An often frustrating and embarrassing condition, hemorrhoids occur when veins in the anus or lower rectum become swollen and inflamed. Hemorrhoids can be either internal or external, with symptoms including itching, swelling, general discomfort, and even bleeding. Occasionally, hemorrhoidal skin tags may also form, leading to further complications.
A hemorrhoidal skin tag is a soft, shapeless mass of flesh or a flap of skin that forms as a result of an existing hemorrhoid. The skin tags form in and around the anus. Individuals may not even know they have hemorrhoidal skin tags unless they feel them while wiping after a bowel movement.
If an individual heals an external hemorrhoid at home without surgery, the hemorrhoid may leave behind a skin tag. This skin tag can then lead to another even larger external hemorrhoid due to its close proximity to the original inflamed vein. Skin tags may also form because of other anorectal trauma or inflamed lesions. Even wearing tight underwear may contribute to hemorrhoidal skin tag formation.
Hemorrhoidal skin tags often cause no noticeable symptoms, according to Hemorroid.net. However, if fecal matter becomes trapped beneath the skin tag, it can lead to itching and further inflammation. Skin tags only cause pain if there's another underlying rectal problem. A doctor should be consulted if skin tags become sensitive or painful.
Individuals suffering itching due to hemorrhoidal skin tags can treat the condition with thorough cleaning of the affected area. Gentle cleansers, such as witch hazel or aloe vera extract, may help remove any trapped fecal matter. Unless the skin tags cause complications, there's no real need to remove them. However, if the skin tags lead to anxiety, severe itching and other hygienic issues, individuals may opt to have them removed. Physicians can typically exact hemorrhoidal skin tags on an out-patient basis using only a local anesthetic. Lasers may also be used to eradicate skin tags and resurface the skin tissue to address any cosmetic concerns. Some commercial products claim to be able to remove skin tags, allowing for treatment in the privacy of one's own home.
The decision to remove hemorrhoidal skin tags through surgery should not be taken lightly. Any surgery in the anal area tends to cause postoperative pain during the recovery process, which often includes further activity restrictions. Full recovery time may take weeks. Finally, while people often confuse them with cancerous growths, skin tags are benign and present no serious health concerns.