An anal wart is a condition where small warts occur in or around the rectum. They can be yellow, pink, or light brown in color. Most cases are caused by sexual transmission. They can also spread from inanimate objects, such as a shared bath towel. Approximately two-thirds of people who have sexual contact with a partner with genital warts will develop warts, usually within three months of contact.
They are thought to be caused by the human papilloma virus which is relatively contagious. The virus can be transmitted from person to person, almost always by direct contact. The virus can be spread to or from the genitals, anus, mouth, or throat during sexual activities. Risk factors include smoking, using oral contraceptives, having multiple sexual partners, and an early coital age. In addition, individuals who have a history of immunosuppression or anal intercourse are also at risk.
Anal warts usually do not usually cause pain or discomfort. Because of this reason, many individuals with anal warts are not aware that they are present. Anal warts which occur outside the rectum are called perianal; those which occur inside the rectum are called intra-anal and affect the lower inch or two of the rectum.
Women who have genital warts inside the vagina may experience bleeding following sexual intercourse or an abnormal vaginal discharge. Rarely, bleeding or urinary obstruction may occur if the wart involves the urethral opening.
While common warts that appear on the hands and feet are forms of HPV, they are not the same strain of HPV virus that causes anal warts. Contact with an individual inter-mittently affected by common warts will not result in venereal wart transmission, unless the individual also carries a venereal wart strain of the HPV virus.
There are several ways of anal warts treatment, depending on the location, number, and size of the warts. If the warts are small, they can be treated with podophyllin or bichloracetic acid, which are solutions applied directly to the warts intended to cause exfoliation of the warts.
Warts can also be treated using medications applied to them, or special injections at the base of the warts, or by removal. Even when the warts are removed, it is possible to pass on the virus to another person during sexual contact. In some cases a laser can be used to remove the warts.
Surgery can be used to remove precancerous and cancerous cells from the anus. However, in many cases the precancerous or cancerous cells may recur.
The treatment modality should be changed if a patient has not improved substantially. The majority of genital warts respond within 3 months of therapy. The response to treatment and its side effects should be evaluated throughout the course of therapy.