HPV is… a nasty virus to have. In essence, it’s genital warts. It’s a virus that once you catch… it doesn’t go away. However, in most individuals, it goes completely dormant around the age of 30 and doesn’t come back. Unfortunately I’m 32 and it’s shown up once or twice in the past couple years. Thankfully I know how to battle it and it goes away again for loooong stretches after treatment.
God must have an odd sense of humor. I battled molluscum contagiosum for a year, went through absolute hell doing so… and then a couple years later, HPV showed up on me. I was not very sexually active, I was careful, and I was monogamous… and yet… bam. Of course, it’s possible that I contracted it several years before, but it stayed dormant. It can do that. They say most people who carry the virus likely caught it in college, even if it was just from fooling around and not full-on intercourse.
HPV doesn’t hurt. Similar to molluscum, they’re just lesions on your skin. But, also like molluscum, those little spots screw with your head, make you feel icky, and prevent you from having sex. Best to take care of them right away. Do NOT just “sit and wait for them to go away,” since they often won’t.
Unfortunately, the tea tree oil, so effective on molluscum, does not work on HPV. I’ve tried.
Some people recommend apple cider vinegar. I tried it. I don’t recommend it… and I elaborate why HERE. (link coming soon)
In my experience, the best way to tackle the virus is through the liquid nitrogen method. It’s painful, take 2 weeks to heal… but it does the trick. And you can do it at home. How? Compound W Freeze-Off. You can find it at your local pharmacy. However, I don’t recommend using it on yourself unless you’ve had the spots frozen off at least once by a professional, so that you can recognize the sensations. It’s a delicate procedure, that done incorrectly can damage the skin or lead to scarring. That won’t happen if you’re careful, but there are some subtle hints to look for in terms of exactly how long to apply the liquid nitrogen.
The best way I could describe the sensations is this. When you first apply the liquid nitrogen to the spot, there will be a hissing sound. You may feel cold, but no pain at first. Then, after 3-5 seconds, there is a SHARP pain. This is the hard part; this is why you have to grit your teeth, suck it up, and keep it applied. From here, give it at least a full 5 seconds. Up to 10 is safe, but no more than that. Then remove the swab, and toss it in the trash.
From here it will take a couple days for the red spots to develop into scabs. The skin will be tender, and often hurt as you move around. This is part of the process. Once the spots scab, the pain lessens. The whole scabbing process takes about 2 weeks. Be PATIENT as they heal, and let them fall off on their own. Don’t pick at them. And there’s no need to try applying any oil or stuff on the outside of the scab… just be patient with it. Some pain may return as the scabs get ready to fall off, since they’ll be stretching the surrounding skin areas. This is normal. Then, when the scabs are gone… the lesions should be gone as well.
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HPV is contagious, so abstain from sex while the lesions are present. It’s possible that they could be under the hair, so be careful. If you feel around, look for a solid red bump. These bumps are often by themselves, and not in clusters. They’re usually darker as well, and look more solid, less bubbly than other types of lesions. Just one might be an in-grown hair… but if you see a few around that don’t go away after a few days, it could be HPV. Check with your doctor to be sure before trying anything.
On occasion a cluster of in-grown hairs can appear after a waxing. These typically go away after a few days, so if you’ve shaved or gotten waxed recently and then see the red spots a day or two later, don’t freak out… give it time and see if they fade normally and naturally.