Vaginal skin tags look like the head of a pin or a deflated balloon. They sit on a stalk, which is also called a peduncle. The tag's skin color may be the same as surrounding skin, or it may be darker.
All skin tags are typically very small - only 2 to 10 millimeters. That's about half the size of a pencil eraser. However, at times they can grow to be quite large. Some may be as big as a grape.
Occasionally, vaginal skin tags can appear to be flat. When they're flatter in appearance, they may be confused with genital warts. But unlike genital warts, skin tags most often occur by themselves. With time, genital warts may grow and develop into a cluster.
Vaginal skin tags and genital warts are easily mistaken for each other, so if you're concerned, it's a good idea to see a doctor. Vaginal skin tags may or may not be contagious, depending on the cause. Genital warts, however, are known to be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be passed to a sexual partner.
Skin tags are harmless skin growths. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, as many as half of Americans have at least one.
Doctors are unsure what causes skin tags, although they seem to run in families. They are made of loose fibers of collagen, which is a protein that helps make up the skin. They may also contain blood vessels.
Skin tags are usually relatively small and can resemble warts, moles, or a piece of skin that is hanging loose. They may be flesh-colored or slightly lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
Removing skin tags at home can be dangerous and cause infections, so it is important to see a doctor.
In rare cases, growths that look like skin tags may be a sign of another condition, including cancer. Removing the growth will not get rid of any underlying conditions, so it is essential to see a doctor first for diagnosis.
Even if the growth is definitely a skin tag, home removal is dangerous. Cutting or pulling a skin tag may not remove the whole thing. It may become infected and irritated. A severe skin infection can cause scarring or spread to other parts of the body.
Safely removing a skin tag near the vagina is even more dangerous, since the skin tag can be difficult to see and will be surrounded by sensitive tissues.
Doctors can easily and safely remove skin tags. One option is to freeze the tag off with liquid nitrogen. A doctor may also inject a numbing solution into the skin and cut the skin tag with scissors or a scalpel. These procedures are not painful but the skin may feel tender temporarily.