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October 17, 2007 at 3:47 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

6 Conditions Commonly Mistaken for Venereal Warts

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

It is important to get a correct diagnosis for several reasons.

  • Your condition may not go away without proper treatment.
  • You may be contagious. If you know what you have, you can prevent its spread more effectively.
  • Treating a harmless condition like lymphocele or pearly penile papules is pointless and may cause problems.

There are several conditions or even normal features of genitalia that may be mistaken for genital warts. Here are just 6 examples.

Hirsuties Papillaris Genitalis

These are also known as "pearly penile papules". They are small white lumps that are normal glands, usually found on the head of the penis. They are not harmful, very common, and are totally normal. If they are unsightly, it is possible to have them removed via carbon dioxide laser treatment.

Molluscum Contagiosum

  • This is a sexually-transmitted, contagious virus of the poxvirus family.
  • It causes flesh colored, dome-shaped growths with dimples on them
  • The bumps generally appear on the genitals, lower abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.
  • Scratching or rubbing them will cause them to spread.
  • This can also be transmitted via inanimate objects, like towels, door handles, toys, and faucets.
  • Be sure to see a health practitioner as soon as possible if you think you have Molluscum contagiosum, since it is highly contagious.


Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and rectum. Sometimes they are mistaken for anal warts. See a health practitioner if you think you might have hemorrhoids.

Fordyce Spots

These are small white glands under the skin. Sometimes they can be quite large. They are normal and require no treatment.

Sebaceous Cysts

These are common and harmless cysts. They can be left untreated without problems. If they become troublesome or unsightly, they can be removed surgically.


These are just lumps of lymph that have collected under the skin. They usually go away on their own.

Usually, it is best to see a health practitioner that specializes in sexual health if there is any doubt about your diagnosis.

Symptoms of Genital Warts

Genital warts can vary in appearance, but genital warts usually have some defining characteristics that set them apart from other lumps in your genital region.

  • Genital warts grow if left untreated
  • Cauliflower-like bumps are usually genital warts
  • When swabbed with vinegar, genital warts turn white

What should I do if I find a lump on my genitals?

Don't attempt to diagnose or treat genital problems on your own. Monitor the lumps in question for a few days to see if they go away. Seek medical attention if they:

  • Persist
  • Grow larger
  • Itch
  • Bleed
  • Hurt
  • Spread
  • Change color or shape

What happens if I am diagnosed with genital warts?

While some forms of genital warts are harmless, others can lead to more serious conditions such as cervical cancer. Be sure to consult a physician if you are concerned that you have contracted HPV.


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