't really work well, unless it was too far away. I have attached the best I could capture. I probably should mention, I had lots of stitches after my last baby.

Thanks for responding so quickly.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 11 minutes later
Thanks for the appreciation.
Its always a pleasure interacting with intelligent and prompt patients too !!
I agree that the picture is not of a very good quality.
Also, yes the location is odd.
Again, what I see reaffirms my belief that these are vaginal skin tags, and not warts.
Of course, examination directly would be the ideal way to comment.
Also, please know that these tags are extremely common after multiple childbirth.
As i said, they are of no concern unless cosmesis or discomfort is a real issue.
take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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