A wart starts as a tiny nuisance, but it can grow into a big problem. Warts can multiply on your own body and spread by contact to those around you. We have many ways to get rid of warts, but the best time to treat one is before it starts to spread.
Conditions and Causes
NON-CANCEROUS SKIN GROWTH CAUSED BY A VIRUS
Warts are your body’s reaction to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which typically enters your skin through a cut or scrape. The virus is contagious, spread by direct contact with a wart or something that has touched the wart. Gyms, pools, bowling alleys, and other places where you come into close contact with other people are ideal locations for the spread of the wart virus. After you contract the virus it may take a few months for the wart to grow large enough to be visible.
Anyone can get warts, but those most likely to get them are children and teens, people who bite their fingernails or pick at hangnails, and those with a weakened immune system.
- There are four types of warts:
- Common warts Occur most often on the fingers and backs of the hands, especially around hangnails or bitten fingernails. These usually feel like rough bumps and may contain black dots that look like seeds.
- Foot warts Also known as plantar warts, these warts usually grow on the soles of the feet. Because of their location, they are often flat or may grow into the foot. They may be painful to walk on. Sometimes they grow in clusters and are called mosaic warts. These, too, may have black “seed” dots.
- Flat warts Although they may occur anywhere on the body, flat warts tend to grow where people shave or disturb their skin — in the beard area of men, on the legs of women, and on the faces of children. They are smaller and smoother than other types of warts and tend to grow in clusters of 20 to 100.
- Filiform warts These fast-growing warts occur most often around the mouth, nose, and eyes. They look like long threads or thin fingers.
- You should see us for treatment if you have:
- A suspicious growth
- A wart that itches, hurts, burns, or bleeds
- A wart on your face or genitals
- Many warts
- A weakened immune system
- Diabetes: If you have diabetes you should never try to remove a wart from your foot. You could cause lasting nerve damage.
We will choose from among the variety of treatment options based on the type of wart you have, your age, and the condition of your health.
Topical medication: We apply a medication to your wart that causes a blister to form underneath it. The blister isolates the wart and lifts it off your skin, which ultimately kills the wart. In approximately one week the dead tissue can be removed.
Freezing: Freezing a wart with liquid nitrogen is the most common treatment. A blister forms around the frozen wart, and the resulting dead tissue sloughs off after a week or so. It may take more than one session to completely eradicate a wart.
Electrosurgery and Curettage: Often performed together, electrosurgery involves killing a wart by burning. Curettage is the process of scraping the wart tissue away with a knife or spoon-shaped tool.
Excision: Excision is the process of cutting a wart out of the body using a traditional scalpel.
Chemical peels: When you have a large cluster of warts, a chemical peel is an efficient treatment. The doctor will prescribe a peeling medicine for you to apply at home every day until the warts are gone.
Bleomycin: This powerful drug is injected directly into the wart to kill the virus. Its effectiveness must be considered along with potential risks: nail loss and damage to the skin and nerves.
Immunotherapy: When warts are particularly stubborn, we may use the body’s own immune system to fight them. One method is to apply a chemical to the warts that causes your body to have an allergic reaction. If strong enough, this reaction will eliminate the wart. Another method is to boost your immune system with an injection. This gives your system extra strength to fight the wart naturally.
There is no cure for the wart virus. Warts may reappear at any time, on the same spot or at a new site. The best way to control warts is to have us treat them as soon as they appear.
- To avoid getting warts and help stop their spreading:
- Do not touch another person’s wart
- Wear shoes in public showers, locker rooms, and pool areas
- Do not irritate or scratch your own wart
- Keep foot warts dry, as moisture allows them to spread
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