Warts and all (for the ladies)

So having a bath one day I noticed a whitehead type spot on the lip of my labia, on closer inspection a couple of others teeny looking ones near the top of my vagina.

Stupidly rather than even consider it was a wart, I tried squeezing the biggest one (don't recommend 1 because of the pain, 2 because that's a sure fire way to make something infectious spread).

Was pretty gross. The whole thing came out, it was rooted like a tooth, and it bled. A lot. For whatever reason I didn't mention this when I was booked in for my smear test and a sexual health screening a week later. A week after that I got the all clear I just carried on with life.

Just over a month later, almost without me realising my 'spots' got a lot worse. There was a cluster where I'd pulled the first one that was so white, it did actually look like the cauliflower some people describe them as.

So I went back to my GP and got an appointment with the nurse. I thought shaving rash, boils, she took one look, "yep, as I thought, they're genital warts."

The blood must have drained from my face and I started shaking and I could feel tears in my eyes before she began referring me to a clinic to go have them treated the following week.

So at this clinic I had to re do all my STI tests just in case. To be fair, it is something called HPV that causes the warts. I was told that unless you have they symptoms i.e the warts it can't be tested for or treated. In fact, even using condoms and practising safe sex can't entirely protect you.

I was given a session of cryotherapy, which didn't hurt as much as I thought it would and Aldara cream to home treat the rest. I was told to return if there was no improvement.

Well if anything it got worse, and more inflamed. I went to a walk in clinic local to me and just burst into tears. Bless the nurse and doctor I met on that day. They did another round of cryotherapy and talked to me about how I was doing emotionally.

Which I really needed. I was single at the time and literally couldn't bear to tell anyone. I felt so ashamed and just dirty.

So now, a couple months from noticing them and not going for regular treatment because I felt so depressed about it they reached an apex.

The warts becAme so big and numerous I could feel them when I wiped myself, when I braved myself to look in a mirror I could hardly see my vagina for these warts.

I went straight back to my local walkin clinic, I was told I could return for cryo up to 3 times a week provided my skin healed imbetween sessions. And they spoke to me more about looking after myself emotionally.

So I started doing regular cryo and over the next month they got a bit better. I was eating terribly and still smoking at this time against the advice of my nurse.

In the 2 weeks I followed my nurses advice, went for regular cryo, stopped smoking, ate well and had salt baths on the area - they basically vanished.

I wanted to share my story because I buried my head in the sand and all it did was make things a LOT worse. This went on for a period of almost 4 months and god knows how long they'd been there before.

I also never really thanked the team of considerate and kind doctors and nurses that consoled and cryo'd me. We're so lucky in the UK to have access to free support like this.

Ladies. Don't be shy of your vaginas, if you notice something odd, however tiny - get it checked, and hopefully you'll save yourself from a scary emotional journey. If I'd mentioned it to my doctor at that smear they'd have noticed it as something wrong rather than me waiting for it to get as bad as it did.

3 Replies

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  • Dear basshy,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Genital warts are very common and completely harmless. It's the psychological impact that often affects people most. The stigma of having a 'sexually transmitted infection'. Although they are essentially the same as verrucas on your feet or finger warts you may have had as a child, and not been too bothered by.

    Anybody who is concerned about warts or any other sexually transmitted infection, or would just like advice should visit their local Sexual Health clinic. Find your nearest using the clinic search at bashh.org

    Kind regards.

  • I can relate to this, although it isn't genital warts that I have but genital herpes. I found out three years ago and the doctor that broke the news to me was so scathing, told me I had picked it up from someone and could never have sex again. I was absolutely devastated, even though I was 66 at the time, I hoped there was a few years left in me to enjoy myself. Like you, I felt so dirty and ashamed. Within a fortnight I went back to see another doctor and explained everything, she asked me who had told me all of that, when I told her she just raised her eyebrows. She went on to tell me that a lot of people that have cold sores on their lips can suddenly develop the genital type and, as long as I have protected sex and I am not in the middle of an outbreak, I will be fine. She referred me to a counsellor for a few months and that helped enormously

    I have now come to terms with it, so I can imagine your journey was scary.

  • I'm a 56 year old Man and have been with my wife for 32 years and been totally faithful a few weeks ago I found a small whitehead on the end of my Penis and showed my wife this, I worried and rowed with her that it could be a genital wart and she insisted it couldn't be as she has never been with anyone else but me ! I know a couple of months prior she was away in Edinburgh for a girlie weekend and previously in Glasgow but she totally denies any thing happened. After a couple of weeks we went to the local clinic and were told it was a Genital wart and the Doctor said maybe she got drunk one night or it could be from before we were together and not to jump to conclusions, She still absolutely denies ever being unfaithful and yet I can't understand how a virus could last 32 years after 3 children and at various times during that period myself and her being on antibiotics etc, I have now come to accept she is telling the truth and I accept the virus could stay with you for life.

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