Anal skin tags

Anal skin tags are common and usually harmless skin growths that hang off the skin around the outside of the anus. They may be mistaken for warts or piles (haemorrhoids). They are not contagious, but may be due to inflammation, a lesion, anal injury or skin left behind after treatment for a haemorrhoid.

Although anal skin tags are not a risk to health, they may cause problems in maintaining cleanliness after using the toilet. Skin tags may also trap moisture and cause irritation. They may also become irritated through contact (rubbing) with clothing or the movement associated with sitting.

Anal skin tags may need to be checked by a doctor to make sure they are harmless and not a malignant or cancerous growth. It is also important to investigate if any associated symptoms like bleeding are present.

Anal skin tags can be removed by a excision under anaesthesia. It may be possible to do this under local anaesthesia though most patients find it uncomfortable due to the position. They may also be associated with haemorrhoids and additional haemorrhoid treatment may be required at the same time.

Recovery should be quick after the procedure without much pain afterwards, however the area of excision can be sore.

Hygiene is important afterwards because of where the tags were and the obvious risk of infection from faeces.

Aftercare may include the use of laxatives, painkillers and showers or sitz baths to help soothe the area and give pain relief.

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