What are anal skin tags?
Anal skin tags are benign, harmless skin flaps or nodules that form on the outer edge of the anal outlet around the anal entrance. Anal tags are covered by the anal skin. They are skin-colored, do not hurt, may be isolated or multiple, and feel soft or coarse. Anal skin tags can vary in size – from a few millimeters to a few centimeters. The german term for anal skin tag, “Mariske” comes from Latin and means big fig. There are countless other terms for anal skin tags that are in common synonymous use, for example: anal folds, perianal folds, skin flaps, anal lobules, anal polyps or perianal fibromas.
Anal skin tags can form primarily. No organic cause can be found for this. In addition, there are secondary anal skin tags, which often develop as a result of another disease, for example, perianal vein thrombosis.
Anal skin tags- frequency and age
Anal skin tagsform in many people. For example, about 75 percent of women and 70 of men develop skin folds around the anal opening during their lifetime. At a younger age, single anal skin tags usually develop, later it can become several folds of skin. They do not regress. Anal skin tags occur in people of all ages, even in babies. In women, they occur in younger years of life (second decade of life), in men somewhat later (fourth decade of life). The risk of marisk increases with age.
Anal skin tags: Causes and risk factors
Doctors distinguish two forms of anal skin tags – depending on the cause. In primary anal skin tags, no organic cause can be identified and the reasons for their development remain obscure. “Idiopathic” is what doctors call it. They are the most common.
In addition, there are secondary anal skin tags, which are associated with a disease. The following causes of secondary anal skin tags may be considered:
- Chronic anal fissure associated with inflammation – skin folds form.
- Healed perianal vein thrombosis – anal skin tags sometimes remain.
- Surgical procedures, for example the operation of anal fistulas or hemorrhoids
- Perianal infections or stool particles that cause inflammation – anal skin tags could develop as the anal mucosa attempts to repair itself.
- Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Scientists suspect that some risk factors may promote anal skin tags – but the connections have not been proven. The following factors may be involved:
- Frequent, thin stools that irritate the sensitive anal mucosa and cause inflammation.
- Pregnancies: Strikingly often anal skin tags form during pregnancy and after delivery.
- Overstretching of the anal mucosa
- Excessive anal hygiene
- Underwear too tight
Symptoms: Anal skin tags usually do not cause any symptoms
Anal skin tags very rarely cause symptoms. At most, they can be a hygienic or cosmetic problem. The skin folds are difficult to clean and fecal debris can accumulate there. Some therefore overdo it with anal hygiene and irritate the skin mechanically. The same effect has too tight underwear. In addition, the warm, moist environment in the skin folds provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria or fungi. They can settle there, multiply and cause inflammation.
Then the following symptoms can occur with anal skin tags:
- Skin redness
- Spotting on toilet paper or in underwear
If the symptoms do not subside with self-treatment, you should consult your doctor. The right person to contact for anal skin tags is first your family doctor, who may refer you to a specialist in proctology.
Anal skin tags: diagnosis with us
Experienced physicians often recognize anal skin tags at first glance. Typical are the skin folds grouped around the anal opening. Unlike hemorrhoids, anal skin tags do not swell when you squeeze. Diagnosis can usually be made by visual inspection, palpation with a finger, and possibly examination with a proctoscope (reflection of the anus).
It is important in the diagnosis to rule out other diseases. Examples include hemorrhoids, anal genital warts, anal fibroids, or anal cancer (anal carcinoma).
Anal skin tags: prevention, early detection, prognosis
In many cases, the causes of anal skin tags are unknown. Thus, you can not really prevent the development of the skin wrinkles either. Be sure to maintain good anal hygiene, but don’t overdo it with cleaning. This is because all the wiping and scrubbing in the anal region can strain the sensitive anal skin and trigger inflammation. It is also better not to wear underwear that is too tight – it can also mechanically irritate the skin.
In addition, have conditions such as perianal vein thrombosis or chronic anal fissure adequately treated. As a result, anal skin tags may develop. In addition, there are some preventive measures for both diseases. Some you can even do yourself and avoid inflammation in the anal area.
Specific measures for the early detection of anal skin tags are not known. This would also make little sense, because the skin folds are harmless and usually do not cause any symptoms. In general, if the anal skin tags cause problems, for example, inflammation, always see your doctor.
Anal skin tags progression and prognosis
The course and prognosis for anal skin tags are good. The skin folds do not tend to grow further. However, they also do not regress on their own. The skin folds can cause repeated inflammation, which is unpleasant. Also, the actually soft anal skin tags can harden due to the inflammation and form coarse knots.
Anal skin tags: treatment depending on symptoms
In most cases, anal skin tags do not cause symptoms and treatment is not necessary. The skin folds are harmless and we usually do not need to remove them. However, anal skin tags can become inflamed when irritating factors affect the sensitive anal skin.