What are anal warts?

Anal warts are relatively common. They affect the area around the anus, but can also affect the skin in your genital area. At first, they appear as small blemishes and can grow larger than the size of a pea. They usually do not cause pain or discomfort and, as a result, many people aren’t even aware that they have them.

It’s believed that anal warts are caused by the human papilloma virus, which can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact.

Once discovered, the warts do need to be removed. If not, they will continue to grow larger and multiply. Also, there is medical evidence that the warts can become cancerous if left untreated for a long time.

What is the treatment for anal warts?

When the warts are small and contained in a small area around the anus, they can be treated with medications applied directly to the surface of the warts. This should be performed by a physician to prevent injury to the normal skin surrounding the warts. It usually requires several applications during a period of several weeks.

A quicker method to eliminate the warts is electrical cautery and/or surgery. Laser surgery is also a possible method. All of the above procedures provide immediate results, but must be performed using an anesthetic – either a local, general or spinal anesthetic, depending on the number and location of warts being treated.

In most cases, warts inside the anal canal need to be treated by cauterization or surgical removed. This can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. Depending on the number and extent of the warts, some people can return to work the next day, while others may miss several days.

Will one treatment take care of the problem?

Unfortunately, many patients develop new warts after treatment because the viruses that caused the warts can live in otherwise normal tissue for six months or more before another wart appears.

As these new warts develop, they can usually be treated in our office, using either a chemical solution or the electrical cautery procedure. These treatments usually need to be performed every few weeks initially, then less frequently as fewer and fewer new warts develop.

Sometimes new warts develop so rapidly that a second or even a third outpatient surgery may be recommended.

Follow-up visits are still necessary for a period of several months after the last wart is removed to make certain that no more warts develop from the virus.