Anal warts (anal condylomas) are growths that form in and around the anus, due to infection from the human papilloma virus. They are contagious and usually spread by sexual or skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Warts may also be present on the genitals, groin, thighs, throat and mouth. Anal warts are mostly painless and are rarely associated with bleeding, itching or discharge. Left untreated, they can spread covering the anal area and may turn cancerous.
Your doctor will decide on treatment depending on the size, number and location of the warts. Small external warts with limited spread are treated with local application of chemicals that cause the warts to slough or shed. This usually takes a few minutes in your doctor’s office and is repeated over several weeks. You may be prescribed an ointment for home use to supplement this therapy. Electric current, freezing or laser may also be used to destroy the warts. Surgery is performed under local or regional anesthesia when warts are extensive. A special tool is used to excise the warts. Following surgery, you may experience some discomfort for which your doctor prescribes pain medication.
Follow-up visits that extend over several months are essential to treat the eruption of new warts as the virus may still be present in the tissues. You are advised to refrain from sexual activity during this period until further instructions from your physician. Along with your treatment, evaluation of sexual partners is recommended.