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Ask Monika Hearne, M.D. Your Own Question

Monika Hearne, M.D.
Monika Hearne, M.D., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 5827
Experience:  With experience and compassion, I treat my patients like family.
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I have a swollen skin tag, about the size of a blueberry. It

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I have a swollen skin tag, about the size of a blueberry. It doesn't really hurt but it is very swollen. I have never been to a gyno. but I am certain it is a skin tag. I have had it about a year and a half but it has never swelled up like this before. I just finished my period. I would like to get rid of it ASAP, I am scared! If I tie it off with dental floss and then trim it off with very sharp, sterile scissors, will it grow back? Is that a bad idea? Thank you so much for your help! I am scared and nervous.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Monika Hearne, M.D. replied 3 years ago.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

Hello, I would be happy to assist you.

Customer :

Hi, thank you!

Customer :

My name isXXXXX am 24 years old. I have a skin tag on my vulva, the outside lip.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

I do not recommend you cut this off yourself. You can develop some pretty severe bleeding depending on the amount of blood vessels in it. Also, since it is a new growth, it should be sent to a pathologist to make sure it isn't a cancer. Since you are so young, a cancer is very rare, but it would need to be examined to be certain.

Customer :

I have had it for at least a year and at first I thought it was an ingrown hair from shaving, but as it grew slightly larger I realized it was a skin tag. It never really bothered me. Last month (around my period) it swelled up pretty large but the swelling went away within a day. Right now it is swollen up to the size of about a blueberry and I am scared!

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

Allison, does this growth has a dry appearance to it? What color is it?

Customer :

What do you mean by dry appearance?

Customer :

I am caucasian, light skin tone but I tan easily. The skin tag is much darker and has some spots that look like they are filled with blood. The skin is kind of wrinkled in appearance.

Customer :

I am going to call a gyno. tomorrow but I have never been before - I don't know why but I've just never gone. I am just worried I will not be able to get an appointment quickly enough and am very nervous about this.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

When you call tomorrow, express the importance of this issue. Since it is much darker, it concerns me for a cancer called a melanoma, which can occur at any age. It would need to be removed asap. If you call a gyno who is booked for several days, keep trying others until you can obtain the fastest appointment.

Customer :

It's swelled up before around my period but never this large and never for this long - I noticed it around 5:00 yesterday. I gently squeezed it and a little lightly colored fluid leaked out.

Customer :

Is there anything you can recommend I do until I am able to see a doctor?

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do at home. However, do you mean there is an opening within it that would release fluid when its squeezed?

Customer :

I do not see an opening per say, but there is a spot that is red and shiny and the rest is dull and dark, I think this might be from when I gently squeezed it yesterday.

Customer :

I guess it's more red then dark? When it isn't swollen it is dark and dry looking. But now it is obviously filled with some sort of fluid.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

Well, if its red it can be an ingrown hair or oil gland that has become infected. If when it was left alone it was dry and dark it have been a genital wart. Its really hard to tell without seeing it. But only hair follicles and oil gland secrete fluid.

Customer :

It's definitely NOT a genital wart I know that much. It was swollen before I even touched it, I think maybe because I just finished my period.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

That is very odd. There is something that is extremely rare called endometriosis of the skin. This would be associated with pain and bleeding during every period, however.

Customer :

I did have pretty serious cramps this time around. I took a few midol and it didn't seem to help, I was up all night with cramps the first night I had my perido.

Customer :

*period.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

Definitely don't take it off yourself. The last thing you want is an infection or hemorrhaging from this area causing you to have to urgently go to the hospital. Begin calling tomorrow for prospective gynecologists.

Customer :

Okay. Thank you for your help!

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

You're welcome. Do you have any additional questions?

Customer :

Just one more - should I stay away from tight clothing and would sweating (working out) effect the skin tag?

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

Yes, you should avoid anything that would irritate it, including tight clothing. Depending on what exercises you do, some can also be irritating. Try to choose those that don't lead to much friction down below.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

If you have additional questions, feel free to ask. If not, please click "Accept." Thank you.

Customer :

I practice Bikram Yoga and sweat a lot. Will sweating effect the irrition?

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

If it is an infected gland, sweating can make it worse. However, you can still exercise and then soak in a very warm tub. Placing Epsom salt in the tub may help reduce swelling.

Customer :

I actually took an epsom bath last night but did not notice any difference.

Monika Hearne, M.D. :

If exercising made it worse, and the Epsom salt bath didn't relieve the swelling, then I would recommend not exercising. If you took the Epsom salt bath just to see if it would help, I am not surprised that it didn't help because this doesn't sound like an infection; which is usually what it does relieve.

Customer :

Okay. thank you!

Monika Hearne, M.D., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 5827
Experience: With experience and compassion, I treat my patients like family.
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