Anal Skin Tags Symptoms, Removal, Treatment, Prevention
What Are Anal Skin Tags?
Anal skin tags are small skin growths that hang off the skin in the anal area. They are typically benign (non-cancerous) and are not dangerous, but they can be unsightly and may cause discomfort or embarrassment. Regardless of their location on your body, these skin tags are not detrimental to your health. They are simply extra skin that often matches your skin tone or is slightly darker. These flaps emerge around your anal verge or where your outer skin meets the anal cavity.
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What do anal skin tags look like?
Anal skin tags have a stalk-like protrusion and are usually the same color as the surrounding skin. They typically appear as small, fleshy bumps that are smooth to the touch. The appearance may vary among individuals; they can vary in size ranging from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.
What Causes Anal Skin Tags?
The exact cause of anal skin tags is not well understood. However, they are believed to be caused by friction, irritation, or injury to the skin in the anal area. Factors that may contribute to the development of anal skin tags include:
- Obesity: Overweight or obese individuals may be more prone to developing skin tags due to friction and rubbing of the skin against clothing or other surfaces.
- Anal fissures: Tears in the anus lining can cause irritation, inflammation, and the formation of skin tags.
- Hemorrhoids: Swollen blood vessels in the anus and rectum can cause the formation of skin tags.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the skin to become more sensitive to skin tags.
- Aging: As people age, their skin may become less elastic and more prone to developing skin tags.
- Anal or rectal surgery: Trauma to the area from surgery can cause the formation of skin tags.
Are anal skin tags sexually transmitted?
Anal skin tags do not result from anal intercourse or sexually transmitted diseases. They are often associated with anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and other rectal problems or surgeries.
Are anal skin tags painful?
Anal skin tags are usually not painful but can cause discomfort or embarrassment for some individuals. They may also cause itching or irritation, especially if they are in an area prone to friction or rubbing. If the skin tag becomes irritated or infected, it may become painful.
Are There Complications With Anal Skin Tags?
Aside from anal skin tags indicating another medical condition, you may feel itching or pain on or near the tag if it becomes infected. Because of its proximity to your rectal area, fecal matter can lodge around the tag. Bacteria buildup can quickly infect your anus and surrounding skin. You may also feel anxiety if you have a sexual relationship with a partner. Skin tags may cause friction between you and your partner if they do not understand your skin issue.
How Do You Prevent Anal Skin Tags?
Aside from evaluating and treating the underlying issue causing the skin tags, including anal fissures, you can take other preventive measures to keep yourself tag-free.
Improve your diet by adding more fruits and vegetables. Natural fiber keeps your digestive system flowing well without hard stools damaging your bowels. Set aside sodas and drink more water. Your body will become healthier and leaner with a proper diet and ample water. Add in exercise to help your digestive system as well. All of your daily activities contribute to regular bowel movements. Reduced stress during bowel movements keeps your anal area free from skin tags.
How do you treat anal skin tags? Can anal skin tags be removed?
It is advisable to have your doctor evaluate your anal skin tags to find a root cause. Many insurance companies will not approve a treatment program if the tags are not associated with a medical condition, such as hemorrhoids. They cite treating it as a cosmetic issue, not a medical necessity under insurance.
What are the treatment options for anal skin tags?
Anal skin treatment options include excision through local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the skin tags' presence. Lasers are another option that simply smoothes the anal surface for an almost perfect removal process. Freezing the tags off through cryotherapy works well, as doctors use liquid nitrogen to remove the growths quickly. Alternative therapy includes using a natural skin tags formula that patients use over-the-counter as a non-invasive choice.
Are anal skin tags related to any underlying health conditions?
Anal skin tags are not usually related to any underlying health conditions. However, they may be associated with conditions that affect the anal or rectal area, such as:
- Anal fissures
- Anal or rectal surgery
- Chron's disease
Some individuals may develop skin tags without any known cause. If you have a skin tag that causes concern or is accompanied by other symptoms, it's always best to seek the opinion of a medical professional to be sure of the diagnosis and rule out any underlying conditions.
Can anal skin tags be treated at home?
Anal skin tags can be removed at home; however, it is not recommended as it can be risky. The skin in the anal area is sensitive and prone to infection, and self-treatment can lead to complications such as bleeding, infection, or even worsening the existing condition.
Are there any over-the-counter medications for treating anal skin tags?
Over-the-counter products, such as creams or liquids marketed to remove skin tags, are not always safe to use on the anal area and may cause irritation or even infection.
Are there any risks associated with removing anal skin tags?
Removing anal skin tags may carry some risks, although complications are rare when a qualified medical professional performs the procedure. Some of the risks associated with removing anal skin tags include the following:
- Pain or discomfort during or after the procedure
- Recurrence of the skin tag
- Injury to surrounding skin or tissue
Skin in the anal area is sensitive and prone to infection, so it's important to take proper care of the area after the procedure to reduce the risk of complications. The medical professional will advise you on how to care for the area and when to come back for a follow-up visit.
It's important to note that self-treatment of anal skin tags can lead to complications such as bleeding, infection, or even worsening the existing condition. It's always best to seek medical attention for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Are anal skin tags a sign of cancer or a sexually transmitted infection?
Anal skin tags are typically unrelated to cancer or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They are caused by friction, irritation, or injury to the skin in the anal area. Remember that other skin conditions, such as warts, moles, or precancerous or cancerous growths, can resemble skin tags. It's always best to consult a medical professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like HPV (Human papillomavirus) can cause anal warts that are visually similar to anal skin tags. In this case, it's imperative to consult with a medical professional for proper diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.
Can anal skin tags affect bowel movements or cause other complications?
Anal skin tags do not typically affect bowel movements. However, in some cases, they may cause discomfort or embarrassment for some individuals, especially if they are located in an area prone to friction or rubbing during bowel movements.
Are there any preventive measures that can be taken to prevent anal skin tags from forming?
No specific preventive measures can be taken to prevent anal skin tags from forming. However, some general steps may help reduce the risk of developing skin tags in the anal area:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Obesity is a risk factor for developing skin tags.
- Eating a healthy diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And low in processed foods can help maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoiding irritation: Avoid irritation to the anal area. Avoid using harsh soaps or scented toilet paper.
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing: Loose-fitting clothes can help reduce friction and irritation to the anal area.
Differences between anal skin tags & hemorrhoids
Anal skin tags can sometimes be mistaken for other skin conditions like hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the anus and rectum, which can cause itching, pain, and bleeding. They appear small, swollen, and tender lumps or clusters of lumps around the anus. They can be internal (inside the rectum) or external (around the anus) and are usually red or purple in color. Like anal skin tags, hemorrhoids can also be itchy and may bleed.
Differences between anal skin tags & condyloma (genital warts).
Anal skin tags and condyloma (genital warts) are different skin conditions in the anal or genital area. Warts are benign (non-cancerous) growths caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that can occur in the anal or genital area. They are usually gray, pink, or flesh-colored and can have a raised, flat, or cauliflower-like appearance. They can be small or large and may be single or multiple. Like anal skin tags, genital warts can also be itchy and may bleed.