Warts are small growths that are caused on the skin due to a virus from the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. These non cancerous growths are caused when the virus triggers extra skin cell growth which makes the skin in that area hard and thick.

The virus does not affect everyone who comes in contact with it. People suffering with skin conditions like eczema or who have skin injury are particularly susceptible to the virus. Kids and teens are also at a higher risk of developing warts as their immune system is not equipped to fight the virus like that of adults.

Warts are also highly contagious. So a direct skin contact or using objects like razors or towels of a person suffering from the skin ailment may lead to contracting the disease yourself.

Types Of Warts:
While there are different types of warts that exist, we have listed below the major types of warts:

  • Common Warts: Common warts are small in size and are hard and bumpy. These flesh colored bumps with rounded tops usually grow on your toes and fingers.
  • Flat Warts: Flat warts usually appear on the face, thighs and arms. As the name suggests, they are flat and are brownish, pinkish or slightly yellowish. And even though they are small in size, they appear in large numbers.
  • Plantar Warts: Often mistaken with calluses,  Plantar Warts grow on the soles of your feet. These warts can make it difficult to walk as there is a lingering feeling of a pebble being stuck in the shoe. They are flat and thick with a black dot on their surface. There might be either a single wart or a cluster of them.
  • Filiform Warts: Filiform warts are of skin color and they appear around the nose, eyes and mouth region.
  • Periungual Warts: Periungual warts occur in the nails and can be very painful. They also affect nail growth.
  • Genital Warts: These warts are sexually transmitted from an infected person. These are small skin colored bumps which appear in the genital area.

 

Treatments Available For Warts
Most warts go away on their own. They take from a few weeks to a few years to disappear completely. You can either use topical applications or can visit a doctor if your wart is changing  colors, is painful or is in sensitive areas like genitals and face. Here are the treatment options available for warts:

Topical Applications
Gels, ointments and creams with salicylic acid have proved to be relieving for warts  It is important to note that to ensure that salicylic acid does not destroy the skin around the wart, you must only apply the cream or gel on the wart and protect the healthy skin with petroleum jelly.

Cryotherapy
This method uses liquid nitrogen which is sprayed or applied on the affected area. This procedure destroys the cells present in the wart by freezing them. One may develop a blister which scabs and falls off within a week or two. One can see the results in 2 to 4 sessions.

Electrofulguration Or Curettage Of The Lesion
A topical anesthetic cream is applied on the affected area and then radio frequency or electrocautery is used to remove the desiccated surface of the lesion.

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Frequently asked questions

We now have an FAQ list that we hope will help you answer some of the more common ones.

1. What is a wart?

It is a benign skin growth caused by Human Papillomavirus which is of various subtypes.

2. What are the various types of warts?

Common warts are rough, irregular looking growths which are found on any part of the body.

Plane warts are the ones which look flat-topped and are generally found on the face. Filiform ones are called as they have digitate or finger-like projections. Mosaic warts are a group of warts occurring together. Genital warts or condyloma are found in the private or genital area. Plantar warts are found on the feet. Last but not least, sublingual and periungual warts are found under or near the nail bed.

3. Are all warts sexually transmitted?

Only genital warts caused by some subtypes are sexually transmitted in nature and can be cancerous in the future. Most of the other warts are harmless.

4. Can warts be cured?

Warts are caused by a virus which is hidden from the immune system. All the treatments are aimed to stimulate immunity and initiate defense action against the virus. Here all measures can help in control but cannot guarantee a cure.

5. What are the treatment modalities?

  1. Salicylic lactic acid in a colloidal base.
  2. Cryotherapy– Liquid nitrogen is sprayed or gently applied on the affected area and the area is frozen and thawed to complete one cycle. The area may look fluffy for some time and may even blister but the response is seen in 2 to 4 sessions.
  3. Electrofulguration or curettage of the lesion – using radio frequency or electrocautery to remove the desiccated surface of the lesion. A topical anesthetic cream is applied before the treatment is initiated.

6. What can I do to prevent the spread of the wart?

Avoid using same towels, slippers, and handkerchief of the patient. Also, avoid using wet floors in common places. Do not scrub the skin too vigorously.

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