Anal skin tags are common, typically harmless growths that develop on the outside of the anus. When you feel around, you may notice that they feel like warts or hemorrhoids. Skin tags can appear anywhere on the body, although they are most commonly the result of irritation or friction. You’re more likely to develop anal skin tags if you’re pregnant, overweight, dealing with chronic constipation or hemorrhoids.
Here at Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists, our board-certified colon and rectal surgeon, Lisa Perryman, MD, treats anal skin tags and helps patients prevent them from recurring.
What symptoms do anal skin tags cause?
Anal skin tags usually aren’t painful. However, they may itch and cause some discomfort, depending on how many you have and their size. Many patients have more than one anal skin tag. They may feel like small bumps on the anus and bother you cosmetically. For an accurate diagnosis, see Dr. Perryman for an examination.
Preventing anal skin tags
Managing underlying issues is the best way to prevent anal skin tags. Here are some of the primary issues that contribute to the development of anal skin tags and how to prevent them:
Keep stools soft and easy to pass
Constipation is one of the main contributors to the development of anal skin tags. Over the short term, a stool softener can help. However, if constipation is chronic, it may be a sign of another issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.
Tell Dr. Perryman if you’re dealing with chronic constipation. Staying well-hydrated and boosting your fiber intake can help soften the stool and improve constipation.
Prevent and manage hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids that progress and grow large can stretch the skin of the anus, and once they shrink, they can leave a skin tag behind.
Because straining during bowel movements is one of the most common causes of hemorrhoids, avoiding constipation and keeping the stools soft and easy to pass is the best way to lower the chances of hemorrhoids. If you’re prone to hemorrhoids, see Dr. Perryman to have them treated as soon as possible so that they don’t progress.
Friction is another contributor to anal skin tags. If you’re having an issue with skin tags, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear or pants. Additionally, women dealing with anal skin tags should avoid wearing thong underwear, since the fabric can cause significant friction.
Prevent anal fissures
Anal fissures are another issue we see causing anal skin tags. An anal fissure is a tear in the delicate tissue that lines the anus. Frequently, a small anal tag develops at the base of the fissure.
As with hemorrhoids, constipation is the most common cause of anal fissures. Taking steps to prevent constipation reduces the risk of anal fissures.
How are anal skin tags treated?
Gentle skin care can help anal skin tags that aren’t causing problems. Avoid scratching, rubbing, and friction. If your skin tags are bothersome, Dr. Perryman can remove them. Excision is often the treatment of choice and is typically a brief, nonsurgical office procedure.
If something feels out of the ordinary around your bottom, see a health care provider. For help with skin tags, call or message our Parker, Colorado, office to schedule a visit with Dr. Perryman.