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 treatments are available?
If warts are very small and are located only on the skin around the anus, they may be treated with a 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. While this provides immediate results, it must be performed using either a local anesthetic – such as novocaine – or a general or spinal anesthetic, depending on the number and exact location of warts being treated. It is important that an internal anal examination with an instrument called an anoscope be done by your treating physician to ensure you do not have any inside the anal canal (internal anal warts). Internal anal warts may not be as suitable for treatment by topical medications, and may need to be treated surgically. Additionally, your physician may wish to examine the entire pelvic region to include the vaginal or penile area to look for other warts that may require treatment.
Must I be hospitalized for surgical treatment?
Surgical treatment of anal warts is usually performed as outpatient surgery.
How much time will I lose from work after surgical treatment?
Most people are moderately uncomfortable for a few days after treatment and pain medication may be prescribed. Depending on the extent of the disease, some people return to work the next day, while others may remain out of work for several days to weeks.