What Are the Treatments for Anal Warts?by Josienita Borlongan
Caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), anal warts, also known as condyloma, are growths affecting the skin around the anus, in the anal canal or in the lower rectum. Sexual contact is usually how you would get anal warts. Anal warts may affect the male (penis or scrotum) or female (vagina or labia) genitals. Having anal warts can cause discomfort, irritation, bleeding, itchiness and difficulty in bowel movements. Choosing the proper treatment depends on the location, number and size of the warts.
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen. Administered by trained health-care providers, this method destroys warts by thermal-induced cytolysis. Only trained professionals should perform cryotherapy because incorrect dosage may result in complications or may render the treatment ineffective.
Use of liquid nitrogen will freeze anal warts. Applying liquid nitrogen to warts causes a little discomfort. In some cases, you may feel pain after application of the liquid nitrogen, followed by necrosis (death of a tissue) and sometimes blistering. For larger warts, local anesthesia may be necessary to lessen the pain. To be effective, applying liquid nitrogen treatments every one to three weeks for a total of two to four times is necessary. Your doctor may use cryotherapy on small or big, single or multiple, flat, scattered and bulging warts that appear on the surface of the skin of the anus. If your doctor does not see any improvement, he may recommend another type of treatment.
Trichloroacetic Acid or Bichloroacetic Acid
Both trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and bichloroacetic acid (BCA) destroy warts by chemical coagulation of proteins. TCA solutions have a tendency to damage adjacent tissues because they can spread rapidly due to their low viscosity, similar to water. Your health-care provider should apply TCA and BCA sparingly and allow them to dry before you sit or stand. Applying TCA and BCA can be painful because of their acidic nature. Talc powder, soap or sodium bicarbonate can neutralize the pain.
A trained professional will use 80 to 90 percent TCA or BCA if you have a few, small moist warts on the skin surrounding the anus. He will apply a small amount on the warts and allow the solutions to dry. Drying will make the solutions turn white with a look similar to frosting. Repeating this treatment weekly may be necessary to completely remove multiple or bigger warts.
Surgical therapy is the most effective treatment for anal warts. It usually eliminates warts at a single visit. Surgery provides immediate results, but it requires local, general or spinal anesthetic, depending on the number and exact location of warts. Surgery is applicable on all locations (skin around the anus, in the anal canal or in the lower rectum) you can find anal warts. Surgery works on single and multiple warts. Doctors recommend surgery when other forms of treatments do not have effective results. In addition, warts inside the anal canal or warts that are huge (similar to a pea) usually are not suitable for treatment by medications; therefore, surgery may be the only option.
Trained health-care professionals will perform tangential excision (shaving) using a pair of fine scissors, scalpel or by curettage to remove anal warts. You do not have to stay long in the hospital for this procedure. Doctors perform surgical treatment of anal warts as an outpatient surgery at their offices.
- surgeon with scalpel image by kryptajuliett from Fotolia.com