What Are Genital Skin Tags & Can They Turn Cancerous?

What are Genital Skin Tags?

Skin tags are harmless growth on the skin, with no medical complications.(1, 3) Skin tags can be seen occurring in almost 25% of adults. They can occur anywhere in the body, but are mostly seen occurring in the places where the skin rubs, against the other skin or the clothing. They are found commonly occurring in eyelids, armpits, neck and in the genital region.

Genital skin tags affect males and females equally and are seen affecting most commonly after midlife.(1)

What are Genital Skin Tags?

What Causes Genital Skin Tags?

The reason or the cause of the occurrence of skin tags on genital or any other areas of body is not known, but researchers believe, it can occur from irritation from clothing or rubbing of the clothes against the areas of the skin.(1, 3) 

Genital skin tags can also be an early sign of metabolic syndrome such as diabetes.(1, 3)

Skin tags are also seen to be occurring in obese people or those with a history of skin tag.(1, 3) Studies depict the relationship between a high BMI index and skin tags occurrence.(2)

Genital skin tags cannot be transmitted during sexual intercourse, as they are not contagious.

Symptoms of Genital Skin Tags

  • Genital skin tag appears as an extra growth on the skin. They are connected to the skin by a short stalk.
  • They are not painful unless pulled.
  • Skin tags might itch, but they never bleed.
  • They sometimes appear as clusters or patterns on the skin.
  • The color of the genital skin tag is similar to the skin or slightly darker than it.

Can Genital Skin Tags Turn Cancerous?

Genital skin tags are completely harmless. They do not increase the risk of cancer and the risk of them turning cancerous is very low.(1) They are just flaps of tissue hanging from the skin on a tiny stalk.

Treatment of Genital Skin Tag

It is important to see a doctor if you see an abnormal growth anywhere around the genital region. The doctor may carry a few tests to eliminate the sexually transmitted disease from the diagnosis list.

If you want to get the skin tag in the genitals removed, talk to your gynaecologist or a general practitioner. The following procedures are used to remove it:

Cauterization to Remove Skin Tags(3): Using electrolysis the skin tag is burned off.

Cryosurgery to Remove Skin Tags(3): In this procedure, the skin tag is frozen using a probe containing liquid nitrogen.

Ligation to Get Rid of Genital Skin Tags(4): The skin tag is removed by interrupting the blood supply to the skin tag.

Excision of Genital Skin Tags(3): The skin tag is cut with a scalpel.

All these procedures to remove genital skin tags should be done by a dermatologist or a specialist. Most of the people try to remove the tags at home, which can prove to be dangerous.(1) It can lead to excessive bleeding and infection. Genital skin tag removal is an outpatient procedure with a little or no recovery time.

Many also try home remedies like tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, castor oil, baking soda, which are known to weaken the stalk of the skin tag. This can be helpful in removing it easily. In case of genital tag, you should be careful even with the home remedies, as the skin is sensitive and can lead to a chemical burn in that area.

Having skin tags in the genital region is not a matter of much concern. But, it is always good to see a doctor so that he confirms that it’s nothing more than an extra skin growth

References:

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