Thousand Oaks Proctology

Thousand Oaks Proctology

Dr. David B. Rosenfeld, M.D.

Hemorrhoids | Colonoscopy | Proctology

341 S Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91361

Your Comfort Matters: Understanding and Treating Anal Skin Tags

Table of Contents

Skin tags are a common skin growth that can happen to anyone all over the body, including anal skin tags. They are usually found on the neck, armpit, groin, and anus. While skin tags usually do not cause problems and aren’t painful, many people want them removed due to cosmetic concerns and sensitivity.

This is especially true of a true anal skin tag which can be an uncomfortable topic for many patients who might be embarrassed of them. To help manage anal skin tags, it’s important to understand the two types of anal skin tags: true anal skin tags and skin tags caused by swollen hemorrhoids. Causation for them is different, but management and treatment are similar. 

What are Anal Skin Tags?

What are Anal Skin Tags scaled e1704403926126

Anal symptoms themselves usually do not cause any symptoms, but they can sometimes lead to discomfort or irritation due to their location and potential interaction with clothing, hygiene, or bowel movements. 

Symptoms associated with anal skin tags include:

Itching – Skin tags around the anal area can cause itching, especially if they rub against clothing or become irritated by sweat and moisture. 

Discomfort – If they are pulled or irritated during activities such as wiping, they may become tender or sore.

Bleeding – Although rare, skin tags may bleed if they are stretched or injured.

External Hemorrhoid Tags vs True Skin Tags

External hemorrhoid skin tags and true anal skin tags are two different conditions that can affect the anal area, but they have distinct characteristics. The differences between hemorrhoid skin tags and true anal skin tags are:

External Hemorrhoids and External Hemorrhoid Tags

Hemorrhoids are venous cushions within the anal canal (internal) and around the anus (external). External Hemorrhoids can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, swelling discomfort, and a painful anal lump (thrombosed hemorrhoid).

The common causes of external hemorrhoid symptoms include straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation or diarrhea, pregnancy, obesity, and prolonged sitting. There are several ways to treat hemorrhoids, including over the counter ointment, lifestyle changes, Sitz baths, and adding raw psyllium fiber like PERFECT P.O.O.P psyllium to your diet.

When external hemorrhoids swell, they stretch the overlying anal skin. Once the venous cushion swelling resolves, many times the skin remains stretched which can be bothersome. The stretched skin will not resolve with ointments or time. As the hemorrhoid continues to swell the stretched skin becomes larger.

True Anal Skin Tags

True anal skin tags are small, benign growths of skin that can appear around the anal area and are attached to the skin by a thin stalk. They are typically painless and often have a fleshy or slightly raised appearance with varying sizes. A tag with a broader base is due to stretched skin from the swelling of the external hemorrhoids and is not a true anal skin tag.

True anal skin tags typically aren’t painful, but they can be uncomfortable to those who have them, especially around the anal region, causing irritation and even itching. They can develop for a variety of reasons including friction or trauma from wiping too hard. Due to their location and shape, many people mistake anal skin tags for hemorrhoids.

Anyone can develop skin tags, there are certain factors that can increase the risk of their occurrence:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Frequent Anal Irritation
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Poor Hygiene

How Hemorrhoid Skin Tags and True Anal Skin Tags are Diagnosed

Anal skin tags are not dangerous and often do not need treatment. However, if you suspect that you have an anal skin tag talk to a proctologist, like Dr. Rosenfeld, or primary caregiver will be able to examine the site and diagnose the condition.

They will suggest excision of the tag, which is the surgical removal of the skin tag, performed under local anesthesia. True anal tags come from a thin stalk and therefore are exercised in the office with very little post procedure pain and recovery.

External hemorrhoid tags are also removed in the office, however; since the base of the skin is wider and the external hemorrhoid vein also needs to be excised, the recovery is 3-7 days.   While you may be tempted to try at-home treatments, such as over-the-counter creams or ligation procedures, it’s better to speak with a professional. 

A doctor will be able to diagnose the condition, to make sure it’s not something else, and treat it, if needed, with the most suitable option.

Treatments for Anal Skin Tags: Do At-home Treatments Work?

While you may be tempted to try at-home treatments, such as over-the-counter creams or ligation procedures, it’s better to speak with a professional. At-home treatments for anal skin tags often cause discomfort and are not very effective at removing them. A doctor will be able to diagnose the condition, to make sure it’s not something else, and treat it, if needed, with the most suitable option.

How to Prevent Anal Skin Tags?

Prevent Anal Skin Tags

While it’s not always possible to completely prevent the development of anal tags, there are certain measures you can take to reduce the risk of them happening. Some of these strategies include:

Having good hygiene – Keeping the anal area clean and dry can help prevent irritation and friction that might contribute to skin tag formation. Use mild, fragrance-free soap and pat the area dry after washing.

Avoid excessive straining – Straining during bowel movements can put pressure on the area and increase the risk of skin tags and hemorrhoids. Taking PERFECT P.O.O.P. raw psyllium fiber supplement will lead to a long, solid, soft and clean bowel movement, reduce the need to strain and the amount of wiping after pooping.

Stay active & maintain a healthy weight – Excess weight can contribute to friction and put pressure on the anal area, while exercising can help promote the circulation to the area and lower the risk of skin tag formation.

Avoid sitting for prolonged periods – If you sit a lot, try to stand and move around every 30-40 minutes for at least 3-5 minutes during the day. Sitting for long periods of time puts additional pressure on your anal region and can contribute to the formation of anal skin tags.

Talk to your doctor – If you notice any skin changes or growths in the anal area, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation.

It’s important to note that even with preventive measures, some people may still develop true anal skin tags or external hemorrhoid skin tags due to factors beyond their control. If you have concerns about anal skin tags or any other conditions, seeking medical advice from a healthcare provider is advisable.