Anal Warts

What are anal warts?

Anal warts, or condylomata acuminata, is a condition that affects the area around the anus in genital area. Warts first appear as small growth and may enlarge and expand to cover the entire anal area. Warts are not usually painful, and many patients may be unaware that warts are present. Warts may also develop hidden on the inside of the anal canal. Some patients will experience symptoms such as itching, discomfort, bleeding, mucus discharge, and/ or a feeling of a lump or mass in the anal area.

What causes anal warts?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted from person to person by direct contact. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You do not have to have anal intercourse to develop anal warts.

Do anal warts always need to be removed?

Usually, yes. If warts are not removed, the warts may grow larger and multiply. Left untreated, the warts may lead to a mildly increased risk of cancer in the affected area.

What treatments are available?

Small flat warts on the outside skin around the anus may be treated with topical medications or creams. Warts may also be treated with liquid nitrogen, which freezes the warts. Surgery typically involves numbing the area and removing the warts. Although surgery is effective and provides immediate results, and requires either local or general (“twilight”) anesthetic, depending on the extent and location of warts. It is important that an internal anal examination with an instrument called an anoscope be done by your physician to ensure that you do not have anal warts inside the anal canal, known as internal anal warts. Internal anal warts may not be as suitable for treatment by topical medications, and may need to be treated surgically. In addition, your physician may wish to examine the entire pelvic region, including the genital area, to look for other warts that may require treatment. Testing for other sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV) may be recommended, depending on risk factors or other symptoms.

Must I be hospitalized for surgical treatment?

No. Surgical treatment of anal warts is usually performed as outpatient “same day” surgery.

How much time will I lose from work after surgical treatment?

Most people are moderately uncomfortable for a few days after surgery; pain medication may be prescribed. Depending on the extent of treated warts, some people return to work the next day, while others may remain out of work for several days to weeks. Dr. Schultzel will be able inform you on how much time off from work you will need.

Will a single treatment cure the problem?

When warts are extensive, your surgeon may wish to perform the surgery in stages. In addition, warts may sometimes return after surgery and require additional treatments. Since warts may regrow after several months, repeat checkups following treatment are important. Patients with certain precancerous changes or weakened immune systems (such as patients with HIV or those taking transplant medications ) may require lifelong monitoring of the area.

What can be done to avoid getting these warts again?

In some cases, warts may require repeatedly after successful removal, because the virus that causes the warts often persists in a dormant state in body tissues. discuss with your physician how often you should be evaluated for recurrent warts. abstain from sexual contact with individuals who have anal (or genital) warts. Because individuals may be unaware that they have this condition, sexual abstinence, condom protection or limiting sexual contact to a single partner will reduce, though not completely eliminate, your potential exposure to the contagious virus that causes these warts. As a precaution, sexual partners should be checked for warts and other sexually transmitted diseases, even if they have no symptoms.

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