known in the medical profession as condyloma, are growths caused
by infection by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are usually
found on the skin around the anus (rectal opening), inside the anal
canal or in the lower rectum.
Anal warts are
usually but not exclusively transmitted through sexual intercourse,
usually anal intercourse, which makes the problem prevalent in the
gay community. It can take from one to six months from time of exposure
to the initial outbreak, however the time span has been known to
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 removed, the virus remains in the
body and may cause another outbreak at any time.
The main problem
to getting quick and effective 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 people, 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 short instrument easily inserted into the anus,
and allows the doctor to see what is going on just inside the rectal
opening, behind the sphincter muscles. If there are any growths
present in the skin of the anal canal, the doctor may require further
testing to determine the exact cause of the problem. In most cases,
however, a qualified doctor has seen many cases of anal warts and
can proceed immediately to a treatment program.
Depending on the number, 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 which cause exfoliation. This procedure
takes place in your doctors office and takes just a few minutes.
If the outbreak is more serious, cauterization is another successful
treatment. First, the area is numbed and then the warts are burned
off. And finally, if the warts are more prevalent than can be handled
with cauterization, the doctor may decide to remove them surgically.
In either case, the treatment is almost always successful and recovery
is a lot less uncomfortable than it might sound.