Two men are hugging and smiling for the camera.

Anal Skin Tags

Anal skin tags are quite common, but many patients find them embarrassing to talk about. Anal skin tags are small folds or flaps of skin around the anus. If they do not bother you, leave them alone. However, it is particularly important to have an anorectal exam to make sure there are no other underlying diseases such as warts, hemorrhoids, and cancer.

Skin tags commonly occur with:

  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Constipation and straining
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess skin from hemorrhoids or fissures
  • Intense exercising
  • Crohn’s disease

Skin tags are harmless but can cause irritation, difficulty with hygiene, and be cosmetically unappealing. The primary treatment of skin tags is to avoid aggravating them with things such as diarrhea, constipation, straining, sitting on the toilet for extended periods of time, and excessive wiping.

For cosmetic reasons or displeasure, skin tags can be removed. Most skin tags can be removed with a simple office-based procedure. Under local anesthesia, the skin tag(s) is removed, and the wound is closed with absorbable sutures. The procedure takes about 20 minutes to perform, and you will be able to drive yourself home. The biggest challenge of the procedure is postoperative pain management. The anal region is extremely sensitive, and any procedure can be painful anywhere from several days to 1–2 weeks. The overall recovery period is about 3–4 weeks. It is particularly important to follow all discharge instructions to reduce pain and to assure an excellent cosmetic outcome.

A man and woman laying in bed with cups.