Hemorrhoids, anal warts and anal fistulas are 3 different types of growths or spots that can appear in or around the opening of the anus. It’s important to learn the difference between these conditions, as treatment will vary.
Hemorrhoids, Anal Warts and Anal Fistulas
What Causes Hemorrhoids, Anal Warts or Anal Fistulas?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids can form inside the rectum or under the skin by the anus.
What hemorrhoids can cause:
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Low-fiber diet
- Sitting for too long on the toilet
- Straining during bowel movements
Anal warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted disease. Typically, they grow in and around the anus or the genitals.
An anal fistula is a tunnel from the inside of the anus to the skin around it.
A fistula is usually caused by an infection from a blocked or clogged gland inside the anus. The infected area will become an abscess, which is a pocket of swollen tissue and liquid. The abscess will push its way through the skin, creating a tunnel (the fistula) to the anus so the liquid can drain.
What Are the Symptoms?
Common complaints of hemorrhoids, anal warts or anal fistulas can include itching, pain, discomfort or bleeding.
- Bloody streaks on stool
- Itching around the anus
- Pain or discomfort when sitting
- Lumps near the anus
- Discharge from the anus
- Lumps around the anus
- Pain, redness and swelling around the anus
- Pain during bowel movements or urinating
- Foul-smelling discharge near the anus
What Are My Treatment Options?
If you suspect you have hemorrhoids, anal warts or an anal fistula, contact a gastroenterologist to start a treatment plan that’s right for you. Treatments can vary, but may include options like over-the-counter ointment and minimally invasive surgery:
- High-fiber diet
- Topical ointments, available over-the-counter
- Warm baths
- Keeping anus clean
- Fragrance-free towelettes
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Surgery to treat blood clots
- Minimally invasive procedures for recurring hemorrhoids
- Topical medication to freeze or burn warts
- Surgery to remove large warts or internal warts