Genital skin problems are common, but due to the embarrassment many people feel, are often not discussed. Typical skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema can affect skin in the area, leading to redness, itching, and skin bumps, but these may appear different than symptoms from the same conditions experienced in other locations on the body.
Skin disorders in the genital area can affect activities and the types of clothing a patient can wear, and may affect interpersonal relationships.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the cause of genital warts. As one of the most commonly transmitted genital infections, nearly all sexually active people encounter exposure to at least one strain of HPV, in their lifetimes. It’s strains of HPV that cause genital warts. Genital warts range from too small to be seen to flesh-colored bumps and/or clusters of tiny growths. There are over 40 strains of HPV. In many cases, the body’s immune system fights off the virus after exposure, so some people may never develop warts. Those that do develop warts often present for in-office treatment. Over-the-counter wart removers are not meant for skin in the genital area and should never be used on genital warts. There are several effective treatments available for genital warts.
Not all STDs have visible symptoms, and some may not present any symptoms until advanced stages. Blisters, discharges, and skin ulcers may occur as part of a genital herpes outbreak, but also may be present with yeast infections or urinary tract infections. Sores in the genital area that are not painful, but that linger without improvement, may indicate other STDs. Sometimes skin conditions that are not caused by STDs may be mistaken for infection. For example, psoriasis, eczema and contact dermatitis can occur in the genital area and cause significant irritation to the sensitive skin in the genital region.
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