Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 28, 2011

A bump on my genitals was red and then turned black. What could it be?

What if you have something on your genitals that starts as one red bump and then turns black...and it hurts?

answered by
Lisa Oldson, MD on September 28, 2011

Thanks for sharing you question. I’ll do my best to help...   

First, anytime you have a skin symptom that turns black, you should see your regular doctor for a full visual examination. You might have a mole, or something else that’s relatively harmless...or it could be an early sign of melanoma, syphilis or even herpes. Whatever condition you may have, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the sooner ⎼ and more effectively ⎼ you can get treated. So don’t delay in seeing your doctor.  

Have you had unprotected sex, or do any other risk factors for STDs apply to you? If so, and if you haven’t recently been tested for STDs, I encourage you get tested for a panel of common STDs...including herpes 1 and 2, hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV.

If you test negative for these STDs, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your STD status, and you and your doctor can explore other causes of your symptom. And if you test positive for an STD, you can make informed decisions about treatment, and learn about precautions to keep yourself and your sexual partner safe and healthy (e.g., using condoms or dental dams during sexual activity).

I hope you’ll soon have a certain diagnosis of the bump on your genitals so that you can take appropriate next steps.  

Related info:

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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