What are anal warts?
Anal warts (also called “condyloma acuminata”) are a condition that affects the area around and inside the anus. They may also affect the skin of the genital area. They first appear as tiny spots or growths, perhaps as small as the head of a pin, and may grow quite large and cover the entire anal area. Usually, they do not cause pain or discomfort to afflicted individuals and patients may be unaware that the warts are present. Some patients will experience symptoms, such as itching, bleeding, mucus discharge and/or a feeling of a lump or mass in the anal area.
What causes anal warts?
They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is transmitted from person to person by direct contact. HPV is considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You do not have to have anal intercourse to develop anal warts. Very rarely, anogenital warts may be passed on from hand warts
Do anal warts need to be removed?
Yes. If they are not removed, the warts usually grow larger and multiply. Left untreated, the warts may lead to an increased risk of cancer in the affected area.
What treatments are available?
If warts are very small and are located only on the skin around the anus, they may be treated by sexual medicine specialists with topical medication. They may also be treated by freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen or removed surgically. Surgery typically involves cutting or burning the warts off. Sometimes internal anal warts may be present and these need surgical removal. When warts are extensive, surgery may be done in two or three stages to prevent excessive scarring near the anus. As anal warts are an infection recurrence is common and a review by sexual medicine team is advisable.