Condyloma Acuminata or Anal Warts
Condyloma Acuminata, or anal warts, are found in women and men of all ages who are sexually active. They occur in and around the inside of your anus and on the skin of your genital area. The warts are highly contagious and easily spread. They can grow and multiply if left untreated, and may lead to anal cancer in some cases.
Symptoms of Anal Warts
The warts start out as tiny, flesh-colored growths the size of a pinhead, which are often difficult to see and can be either hard or soft to the touch. They seldom cause pain, but signs to watch out for include:
- Bleeding in the anal area, or mucous or clear discharge
- Itching and soreness
- Difficulty cleaning
- Sensation of individual lumps or masses in the anus
- The presence of “clusters” or groups of tiny warts that may resemble a cauliflower-like lesion or mass
The anal warts may grow and change shape, and you might not be aware of them until they cover a larger area.
Primary Causes of Condyloma Acuminata
The main cause of anal warts is the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that spreads through unprotected sexual contact. Although condyloma acuminata affects mainly the anus, you don’t need to have anal sex to develop it. The virus can collect in the vagina and at the base of the scrotum and the penis where it can travel along the perineum to the anus.
Patients with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of contracting condyloma than healthy people, and the condition is contagious whether you develop actual warts or not.
What the Proctologist Will Do
Your doctor will discuss the HPV virus, transmission, risk factors, treatment options, avoidance, recurrence and anal cancer risk. This will involve examination of the anus and perianal skin usually including an internal examination. Care may include testing for other transmitted diseases like HIV if such testing has not been completed recently. If there is involvement of the genital area, care may be coordinated with a gynecologist or urologist.
Depending on their size and location, your doctor will determine the best way to treat your anal warts. Options include:
- Topical home medications for warts located on the skin of the anus
- Local office management with excision or topical acetic acid
- Outpatient surgical removal by cutting or burning the warts
If surgery is necessary, it usually takes place on an outpatient basis. Most patients experience moderate pain and discomfort for a few days after the procedure, and your doctor may prescribe pain medication to help ease it. While some may return to a normal schedule the day following the procedure, others may need longer to recover depending on the extent of the disease.
The Long-Term View
Anal warts can recur or flare up even after treatment because the virus that causes them may still be active in the cells of the surrounding skin and genitals. Your proctologist will need you to come in for regular follow-up visits for several months. If new warts appear, he or she will either treat them in the office or you might need two or three more surgical procedures to eradicate the warts completely.
General guidelines to try to safeguard against recurrence and passing on infection to others include:
- Abstain from sexual contact when possible (only full proof method to avoid infection/reinfection)
- Discuss your condition with all potential sexual partners (they may require evaluation)
- Always use protective barrier measures such as condoms during any sexual activity (does not eliminate risk of transmission)
- Visit your proctologist periodically and have an examination for signs of condyloma acuminata.
The Saleeby & Wessels Proctology Approach
At Saleeby & Wessels, we want you to have confidence to come to us with even the most stressful colon and rectal health problems, including condyloma acuminata. We understand that you might feel embarrassed seeking care for a possible sexually transmitted disease, but remember that 1 in 4 Americans has had an STD at one time or another and genital warts affects over 5 million Americans each year, so you are not alone. Our goal is to provide you with solutions to your problem by treating your symptoms and by helping you be proactive about your colon and rectal health going forward.
Our board-certified colon and rectal surgeons are experts at healing conditions such as condyloma acuminata. We are skilled and experienced surgeons having completed advanced rectal and colon surgical training, as well as general surgical training, and passed the examinations of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.
We provide you with the care and understanding you need and are committed to putting our patients first – every step of the way.