Anal Skin Tags
What are Anal Skin Tags?
The skin around the anus is relatively loose to allow opening for the passage of stool. It is prone to be stretched by enlargement of the underlying hemorrhoid blood vessels. The stretched skin may persist leading to a bump or skin tag.
Anal skin tags are usually due to previous swollen hemorrhoids. This may occur after flare ups of hemorrhoids during pregnancy, external hemorrhoid thrombosis, straining from constipation or diarrhea, heavy lifting, or strenuous exercise.
Small asymptomatic tags are very common. Larger tags are more frequently associated with swelling, itching, heaviness, hygiene problems, and a skin rash.
A proper exam, including anoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is done to rule out underlying rectal conditions.
Enlarged internal hemorrhoids should be banded to reduce swelling, bleeding, and recurrence of tags. Skin infections are treated with anti-fungal creams.
After preparation with anti-bacterial soaps and mild laxatives enlarged tags can be safely removed in the office under a local injection with lidocaine. The use of a small size needle and buffering of the lidocaine allows for a quick numbing of the area. Patients who have drivers may take a mild oral sedative and pain pill prior to the procedure.
One tag is removed per visit to limit pain and complications. The small wound is usually left open and the base is treated to minimize bleeding. Dissolvable sutures are occasionally used to ligate internal hemorrhoids inside the opening of the anus.
Patients relax at home for one day post tag removal. Antibiotic and anti-fungal creams alongside topical analgesics and Nitroglycerin or Diltiazem are used to promote healing and decrease pain. Tag removals are separated at least one month apart to allow complete healing. Infection can lead to delayed healing and may require further antibiotic treatment. High quality custom compound ointments with Nitroglycerin or Diltiazem are available at from our doctors.
Many home remedies are touted on the internet. Anal skin tags are covered with many intense and sensitive nerve endings. The area is covered with bacteria and fungus. Do not attempt removal at home with any type of ligation device as it will lead to intense pain and infection.