Anal skin tags, or perianal skin tags, are harmless growths around the anus area that cause no pain.
These bumps can be single, or multiple, and are non-cancerous.
Skin tags can grow anywhere in the body, especially in places that have skin folds like in the armpits, groin, etc.
The skin tags on the anus are usually small in size, ranging in a few millimeters or less. They might be the same skin color, or a bit darker.
Although they do not pose any health issue, anal skin tags can bring discomfort and cosmetic disadvantages.
This article would explain the causes of anal skin tags, and other facts about anal skin tags that you should know.
Difference between anal skin tag and hemorrhoids
Many people confuse anal skin tag with hemorrhoids because of the common location. However, there are notable differences between a perianal skin tag and hemorrhoid (also known as pile).
A hemorrhoid is a medical condition where a vein of the rectum is swollen and protrudes from the anus, while anal skin tags are benign growths around the anus.
Hemorrhoids are very painful, especially when the person is in a sitting position, but anal tags are painless.
The lightest touch on hemorrhoid would cause bleeding, but anal skin tags do not bleed even if you touch them.
Hemorrhoids are colored red or purple because of swollen veins. Skin tags, on the other hand, have the same color as the skin or might be a bit darker.
Difference between anal skin tag and warts
Warts is another condition that is commonly confused with anal skin tag. The differences between warts and anal skin tags are physiological and anatomical.
Warts are infections around the anus that are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They are mostly gotten via unprotected sexual intercourse with a carrier.
Unlike anal skin tags that are small in size, warts grow without boundaries. If not noticed early, warts could grow to cover the entire anus area and the genitals.
This disease might come with discomfort and slight itching, but a major symptom of warts is a burning itch. The burning itch from warts is very discomforting and would cause bleeding if the warts are touched.
Also, a wart has a rough surface, unlike anal skin tags that just feel like your skin.
What are the causes of anal skin tag?
Skin tags on the anus can be an effect of different actions or health conditions. Here are some of the causes of anal skin tag:
Friction is one of the common causes of perianal skin tags. Since the anus is made of loose skins that surround the opening, there might be friction during some activities like exercise and prolonged sitting.
Wearing tight clothes could also cause friction between the skins of the anus.
If friction is continuous, skin tags might form around the anus.
Watery stool irritates the skin around the anus as the stool is acidic. Also, using rough tissue paper to wipe the anus continuously would irritate the skin of the anus.
A combined effect of both factors might cause perianal skin tags after some time.
After some conditions, like anal fissures, and the anus heals, anal skin tags might also appear.
Some anal skin tag might come from hemorrhoids.
When the protruded veins of a hemorrhoid shrink back inside, the parts of the skin that came out with it might not also shrink. These skin protrusions stay and form anal skin tags (hemorrhoid skin tags).
- Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of the intestines. It is also associated with diarrhea(watery stool) and constipation as the case might be.
Frequent watery stools might irritate the skin around the anus and hard stools would stretch them. Thereby causing anal skin tags in the long run.
Can anal skin tags be removed?
Anal skin tag can be removed, but never try removing them by yourself. It is not necessary to remove the anal skin tag but if you still intend to, your doctor would know the best technique to use.
Removal of anal skin tags in the hospital is usually a fast and simple procedure. However, the doctor would want to confirm that there is no underlying cause, like hemorrhoids.
The doctor would remove the skin tag either by surgical excision, chemotherapy, or laser therapy.;
Surgical exclusion entails cutting off the perianal skin tag with surgical procedures.
Using cryotherapy to remove anal skin tags entails using liquid nitrogen to freeze the tags. After some days, the tags would fall off by themselves.
On the other hand, laser therapy would burn the tags. After burning, the remaining parts would fall off on their own.
Can anal skin tag become cancerous?
This disease are not cancerous but form a habit to always visit your doctor if you notice any growth on your skin.
This might help to notice some conditions early like skin cancer, warts, etc.
Some of the signs you should watch out for on perianal skin tags before visiting a doctor include;
- Changes in the size of the tag.
- Different colors other than your skin color on the anal skin tag
- Occasionally bleeding
- Sores on the skin tag
These signs might indicate another medical condition and should be checked by a medical doctor.
How to prevent anal skin tag
Anal skin tags cannot be fully prevented, but you can reduce the chances with these tips.
- Maintain a healthy body weight
Friction between the skin around the anus occurs more often in people with large body mass.
Therefore, having a healthy body weight would reduce the chances of friction and skin tags on the skin around the anus.
- Avoid using hard tissue paper to wipe the anus
You should use a moist wipe that would clean the anus properly without irritating it.
- Eat dietary fiber regularly
Dietary fiber helps improve bowel movements to prevent constipation and other gut issues. It can be gotten from different fruits and vegetables like mangoes, etc.
- Put on good underwear
To reduce friction, consider wearing fitting underwear that is preferably made from cotton.
Anal skin tags are growths on the skin around the anus that are chased by friction. They are harmless and don’t necessarily need to be removed.
Skin tags in the anus should not be mistaken for hemorrhoids or warts as they are notably different.
Do not try removing anal skin tags by yourself but go to a doctor instead. Better still, you can reduce the chances of having perianal skin tags by maintaining good body weight and wearing fitting underwear.