Genital warts can be mistaken for harmless things, such as moles, marks on the skin, or pearlescent papules on the penis. These bumps are usually whitish in color and can look like small pieces of cauliflower. In women, they can appear on the vulva, anus, and even the cervix, while in men they can appear on the penis, scrotum, or anus. Genital warts don't usually hurt but they can itch and even bleed if they're in an area that has direct sexual contact.
Genital warts and genital herpes are two common skin conditions that can be confused with each other due to their similar appearance and location. Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can take several weeks, months, or even years after having sexual contact with someone who has genital warts for them to appear. Genital warts can go away on their own but treatment can stop them from growing and any discomfort they may cause. Genital bumps are common and while most aren't a cause for concern, some may require treatment.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection that causes painful blisters to form in the genital area. The virus will stay in your body, which means you may experience outbreaks of genital warts in the future. Whether you choose to completely get rid of genital warts or manage them with medication, your options are often the same. Symptoms of genital warts caused by HPV in men include small bumps or groups of bumps on the tip or shaft of the penis, scrotum, or anus. The vaccine helps protect against the most common strains of HPV, including strains that cause genital warts or increase the risk of cervical cancer. The vast majority of cases of genital warts are the direct result of skin-to-skin contact due to vaginal or anal sex, with rare cases of transmission through oral sex or even pregnancy (a risk for the new baby).