Sexual Health & Genital Warts
Guys, its not good news!
Im laughing and crying in my mind. Following on from my last post about the topic of sexually transmitted stuff, and the successful all clear result from my home testing kit, I now have some bad news.
A few weeks after the results I started to notice a couple of bumps at the base of my penis. I wasn't sure what they were and for about a week thought they would just go away. However, a couple turned into 6 and the bumps became a little more noticeable.
I have been to a drop in clinic before because of what turned out to be a spot on my penis. So I though / hoped maybe this was the same. The greater number possibly a result of a skin irritation. Maybe...
After another week I decided I needed to see a Doctor, so attended a drop in clinic. Of course this resulted in about a 2 hour wait. But hey, my phone was fully charged so I didn't mind as much.
I opted not to show you my own penis, or one belonging to someone else. But heres an image with similar warts to mine. Image from diseaseslab.com.
As you can see there not big or scary and can be easy to miss sometimes. Though when they are on your sexual organ its pretty scary!
Once I got to see the Doctor or Nurse, I'm never sure who I end up seeing, someone of the medical profession. I described to her my concern and had to answer a few routine questions about my sexual history, relationship status and my ability to contact my last sexual partner. She didn't see too impressed with me explaining we met on tinder and are no longer matched so... no. I can't get in contact with that girl and tell her she be spreading.
The question and answer session was followed by dropping my shorts and jumping on the bed. After a look at my shy and retreating penis, she confirmed I had a form of genital warts. O, yay! The best treatment would be to have the warts frozen. I could have one treatment then and there, with potentially four treatments required over about 6 to 8 weeks.
Having parts of your penis frozen is not cool! I was sprayed with what I think was dry ice. Twice on each wart. The first time was fine, the second time not so much. Its funny how quickly you don't care about having a soft and decreasing in size penis when you are being sprayed with ice.
After the treatment I was given a small bag of condoms, nice, but, I'd prefer a lollypop.
Fastforward 10 days and the worts had gone down, but were still visible. This time I managed to get to the drop in clinic 20 minutes before it opened, I was number 6 in the queue. I overheard the receptionist say the drop in was full 10 minutes before it even opened! Be warned, if you are going to a drop in, get there early or make an appointment.
This time the wait was little shorter at just over an hour. The Doctor / Nurse called me in and ran through the questions again checking nothing had changed in the last 10 days. Again drop shorts and jump on bed. Again a bit embarrassed, but this time for a different reason. As before my penis was not happy about what was to come. However this time I didn't get smaller, I got bigger. Im not sure whats more embarrassing / funny. Fortunately I didn't become erect, but there was noticeable change in size and in... firmness.
Even a bit of misdirected dry ice to the tip of my penis, which was quite painful, seemed to do the opposite to what you'd think.
After this treatment I asked couple of questions about my infection. The Doctor / Nurse informed me that the 4 treatments usually work, if not then they can offer cream for more regular application at home. After the visible worts have gone, I will still have a dormant part of the disease in me. But that most people actually do (I have read a few articles that say this is about 1 in 6 people), they just don't show visible signs of it. This was good to hear, but annoyed me slightly as I hadn't been told this by the first professional I had seen 10 days previous and I had kind of been left to panic at home about what was going on.
If you are unsure about anything related to your sexual health please check the information from your local NHS service. For those in the Southampton / Portsmouth area (like me) we have the Solent NHS 'Lets Talk About It' Service. I'm sure there are similar services in your area, use google.
As for me, my warts have cleared up nicely and I have my penis back after the two treatments, yay!
I can't express enough the importance of safe sex, use condoms! While I have had the negative side of catching a STD I have still been fortunate it's not worse. For that I am thankful. The shame and personal dissatisfaction I have felt with my body has not been nice. It has put me off doing the little amount of flirting I was and made me feel very... well, diseased. While this is not what I think of other people, it was definitely what I was thinking about myself.
While genital warts can lead to other serious stuff, I seem to have been fortunate. I have only been affected by the appearance of the warts and some irritation over a three day period.
Unfortunately I believe (online research again, no information from the Doctor) I will carry the disease for the rest of my life. It will likely lay dormant and not affect me. But I will have the risk of infecting any potential future sexual partner. Meaning I now have another fun fact to work into conversations along with having a failed marriage, BPD and depression. What. A. Catch!
I have spoken about my own experience here, maybe you would like to know a bit more. Well, here is the best video I have seen. Its by Laci (she has a couple of good videos about STI/Ds if you want or need to know more, but remember visit your Doctor).
I would also like to say a big thanks to Matt and Wes, who gave me the confidence to talk about this. Much like the first time I spoke about my depression, this is SUPER SCARY because I feel the stigma in myself, let alone what other people may think.
However as Laci says in one of her videos, the stigma of genital warts is often much worse than the actual disease. So here goes.
Personally I think catching genital warts was part of my trouble with mental health. I know what I did was silly and very risky, yet I did it. I guess I can sit and think about reasons why. But for me, its partly because I don't value myself in the way I should / want to. Its (maybe) part of the depression (I'm not worthy) and or the risky behaviour that comes with BDP. I guess for me, its been just accepting this and trying to make that change in myself to want to take better care of myself (if that makes sense).
I hope that in someway this post helps someone, maybe you think about getting tested, maybe you're more able to talk to someone that opens up to you.
I guess it trying to remind myself that people who judge rather than accept are people that I don't need in my life, and thats ok. In fact, its more than ok, its good.
Heres to (hopefully) great and (definitely) safe sex in the future!