Colon and Rectal Clinic of Colorado
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Anal Skin Tags Treatment

What Are Anal Skin Tags?

 

Anal skin tags are excess skin folds that emerge around the anal opening. They are very common and can be related to a multitude of anorectal conditions, with hemorrhoids (hemorrhoid skin tags) and anal fissures (sentinel tags) being the most common causes. Sometimes what is thought to be a skin tag can be the wart of an HPV infection. Regardless of their origin, these skin folds can cause problems such as discomfort, itching, irritation, discharge, and inability to maintain good hygiene.

What Causes Anal Skin Tags?


Anal skin tags can occur in anyone and are almost always benign. Anal skin tags are often “innocent bystanders” to a more primary underlying problem or condition.


Hemorrhoid skin tags commonly occur after an underlying external hemorrhoid blood vessel swells. As the underlying hemorrhoid blood vessel decreases in size the overlying stretched skin may persist, leaving an anal or hemorrhoidal skin tag.  
Skin tags can also develop in association with a chronic anal fissure (see our section describing Anal Fissures). As the result of a fissure wound within the anal canal, the surrounding skin becomes persistently inflamed and forms a skin tag (“sentinel tag”). These types of skin tags are often mis-identified as “hemorrhoids”. However fissure-tags tend to be more sharply painful during bowel movements.


Regular anal mucous discharge, subtle stool smearing, and anal wetness are other conditions that can lead to chronic skin irritation/inflammation and development of skin tags. Only by properly diagnosing the underlying cause and resolving the problem will the associated skin tags have an opportunity to reduce in size and potentially resolve. 

 

On occasion, anal skin tags occur in association with other chronic bowel problems such as Crohn’s disease.  

What Are The Treatment Options For Anal Skin Tags?


Probably half of all anal skin tags are not strictly the results of hemorrhoids. It is critical that the correct diagnosis be made through examination by a doctor (such as a colon & rectal surgeon) familiar with the various problems and conditions that can effect the anal region. Only then can the correct treatment plan be recommended and initiated.


Tags due to anal fissures are only removed when the underlying cause of the tag (the painful tear of the anal canal fissure) is healed. Otherwise removing the tag without healing the painful fissure will result in re-formation of the same tag. 


Office procedure options for treating skin tags involve excising the excess anal tissue/skin tag under local anesthesia. We provide our patients with written instructions for home wound care over the 10-14 days of healing.


Depending on the size and number of skin tags a decision would be made  whether the procedure could be safely performed in an office setting under local anesthesia, or would require the use of an operating room under sedation.

 

It is important to see a doctor for skin tags that are persistent and increasing in size, or are associated with pain and/or bleeding.  Anal HPV warts or Anal Cancer can present with several of the symptoms similar to benign skin tags.

 

How Do I Prevent The Development of Future Skin Tags?


Anal skin tags can be bad luck, however there are a few factors that will decrease your risk of developing future anal skin tags:
Avoid situations or be mindful of conditions that increase pressure on the pelvic floor. These includes obesity, constipation, chronic hard stools requiring significant pushing during defecation, reading the newspaper/smartphone while sitting on the toilet and pregnancy.

 

Don’t let the irritation of anal skin tags reduce the quality of your life. We can help you. Please call today for appointment.