What are warts?
Warts are common benign skin growths which are objects of concern when they become obvious.
What Causes Warts?
A wart is caused by a virus. Specifically, a human papillomavirus. they infect only humans and contrary to the old wives’ tale, cannot be acquired from frogs or toads. They are acquired from other people and one’s immune system plays a role in determining if you will be infected or not. There are presently over a hundred different types of human papillomaviruses, causing the different appearances of these warts and differences as to where they are found.
Are there different kinds of warts?
- Cutaneous or non-genital – what we call common warts and what we usually see on our skin.
- Genital-mucosal – found on mucosal surfaces like the lips, genital and anal areas. Genital and anal warts in adults are considered to be sexually-transmitted infections.
- Epidermodysplacia verruciformis – a unique susceptiblity to HPV, 50% are inherited with wide-spread warts.
Cutaneous or Skin Warts:
- Verruca vulgaris – common warts which we Filipinos call “kulugo”. They are scaly, rough, spiny small growths which can become quite large and can be found on the skin surface. They occur singly or in groups especially on fingers and toes. Attempts to remove them by burning them off with a cigarette or using a nail cutter tend to make them grow larger or increase in number as you spread the virus and put it in your skin when you try to remove it.
- Verruca plana – are tiny, 2-4 mm, slightly elevated flat warts most frequently on the face, hands and lower legs. Scratching them tends to product a line of flat warts called “koebner phenomenon.”
- Verruca filiformis – a wart with finger-like projections. May appear as a “horn.”
- Plantar and Palmar warts – warts on palms and soles which are thick and may be painful with pressure. They are commonly mistaken as calluses or corns.
- Anogenital warts – genital warts or condyloma acuminate are small to large growths which can be found on genitalia and the anus. They vary in size and can form cauliflower-like projections due to the moist environment.
Extracutaneous or Mucosal warts
These are usually found in the mouth or on the tongue and palate. They are often small, slightly elevated, usually pinkish or white growths. Another location is the cervix, where the warts tend to be flatter. Their visualization may require colposcopy.
How do you get rid of warts?
Most of the treatment involves the destruction of the wart itself. None of the treatment available is directly antiviral or 100% effective, however wart removal carries a high recurrence rate.
- Cryotherapy – liquid nitrogen is applied with a cotton tip or spray.
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- Electrodessication – electricity is used to physically remove/burn the wart off.
- Laser treatment – offers a more controlled depth in burning/removing the wart
- Salicylic acid – commonly used espeically in young children who cannot tolerate local anesthesia injection.
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- Imiquimod – stimulates the immune system and is used for genital warts.
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How to be Wart-Free
The best way to be wart-free is to have your skin properly checked by the right physician – a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist will be able to determine if these skin growths are indeed warts since there are a number of other benign skin growths which may look like warts but aren’t and you might have removed them by mistake. Have the warts safely removed once you have agreed with your dermatologist as to the treatment of your choice. Make sure you are aware of the infectious nature of these growths, so that when you notice a similar growth again, you must go and have your skin checked right away. The smaller it is, the easier to remove and the faster it will heal. If you want to get rid of those ugly warts in 3 days, you might want to check this out! Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.