GENITAL & ANAL WARTS
High Resolution Anoscopy, or HRA, is a procedure that allows for examination and evaluation of the anal canal.
Using a small thin round tube called an anoscope, the anal canal is examined with a high resolution magnifying instrument called a colposcope.
Anogenital warts are small, skin-colored or pink growths that form on the vulva (the lips of the vagina), vagina, penis, or anus. They are caused by a HPV. Anogenital warts are often called just “genital warts” or “anal warts”.
The type of HPV that causes most forms of genital warts is not usually dangerous. But other types of HPV can lead to cancer of the cervix (a part inside the woman’s body), penis, or anus. Most people with genital warts have no symptoms (other than the warts). But some people have itching, burning, or tenderness.
No, there is no test, but your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have warts just by doing an exam. He or she might also take small samples of tissue (biopsy) if it is not clear what you have, but that is not usually necessary.
There are several medicines that can help get rid of warts. Some work by slowly destroying the warts. Others work by getting your body’s own infection-fighting system to attack the warts.
Other treatments to remove warts include:
- Cryotherapy, which uses a chemical to freeze warts
- Electrocautery, which uses electricity to burn away warts
- Traditional surgery, which involves cutting away warts
- Laser surgery, which uses light to destroy warts
Yes. There are now vaccines against HPV. They can help prevent infection with most of the forms of HPV that cause warts.
You can also protect yourself by not having sex with anyone who is infected with HPV. But that is hard, because people do not always know that they have the virus. Condoms can help reduce the risk of infection, but they do not totally protect you. The virus can live on places on the skin not covered by a condom.
High Resolution Anoscopy, or HRA, is a procedure that allows for examination and evaluation of the anal canal. Using a small thin round tube called an anoscope, the anal canal is examined with a high resolution magnifying instrument called a colposcope.
First, a physician will perform a digital rectal exam. During a digital rectal exam, the physician will put on a glove and insert a lubricated finger into the anal canal. Then, a lubricated anoscope is placed in the anal canal. Application of a mild acidic liquid onto the anal canal facilitates evaluation of abnormal tissue such as anal dysplasia and internal warts. If indicated, a biopsy can be obtained.
The procedure is performed in the office and generally lasts about 25 minutes. It is usually very well tolerated with mild if any discomfort. Significant risks such as bleeding or infection are extremely rare. Note should be taken that HRA is very different from colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, neither of which can adequately examine the anal canal for the problems being detected by HRA. No bowel prep is needed for this examination but appropriate external hygiene is suggested.
The procedure is used in the treatment and surveillance of anal dysplasia and the prevention of anal cancer. It is performed on patients with an abnormal anal cytology or anal Pap test. Anal Pap tests are obtained on individuals who are at risk for genital or anal HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infections, even in the absence of signs or symptoms of infection.
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