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What Are Anal Skin Tags?

Anal skin tags are excess skin folds that are present around the anus.

What Causes Anal Skin Tags?

Most of the time, anal skin tags are caused by the underlying problem of external hemorrhoids which may have been present in the past. When hemorrhoids swell and shrink from time to time, they cause the skin to stretch which does not shrink back leaving excess redundant skin.

Less commonly skin tags are associated with other conditions such as anal fissures or chronic bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease.

How do anal skin tags present?

Usually they are noticeable as lumps on the outside of the anal canal that are felt when wiping. They can also cause itching, discharge with anal wetness and burning and occasionally patients have soiling where stool is difficult to clean after bowel movements.

Sometimes lumps in the anal area can be confused for being skin tags. Things that are similar to skin tags but have different causes and treatments are anal warts, anal abscess or anal cancer. You would need to be seen by a colorectal specialist to determine if any of these other causes of lumps is present or if it is simply skin tags.

How are anal skin tags diagnosed?

Most often patients present when they feel an abnormal lump in the anal area which leads to the diagnosis of anal skin tags. It is important that a physician confirm this finding in case what is thought to be just anal skin tags turns out to be something serious like anal abscess or anal cancer.

How are Anal Skin Tags treated?

Most of the time, anal skin tags can be treated with gentle skin care. This includes, avoiding scratching and rubbing in addition to cleansing with water. Avoiding moisture including limiting use of wet wipes also prevents itching. Otherwise, if there are no symptoms with the skin tags they can be left alone.

If the skin tags are bothersome, they can be removed surgically. This is done in either the office or in outpatient surgery. Your colorectal specialist will recommend the best option for you at the time of your consultation with them.