Warts are small growths or raised bumps that appear on your skin, majorly caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. It has affected humans for thousands of years. Generally, they are not harmful, but ugly, embarrassing and contagious. It can appear like a solid blister or a growth with rough texture.

Quick Notes

  • The virus that causes it, HPV, has more than 100 types.
  • The outlook of a wart depends on the part of the body it is located and skin thickness.
  • Individuals with suppressed immunity are at risk of having it
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  • Often, warts disappear within 1 to 5 years without medical treatment; however treatments are available for large warts, found in sensitive areas.
  • Warts need to be covered up with a water proof aid when swimming.
  • Black dots found on some warts are visible blood vessels supplying the wart with nutrients and oxygen.

Treatment of Warts

Most disappear without treatment; this can take few weeks to several years influenced by the location and number of warts. They usually clear up faster in children. In any case, if a wart fails to clear up on its own and raises concern for the individual, medical help is available.

Your doctor will carefully examine the wart, take history, and request for investigations that examines the tissues.

The treatment aims to irritate the skin and get the body’s infection fighting cells to clear the warts.

Cryotherapy

With this therapy, wart is sprayed with freezing liquid, mostly nitrogen to destroy the cells. This result to the development of a blister, which scabs and falls off in a week or later. This therapy must be done by a professional healthcare provider. For large warts, it requires a local anesthetic for several sessions.

Dimethyl-ether or propane spray are used for self-administration, procured from a pharmacy. These must not be used on the face and are usually less effective compared to Cryotherapy done by a qualified health professional.

Salicylic acid

Over the counter gels, creams, and medicated band aids contain salicylic acid. It should not be applied to the face and skin areas around the wart must be protected when applying this treatment. The treatment is usually for a duration of 3 months. However, if the skin becomes sore, stop the treatment. You can enhance the effectiveness of this treatment by

  • Rubbing dead tissue from the surface of the warts weekly with a pumice stone.
  • Soak the wart in water for about 5 minutes before applying the medication.

Surgery

Not commonly used to treat warts as it predisposes to scarring. If warts resolve by themselves, they do not scar. In cases where other treatment fails, your doctor may recommend surgery which involves shaving off with a surgical razor under local anesthesia. Topical cream may be applied to the site after surgery, to improve the chances of it clearing off.

Laser therapy uses a precise laser beam to clear it.

Candida antigen shots

The human immune system can be stimulated locally to notice a wart, and take action. The procedure does not result to scarring. This therapy method may not be suitable during pregnancy.

Other treatments include

  • Immunotherapy
  • Injection of Bleomycin, or Blenoxane into the wart
  • Use of Retinoids, derived from vitamin A to clear the wart.

A situation where it is cleared but the virus remains, warts may reoccur.

Can warts be prevented?

To lessen the risk of having or spreading it

  • Avoid touching other people’s warts
  • Avoid using other people’s wears or clothing materials
  • Avoid sharing shoes and socks with others.
  • Avoid biting fingernails if warts are near them.
  • Wash your hands promptly and thoroughly anytime you touch one of your warts.