Anal skin tags are much more common than you think. They appear mostly as single bumps and usually scattered around the anus. Sometimes they might form a cluster. An anal skin tag feels like a raised area or bump that is soft and smooth.
Skin tags, no matter where they form are harmless and pose no threat to your health. You can have them for months without even noticing. They are quite painless except on occasions where they are irritated. A sensitive skin tag easily gets irritated which can make you feel very uncomfortable. Due to the location of the anal skin tag, it’s prone to get easily irritated and inflamed.
In this post, we would be discussing what you need to know about anal skin tags – the causes, diagnosis, treatment options, and prevention.
Causes Of Skin Tags Inside & Outside The Anus
Skin tags formed inside or outside the anus are no much different from those formed on other areas of the body. However, due to their location, they are more susceptible to constant irritation and inflammation.
A lot of friction occurs near the anus due to the regular bowel activities of the body. Sexual activities, e.g., anal intercourse with no lubrication could also lead to friction. This friction could lead to the formation of skin tags. Also, it is important to note that the skin around the anus is loose to accommodate the constant expansion and contraction during a bowel movement. This extra loose skin might lead to friction as they might rub against other skin.
These are a few causes of friction inside and outside the anus –
- Blood clotting
- Anal intercourse
How To Diagnose Skin Tags within the Anal Region
A proper diagnosis can be made with the help of a doctor if you notice a lump or tumor within or anywhere near your anus. As you might not be able to see or feel the bump clearly due to its location, a doctor can help you carry out a physical examination of it.
A visual examination is usually enough to identify if the tumor is a skin tag. Should the bumps be inside your anus, a rectal exam might be performed by your doctor to feel the bump or bulge to identify what kind of skin growth it is.
On occasions where physical examination might not provide enough information, your doctor might perform a biopsy. An anoscopy or sigmoidoscopy might also be done to rule out other rectal conditions, e.g., malignant tumor (cancer).
Once you have the proper diagnosis of what you have around your anal region, you can start looking for treatment options that best suits you.
Treatment Options for Removing Skin Tags Within / Around the Anus
Except they are the source of constant pain, discomfort or distress, you don’t have to remove the skin tags on your body. However, If you prefer to have them removed, talking to a doctor might provide more insight into the form and cause of the skin tags which might help in selecting the appropriate treatment for it.
The four most common methods used by a doctor to remove skin tags include
Cutting off of the skin tags with a sterilized blade with a sharp edge. Your doctor will have the areas to be worked on numb to reduce the pain felt during the cutting.
“Suffocating” the skin tag(s) with a thread or string tied around the base of the skin tag to kill the tissues. The skin tags will fall off after a few weeks. Some do fall off within a couple of days.
Freezing off the skin tag(s). Your doctor will use a freezing medical compound usually liquid nitrogen to kill the skin tag by freezing it. The skin tag would fall off within a couple of days. An anesthetic or topical numbing cream might not be needed as the process also numbs the area.
Burning off the skin tag(s) with the use of a cautery device. Your doctor will have the areas numbed for you with an anesthetic or numbing cream before cauterizing the skin tags to reduce or deaden their sensitivity. This will help with the pain as it reduces it.
There are also treatment options that you can buy over-the-counter or at a store to remove anal skin tags at home.
Surgical Excision: Nail Clipper, Razor Blade, Scissor or Knife.
Ligation: TagBand Kit Remover, Dental Floss, Thread.
Cryotherapy: Dr. Scholls Freeze Away Wart Remover, NitroFreeze, Liquid Nitrogen, etc.
Cauterization: Cautery Pens
You can also use the natural approach method that makes use of plant oils, extracts or juices from fruits. They are also effective but slow in getting rid of skin tags.
Post Treatment Care After Removal
After getting rid of your anal skin tags, you should avoid exercising or strenuous activity that involves the lower region of your body for the time being. This will help reduce pain and promote healing as fast as possible.
Avoid any physical activities that might put too much friction on your anal region.
Avoid putting on tight underwear to avoid irritation.
Should you remove your skin tags at a doctor’s office, you’ll mostly be given a course of antibiotic to help prevent or minimize the risk of infection. You might also be given a topical pain medication that will reduce the pain or sensitivity in the area.
How To Prevent Anal Skin Tags
Your doctor might provide you with some strategies to further prevent the recurrence of anal skin tags. You can also take some measures to prevent or reduce the recurrence of skin tags within or outside your anus. These measures include
Stimulate easy bowel movement with the use of a laxative. Laxative makes your stool soft which helps reduce friction during its passage.
Clean your anus thoroughly after each bowel movement to help reduce friction and irritation that could lead to skin tags.
The anus should be well lubricated before anal intercourse to reduce friction, irritation, and inflammation.