Anal warts, known in the medical profession as condyloma, are growths caused by infection by the human pappilloma virus (HPV) and are usually found on the skin around the anus (rectal opening), within the anal canal or at the lower rectum. Anal warts are usually but not exclusively transmitted through sexual intercourse, usually anal sex, which makes the issue prevalent in the gay community. It can take from one to six months from time of exposure to the initial outbreak, but sometimes the time span has been known to take years.
Before and after the outbreak, the virus remains in the body but is inactive. Even if the outbreak is successfully treated and the symptoms have been completely eliminated, the virus remains in the body and may cause another outbreak at any time. The main problem to getting quick and efficient treatment of anal warts is that there are usually no visible symptoms. There may or may not be small growths in the anal area. For other individuals, there may be some itching, burning, bleeding or mysterious moisture in the area. Usually, the patient becomes alarmed at the irregularities in a rather sensitive area and seeks diagnoses quickly.
Qualified medical practitioners commonly use a device called an anoscope, which is a brief tool easily inserted into the anus, and allows the doctor to find out what is happening just within the rectal opening, behind the rectal muscles. If there are any growths within the skin of the anal canal, the physician may require additional testing to ascertain the exact cause of the problem. In most cases, however, a qualified physician has seen many cases of anal warts and can proceed immediately into a treatment program.
Based on the quantity, size and exact location of anal warts, there are a variety of treatments available.
Small warts can be treated with podophyllin or bichloracetic acid applied directly to the warts that cause exfoliation. This process takes place in your doctor’s office and takes only a couple minutes.
When the outbreak is more serious, cauterization is another powerful treatment. The area is numbed and the warts are burnt off. And finally, if the warts are more prevalent than can be handled with cauterization, the doctor may opt to remove them surgically.
In either case, the treatment is almost always effective and healing is a lot less uncomfortable than it may seem.